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A native Long Islander, James (or JR as his friends and family know him) has been singing since he was 4 years old. He appeared in many concerts and shows during his time in the Patchogue-Medford school district. JR was fortunate enough to be selected for All-County Mixed Chorus 5 times, All-State Mixed Chorus 3 times, and All-Eastern Mixed Chorus once.

A chance encounter first brought JR and Bob DePersio together in 1989, when they both performed in a newsworthy production of Guys ‘n Dolls  for Take One Theatre Arts. The production was set to perform in a local auditorium when the school suddenly revoked the performance space. Thanks to the generosity of the Coram Fire Department, who offered their large basement space to the production, the show was able to go on, with Bob playing Lieutenant Brannigan, and JR playing Uncle Arvide.

In 1995, JR graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts (Theatre), having studied under the guidance of Drs. Charles and Ruth Kline. Due to the well-rounded program that Plattsburgh offers, there is very little that JR cannot do when it comes to Theatrical production, performance, or design.

His professional career began in earnest in 1994, when he was hired while still in college to perform as the Boy in The Fantasticks with the Essex Theatre Company. JR went on to perform for the ETC for 2-1/2 years before returning to Long Island in January of 1997.

Upon settling in at home, JR kept right on performing. Thanks to the insistence of his friend Penny Dale, he auditioned for, was cast in, and appeared in the Long Island premiere of Blood Brothers (Mickey Johnstone) on May 2, 1997. Since then, he has appeared in at least half a dozen Long Island premieres, as well as dozens of various types of productions.

In October of 2010, JR was fortunate enough to appear in a rarely-performed production of Chess, where he met Dina, the wonderful woman who would become his wife. The two married in September of 2012, and have been inseparable ever since.

JR began working with Productions Over The Rainbow in the late 2000’s, joining their Winter Cabaret cast. Since then, he and Dina have appeared in every edition, considering the event one of their family Holiday traditions.  JR has been working both in front of and behind the scenes since then. He has appeared with Dina in two Summer Cabarets for POTR. JR was also the creator and “Game Master” of the Emerald City Rally, a Midnight Madness-based event based on the Disney movie of the same name.

JR has a pursuit of theatrical knowledge and experience that knows no limits. He is frequently found in NYC theatre audiences, and is an avid reader of various plays and musicals. He is always looking for a creative challenge. He continues to work behind the scenes to increase the visibility for Productions Over The Rainbow.

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