He’s acting full time, making enough money in his field to pay his bills, and working with the likes of Sean Penn and Steve Martin.
For James Moye of North Bergen, life is good.
Moye is currently in rehearsals in Chicago for 9 to 5, The Musical, which opens Aug. 14 at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Ill., just north of the Windy City. Moye stars as Franklin Hart Jr., the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss that three female co-workers decide to do something about.
“This will be a really fun role in what was a Broadway show,” he said.
The smash 1980 film starred Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin, and is the 20th highest grossing comedy movie of all time. It has been named to the American Film Institute's list of “100 Funniest Movies.”
For Moye, his role in the musical is another trophy on his wall of performing arts accomplishments. They encompass commercials, theater, and movies.
In fact, the thespian’s greatest moment in his field was back in 2010, when he acted in “Fair Game,” a true-life political thriller. He played a reporter who camps outside of the house of U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson, played by Sean Penn, waiting for an interview as he departs for work. The movie also starred Naomi Watts as Wilson’s wife Valerie Plame, a C.I.A. spy revealed by the administration.
““I’ve been very lucky. I haven’t had to do what others have had to do, like waiting tables.” – James Moye
‘Million Dollar Quartet’
The other major feather in Moye’s acting cap was his star turn playing record producer Sam Phillips – who discovered Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis – in “Million Dollar Quartet” on Broadway. Quartet is the true story about the night those three and Carl Perkins rehearsed together in Memphis, Tenn.
“It was a great show, it was a celebration of rock and roll,” he said. “As an actor, it’s always great to be playing lead roles on Broadway.”
‘9 to 5 the Musical’
In 9 to 5, when three unlikely friends take control of the office and put their boss in his place, they learn there is nothing they can’t do, even in a man’s world.
“When you get these roles, it’s very helpful to your career,” Moye said. “A lot of great shows start off in Chicago.”
North Bergen refuge
The Virginia native credits North Bergen with being a refuge for him and his wife from the hustle and bustle of the city. He moved here in 2005 after hearing good things from friends in the township and West New York.
“I just felt like I could breathe a little more in New Jersey,” he said.
One of the things Moye is most proud of has been working solely as an actor for the last 15 years.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he said. “I haven’t had to do what others have had to do, like waiting tables.”
Moye’s other Broadway and Off-Broadway credits are: Ragtime, A Tale of Two Cities, The Full Monty, Urinetown, Far From Heaven, DogFight, Closer Than Ever, Happiness, and Silence! the Musical, a satire of Silence of the Lambs, “one of the wackier things I’ve ever done,” he said.
His national tour productions have been: The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Shop of Horrors, and White Christmas.
He also performed in a regional production, Bright Star, which was co-written by Steve Martin, one of his all-time favorite performers.
Moye’s television credits include: “Royal Pains,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Today Show," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and “The Onion News Network.”
He also did a commercial campaign for Crunchy Nuts, through which he played a superhero and wound up on a cereal box, something that he had actually wanted for years.
“As a kid, I always hoped I’d be on a cereal box, given that I was a great athlete, but I’ll take it,” he said.
Moye is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Actors’ Equity Association.
He has a wife, Kimberly, and a dog, a puggle named “Cowboy.”
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.