Jamey Grisham: Professional Actor and Storyteller – Theatre People
By Mitch Stark
Welcome back to TheatrePeople, theatre people! This week I’m so pleased to introduce you to another incredible person in the world of the theatrical arts, Jamey Grisham.
Jamey is a storyteller whose work spans the world and literally hundreds of productions and venues. Jamey has worked and continues to work with the best and brightest in the field. And above that, he is gracious, kind and the sort of creative personality who truly lifts those around him. I met Jamey through the Teaching Artist Alliance and am so happy to bring you his interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Jamey Grisham, professional theatre actor and storyteller, whose work and awards span the globe.
What’s a show that inspires you? (explain away!)
A recent read that truly inspired me was PETER AND ALICE by John Logan. Based on true events, this play chronicles the meeting of Alice Liddel Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll Exhibition in 1932, when the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. The characters and situations bring this incredible correlation between storytelling, imagination, and reality: questions of growing up, becoming enlightened, and facing truths. What is growing up, precisely? And what happens when we face the reality of our answer? It was astounding.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
One of my happiest moments in theatre was seeing my first original musical, GOOD GIRLS ONLY, come to life at the Winter Park Playhouse in Florida in 2019. Never thinking of myself as a full-time composer or writer, hearing my material sung for the first time was an experience unlike any other. It reminded me that we can always take leaps… we might pleasantly surprise ourselves.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
A great goof happened on the stage when I was playing Don Lockwood in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. Not only was it a role that terrified me, but on the opening night, at the moment of my solo curtain call, because of residual water from the finale, I slipped and slid all the way down the raked stage to the apron… not falling, but experiencing this slow motion Disney-esque Goofy moment with nerves and distress. When I finally caught myself, the audience cheered, and I took my bow with a hearty laugh. A true lesson in remembering not to take yourself too seriously… and especially when wearing taps.
Why do you love theatre?
I love the theatre because I find it to be the everlasting stronghold of connection and discovery. Live theatre has the magical ability to transport us through a shared experience in a shared space. Storytelling is at its core, and we are all storytellers. All of the facets of our lives are made up of stories—they are a succession of our past, our present, and our future. I believe that by sharing our stories, we harness our individuality and gain insight into the human experience, which, in turn, connects us to one another. We evoke change not only in our individual communities where we live, love, work, and lead, but far beyond the borders of our own backyards. We are encouraged to take center stage in our own lives; we learn, we grow, we evolve. And the best part is that it cannot be repeated. It’s uniquely ephemeral, yet its reverberations are infinite.
Theatre is for…
It’s timeless, informational, moral, assimilated, cherished, and distinctively ours.
More about Jamey
A multidisciplinary storyteller, Jamey’s body of work spans 6 continents, 78 countries, and over 100 productions and venues. Collaborating with Tony Award-winners, Emmy Award-winners, and a couple of Olympic medalists, he has garnered six Travel Weekly Magellan Awards®, two Encore Michigan Wilde Awards® (with another seven nominations), a THEA Award®, and a Broadway World Regional Award® nomination. Jamey is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, Dramatists Guild, American Federation of Musicians, Associated Musicians of Greater New York, ASCAP, and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Training and residences include Brown University (MFA, Stephen Sondheim Fellow), Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts Theatre Conservatory (BFA, Newberry Library Fellow), London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Royal Shakespeare Company, Blessed Unrest, The Barn Theatre, Tectonic Theater Project, Joffrey Ballet, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Harvard University. www.officialjameygrisham.com