Payton St. James Goes Old Hollywood in ‘Die, Mommie, Die!’
"I've never had a role, big or small, musical or non-musical, that I haven't found a lot of joy in playing," St. James noted.by Joe Seigel, Edge
Payton St. James plays the lead role in 2nd Story Theater’s new production of “Die, Mommie, Die” from playwright Charles Busch.
The show runs in repertory through August 28. For more details visit 2nd Story Theater’s website.
St. James plays faded fading Hollywood superstar Angela Arden. Stuck in an unhappy marriage, Angela attempts to liberate herself by murdering her husband. When her ill-tempered children become suspicious, Angela’s hopes for a new life fall riotously apart. With “Die, Mommie, Die,” Busch has crafted a wicked satire of ’60s celluloid classics. Busch played Angela when the play first premiered.
“It’s a dark comedy-mystery,” St. James told EDGE. “Charles Busch’s writing is phenomenal. He writes wonderful characters. He has a really wonderful talent for parodying old Hollywood movies.”
St. James jumped at the chance to play a “grande dame” in “Die, Mommie, Die” and to work with director Ed Shea.
“He has an amazing mind,” St. James said. “He’s very generous. He’ll let you do what you want to do and then he’ll give you his ideas on how to tweak it or change it.”
The cast also features Peggy Melozzi, Wayne Kneeland, Valerie Westgate, Patrick M. Saunders, and F. William Oakes.
St. James grew up in a town north of Boston and later lived in Raynham for 10 years. He now calls Providence his home.
“(My husband and I) decided it was time for a change so we sold our house and decided to give it a try living in the city,” St. James explained. “It has honestly been the best move we have ever made.”
St. James majored in theater at the University of Massachusetts – Boston. He was a member of the cast of “Illusions,” the longest running drag show in Provincetown.
St. James has also performed in Taunton with the Rogue Theater Company in the Neil Simon play “Rumors,” “Beyond Therapy,” “The Divine Sister” and was the only male in a production of “The Women.”
“I’ve never had a role, big or small, musical or non-musical, that I haven’t found a lot of joy in playing,” St. James noted. “Theatre for me has been an amazing creative outlet.”