One fine Midwestern first day of spring in the 1960’s a love child was born to 19 year old Jerry and 20 year old June after just 6 months of marriage. Jerry was in the same hospital for knee surgery (old football injury) and June was pondering what to name the girl child. With a flair for drama she searched for ‘J’ names and chose Jocasta. Urged to consider other more appropriate names by her mother and struggling to get the babe to latch on June decreed: ‘I should just throw her to the jaybirds! She won’t take my breast!’
Aha! Jaybird! Or Jay? Add an e and it is feminine! Jaye!
Jaye P. Morgan (though a fabricated stage name) was a popular chick singer at the time, and JayeBird was sufficiently named, hence avoiding the burden of Jocasta; Queen of Thebes, Oedipus’ mother and would-be lover. This character actor songstress with a dramatic soul was duly named; Jaye. Her father’s storytelling ability and sense of humor coupled with her mother’s vocal and forensic abilities certainly contributed to Jaye’s love of performance. An early setback at a Ballet recital, and some piano lessons further cemented the penchant for persistence in performance which was instilled as she acted and sang out the movie musicals she saw as a child. ‘Mary Poppins!’ in a kindergarten recital and 'Oliver!' in the Jolin’s basement rec room on Lakeview Blvd. Now she is known to traverse down 9th Avenue in Manhattan singing ‘Who Will Buy this wonderful musical!!' (Girl Gang!)
Blessed with middle school teachers who were a version of Rodgers and Hart; Lois Summers and Louise Gerske. She began singing in the choir and performed a cameo role in ‘Ask the Professor’ starring her eventual Junior Prom date, and now Professor at the Mayo Clinic ( L. James Maher III), who also played Horace VandeGelder to her Dolly Levi in High School. At her mother’s urging and to the dismay of the Senior Choir members, she listened and mimicked Celeste Holm as Ado Annie in 'Oklahoma' and discovered her big voice and was cast in the role as a sophomore. She earned a scholarship to UWSP Summer Theatre Program and her first professional paycheck at Wilson St. Dinner Playhouse in four shows including 101 performances as the female chorus in ‘Hello, Dolly’. Please god, someone cast her now that she is old enough to play the role…
Sensibility took her to the University of Utah’s Music Theatre Training Program, An interdisciplinary BFA which took students racing from Dance to Theatre to Music classes and finding a home and a chance for an Equity Card at the on-campus regional Theatre; Pioneer Theatre Company. She did four shows and was hand picked for a tour of ‘Pirates of Penzance’ starring Sal Viviano and Jeffrey McCarthy. Instead of moving to NYC after the tour she opted for sunny So Cal. Where she lived for a decade plus performing roles in three original music theatre productions, spec commercials, Second City Improv and sketch comedy. Oh and she got engaged a couple of times, (never married) traveled to India to receive her Yoga Siromani certification, started her Whirling Dervish biz and grew up spiritually developing a family of friends that supports her to this day.
In 1999 she moved to NYC to attend NYU after being accepted into the Music and Performing Arts professions Masters Program. She received her degree after completing her coursework in 2002. Her Masters Thesis Performance; 'Jaye Sings: The Barbie Show'. Barbie as a cultural icon in song was developed into a one person (plus Ken) show with Barbie’s Vagina Monologue to explain it all… Mattel Barbie Music from 1962 was transcribed and performed in addition to her course vocal requirements for material as iconically evocative: Broadway Barbie sings: Memory from Cats, Opera Diva: Carmen etc…
In 2003 at the urging of Mark W. Knowles, Jaye returned to LA to develop, produce and perform in ‘Girl Gang’ which he and David G. Smith ('Plan Nine from Outer Space-the musical') had written. Jaye was reunited with this team having performed Paula in the LA Weekly Theatre Award winning musical at the Hollywood Matrix and Moguls Theatre’s. In 2004 'Girl Gang' was accepted into the Fringe Festival and played at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, In 2005 it was formed into an LLC and in 2006 had its first Backers Presentations in NYC. 2007 finds Jaye attending the Commercial Theatre Institute to continue its development and journey as an Off Broadway Musical.
Her personal journey is never ending and with plaid as a metaphor for the threads of her life, she thanks you for being a part of her personal tartan…
Om Shanti Peace Out