"Jay Russell’s awe-inspiring performance is a one-man tour de force showcase of acting concentration and craft. As long as the thank-you notes are being written, a few thousand should go to [Jay Russell] for the wonderful holiday gift of his dazzling, hilarious and heartfelt performance" - Brian Hohlfeld, St. Louis Riverfront Times
His feature film debut was in Morning Glory alongside Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Ty Burrell, & Harrison Ford directed by Roger Michell.
Jay toured the US & Canada in the musicals Wicked as Dr Dillamond, & Disney’s Beauty & the Beast as Lumiere. Favorite roles are too many to list though he was fortunate to be a part of the original New York Company of the acclaimed production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town at the Barrow Street Theatre directed by David Cromer. He originated the role of Joe Stoddard and was lucky enough to also perform the role of the Stage Manager at over fifty performances.
Jay performed the one-man show, Fully Committed, to great acclaim at the English Theatre of Vienna where he portrayed over 40 characters. Besides Fully Committed, Jay performed in many shows where he has played multiple characters such as Travels with My Aunt (Keen Company), Around the World in 80 Days (Irish Repertory Theatre), & The Mystery of Irma Vep (Cincinnati Playhouse).
Jay loved being part of the company of Larry Kramer’s extraordinary play, The Normal Heart, at the Public Theatre starring Raul Esparza & Joanna Gleason and directed by David Esbjornson.
Jay Russell is an Actor, Teacher, Writer & Coach.
He was born in Flushing, New York, and as a child he lived in New York, Maryland, Connecticut & Minnesota before settling down again in New York City. Jay is a graduate of Syracuse University & spent a semester abroad in London with the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art.
Jay has performed both On & Off Broadway, in National Tours & Regional Theatres across the United States & Internationally. His credits include numerous Feature & Independent films, television comedies & dramas.
Jay made his Broadway Debut in The Play What I Wrote directed by Kenneth Branagh and was in the original Broadway cast of End of the Rainbow at the Belasco theatre starring Olivier Award winner Tracie Bennett & directed by Tony Award winner Terry Johnson. He was beyond thrilled to premiere that production in Minneapolis at the acclaimed Guthrie Theatre where he first fell in love with being an actor.
His mom, Gerri, was particularly thrilled as well. Imagine that phone call if you will:
Jay: Mom, I’m coming home to do a play at the Guthrie!
Gerri: (screaming with delight)
Jay: And then… the play moves right to Broadway!!
Gerri: (Drops the phone. Incoherent screaming).
In 1998-1999, Jay was given the incredible gift of performing leads in two Oscar Wilde plays (The Importance of Being Earnest & An Ideal Husband) and then getting to play the man himself in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. Eternal thanks to director John Going for this paid master class in Oscar Wilde.
Another favorite was originating the role of Abraham Lincoln in Paula Vogel’s beautiful play A Civil War Christmas at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, directed by Tina Landau.
He co-wrote and co-starred in An Evening with Burton & Russell alongside actor Arnie Burton as well as writing one full-length play and numerous short plays.
Jay has taught acting at various schools around the city, the most recent being the New York Film Academy and the American Musical Theatre Academy. He has coached actors privately throughout his career.