April 17, 2010

Denise Payne: Buffalo Gal in Jersey Boys

Category: Uncategorized — Tags: , – admin @ 2:14 am

Denise Payne, Buffalo Gal in Jersey Boys

Denise Payne, Buffalo Gal in Jersey Boys

There are just three girls in Jersey Boys, which opens at Shea’s on Tuesday. Denise Payne, a native of Buffalo, is one of them, Talks about her show and Experience:

“I grew up on the West Side of Buffalo, near the Peace Bridge,” says Denise Payne. “I attended Holy Angels grammar school, Calasanctius, and Holy Angels Academy. Then for college, I went to Niagara University.”

You can’t be a Jersey Girl without also being a phenomenal dancer. Buffalo gave Denise a solid foundation. “I received my dance training at Betty Rogers School of Dance. That’s where Michael Bennett went as a child!” she enthuses, referring to the pioneering Buffalo-born creator of A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls.

“Unfortunately, Miss Betty has passed on, and the studio has closed, but she taught thousands of Buffalo dancers during her lifetime—and legend has it the lyric from A Chorus Line—‘up a steep and very narrow stairway’—actually refers to her studio. I knew that stairway well!”

Denise remembers Miss Betty as an inspiration. “She was so glamorous. When she was in her 80s, she could still wear leotard, tights, and high-heeled tap shoes. She was a Rockette. She was gorgeous!”

Denise actually did quite a lot performing locally. She did the MusicalFare production of A Chorus Line at the Katharine Cornell Theatre at UB, back when the company was called Summerfare. She did their production of Broadway 1960. She played Hope in a production of Anything Goes at Artpark.

“The group that I worked with that will be most familiar to the city is the St. Joe’s Swing Choir. I also did the musicals there.”

Versatility is a critical quality for a Jersey Girl, says Denise. “The three women in the show play 54 characters! I have 19 quick changes. Our wardrobe person is amazing—our costumes are meticulously organized and labeled with our photographs. Some of them are extremely expensive. I play Frankie Valli’s mother; I also play his daughter. I play the date at the church. I play the woman of the evening. It’s all a lot of fun!”

Jersey Boys opens Tuesday plays through May 09, 2010.
Buy Jersey Boys Buffalo New York Tickets.

1 Comment »

  1. I enjoyed reading through your weblog and I have recomeneded to my visitors

    Trackback by Graco — April 29, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

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