BootLeg Betty

Up Close & Personal With Broadway Director Richard Jay-Alexander

CBS Miami
Up Close & Personal With Broadway Director Richard Jay-Alexander
December 8, 2015 6:10 PM By Lisa Petrillo

Bette and Director Richard J. Alexander
Bette and Director Richard J. Alexander

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Renowned Broadway Director Richard Jay-Alexander has a home filled with memorabilia.

“So is this your life in your house CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo asked him while walking through him home.

“Yes this is my life. It’s 40 years of a career, no joke and everything you see here has stories,” said Jay-Alexander.

Walk into the Miami Beach home of the Broadway producer and theater impresario and you’re immediately transformed into the land of show business past and present. Theater fills every nook and cranny of the home.

“Open any cabinet you open and it has showbiz in it,” Jay-Alexander said pointing out the Broadway posters inside his kitchen cabinet.

“So you worked with Bette Midler?” Petrillo asked noticing one. “Yeah I did the Kiss My Brass tour , and this is a canned ham award she gave me because she thought I was a big ham,” he said.

Jay-Alexander has worked with the best in the business. There’s Bette Midler, Kristin Chenoweth, Ricky Martin, Rosie O’ Donnell and many more. But no one is showcased bigger than Barbra Streisand. He and Streisand go back many years and many songs together.

“That’s from Back to Brooklyn. That’s walking Barbra either from the stage or to the stage,” he said explaining the picture on his wall.

In the “Anything Goes” room there were more treasures like a poster from Miss Saigon when he directed it in 1989. There’s more.

“This is one of my favorite possessions. I have Gwen Verdon’s original shoes from Sweet Charity signed by Gwen Verdon,” he said while showing off the very vintage shoes.

The bathroom has a framed gold album from his work with Streisand and 10– $10 dollar bills hung on a wall given to him by Marie Osmond after he bet her she would get three standing ovations and she did.

A career highlight was when Broadway producer Cameron Mackintosh hired him to be the executive director working on such shows as Phantom of the Opera.

“Phantom was just fantastic. I thought Andrew Lloyd Webber found something as big as his music. It was jaw dropping, “said Jay-Alexander.

Then there was Les Misérables.

“Les Mis was the greatest 10 years of my life,” he said.

At age 62, Jay-Alexander doesn’t take one minute of his colorful career for granted.

“You’re looking at someone and I could cry when I say this, that all my dreams have come true and more, so it’s just icing. I couldn’t have imagined, if you saw my childhood bedroom with Barbra and Bette and Liza all over it . What happened at night while I was sleeping?” he said emotionally.

Petrillo asked, “What does theater mean to you?”

“My God. Everything, he answered while tearing up. Everything, the stories. the music. I feel sorry for people that don’t feel music, that don’t have a barometer for it. My whole day can be rocked by what I listen to,” said Jay-Alexander.

Jay-Alexander said he wants everyone young and old to experience Broadway.

“You can’t go to NY and not see a Broadway show. Don’t tell me you went to the Statue of Liberty and Central Park and didn’t see a Broadway show because I will kill you. Broadway is essential,” said Jay-Alexander.

With that, they ended their interview, but not before he gave Petrillo a special gift – a Barbra Streisand cartoon Christmas Tree ornament which benefits, what else, but Broadway Cares.

“Every year when you make your tree, you’ll remember Richard Jay and this interview. Merry Christmas,” he said.

“What’s better than that? Thank you, thank you so much Richard,” Petrillo said.

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