Jerry Jay Cranford
Acting, Stage Movement, Improvisation, and Directing
Education: MFA, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Directing; BFA, University of Oklahoma, Music
Courses Taught: Introduction to Acting, Theatre Movement, Musical Theatre Dance Styles, Beginning Tap
Job Description: Jay joined the KSU Music, Theatre and Dance faculty in 2013 after adjuncting for Johnson County Community College and Minnesota State University where his productions of The Rocky Horror Show and Tobacco Road stillhold the first and second place highest grossing productions for the Andreas Theatre.
Jerry Jay Cranford brings nearly thirty years of teaching, directing and performance experience to KSU. As an actor, he performed the roles of Prouvaire and Enjolras in Les Miserables on Broadway as well as on the national tour, appearing opposite Colm Wilkinson, Sutton Foster, Andrea McArdle, Lea Salonga, and the late Laurie Beechman. He also served as the charity coordinator, raising over half a million dollars for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids as well as many other organizations. For four years, he was the Genie in Disney’s ten million dollar stage production of Aladdin where he also served as a Master Clinician teaching workshops in theatre and music for visiting high schools and universities. Mr. Cranford starred in national tours of Singing in the Rain as Don Lockwood, Anything Goes as Billy Crocker and was the featured dancer on the European tour of Evita, under the direction of the original choreographer Larry Fuller. While in Europe, he was a soloist for the televised International Arts Council Closing Concert at the Frankfurt Opera House. A Fosse devotee, he was fortunate to work on three shows with Fosse’s assistant John Sharpe and study briefly with Fosse’s ex-wife and muse Gwen Verdon. He spent the summer of 2013 performing at the 11,000 seat MUNY Theatre of St. Louis in Shrek directed by John Tartaglia and Les Miserables. He then went directly to the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma to portray the Duke in Big River and ended up in Kansas City at the New Theatre in The Buddy Holly Story as the Big Bopper. Kansas City audiences have seen Mr. Cranford at the New Theatre as Jacob and Potiphar in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Wilbur in Hairspray, at the KC MET as Pseudolus in Forum, at the American Heartland as Man 1 in The 39 Steps and Jeff in I Love You Because, at KC Rep as Max in Cabaret and Topper in A Christmas Carol, at Starlight as the Purser in Anything Goes and numerous roles in The Producers, at the Unicorn as Dindon in La Cage aux Folles and the male roles in the World Premiere Musical rightnextto me and at MTH in Bernstein’s Broadway in Concert and the Duke in Big River. Jerry Jay has also appeared as the Emperor in Turandot and as Arturo in The Barber of Seville with the Kansas City Lyric Opera.
Some of Mr. Cranford’s favorite projects as a professional director and/or choreographer have been Tobacco Road, The Rocky Horror Show, Urinetown, The Music Man, La Cage aux Folles, The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma!, Fiddler on the Roof, The Fantasticks, Singing in the Rain, Once Upon a Mattress, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Boyfriend and Children’s Letters to God. He has served as the choreographer for Kansas City Starlight Theatre’s Annual Gala for 7 years. At the American Heartland Theatre, he has directed Plaid Tidings, Marvelous Wonderettes, Honky-Tonk Angels as well as choreographed I Love You Because, Are We There Yet? and Glorious. At the Merry Go Round Theatre in upstate New York he directed Les Miserables and Spelling Bee, he directed and choreographed the Vancouver, B.C. premiere of The Marvelous Wonderettes receiving a Canadian Ovation nomination for choreography and was invited to direct the regional premiere of Everyday Rapture, working with the original star Sherie Renee Scott and librettist Dick Scanlan. He is a twenty-five year member of the Actors Equity Association and eligible for the Society of Directors and Choreographers.