Jane Gennaro is a New York based actor, writer and multi-media artist. A citizen of the United States and Ireland, she is a long-time resident of the Upper West Side who does a lot of walking, people watching, and scrutinising of Manhattan’s schizophrenic skyline, mercurial store fronts and sidewalks— zeroing in on the fluctuating flora, fauna and litter conversing with cement curbs and stoops; often stopping to photograph lost gloves. A relentless assessor of the physical and psychic architecture that embraces, tortures or ignores us, she’s always taking notes, making little drawings, and forgetting to cross the street or get off at the right subway stop. According to her husband, Jane sings, pontificates and laughs out loud in her sleep.
Gennaro’s body of work explores our relationship with our bodies, society, and nature in diverse formats from one woman shows—The Boob Story, Reality Ranch (The American Place Theatre); Heebie Jeebies (Culture Project/Impact Festival) and art exhibitions—Articulate Remains (Rogue Space, Westover School); Feed the Models! (World Monuments Gallery, Adelphi University); to hybrid performance/art shows—Shaking the Goose Egg, Feed the Models (Fashion Institute of Technology).
Gennaro’s letters to editors, objecting to the exploitation of anorexic models, defending maligned female comics, and parsing politicians, have been published in The New York Times and New York Magazine. Her essay No Free Babysitter about her decision not to have children appears in the anthology No Kidding, Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood. (Seal Press).
Gennaro drew Ms. Liz, the feminist cartoon character created by Barbara Jo Slate, on a series of greeting cards in the 1970s. She is the rare woman to have had drawings once published in MAD MAGAZINE, where she also sang on a MAD record called “Makin Out”. Gennaro’s pen and ink drawings have graced educational books, song books, trade publications, promotional literature, and magazines (Weight Watchers, Chappell’s Art Song Classics ,Twelve Musical Plays for Children, Old King Cole and 49 other Best-Loved Children’s Songs). Gennaro painted the cover for the reissue of Marc Olden’s mystery Poe Must Die in her own blood.
Gennaro’s illustrated journals and diaries, which she has been keeping since the 1970s were showcased in JOURNEYS, a Two Woman Art Exhibit with Linda Mussman at Time & Space Ltd. in Hudson and she was the curator of the annual ON AND OFF THE WALL exhibition for The Columbia County Council of the Arts. Her work has also been extensively exhibited in various group shows on the east coast.
As a comedian/singing impressionist, Gennaro has appeared on television (Today NBC, PM Magazine, Sunday Comics FOX), hosted SHOWTIME’S White Hot Weekend Report; voiced skits on The Late Show with David Letterman and performed at New York’s top comedy clubs including The Original Improv, Catch a Rising Star, The Comic Strip and was featured in The Toyota Comedy Festival. Gennaro and her sisters, Ellen and Mary Jo attracted a devoted following with their tight harmonies and comedy characters as “Those Gennaro Sisters” (Carolines, The Duplex, Horn of Plenty, Studio 54, West Bank Cafe). Jane’s solo cabaret act, “Me, Jane!” sold out houses at Cattails and other night clubs.
As a radio personality, Gennaro has been a commentator on NPR’S All Things Considered, and was the only female comedy writer/performer on the” Imus in the Morning Program” (WFAN). Other gigs include The American Comedy Network (ACN), Joey Reynolds (WNBC), substitute hosting on WABC, and a short-lived weather reporter gig on WOR. Gennaro was the Traffic Reporter on WNBC’s afternoon drive, despite the fact that she did not know how to drive or have a driver’s license and wasn’t even sure where the other boroughs were. Gennaro began her on-camera career as a color commentator on The Cavalcade of Boxing and interviewed seminal NYC personalities on Cable TV’s Cue On J ( highlight: Dick Gregory atThe Bitter End).
Gennaro has been a successful commercial actress for over 35 years, voicing national network campaigns, promos, audio books and radio commercials. Hundreds and hundreds of voice over credits include satires (NPR) cartoons (Umi Zumi, The Wrong Coast, Smoking GunTV); promos (Unsolved Mysteries, World Wrestling Federation); documentaries (The Kinsey Report); industrials (Unicef, Novartis); and PSAs (American Cancer Society). You’ve heard her voice on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, HBO, MTV, Discovery, Nickelodeon, Lifetime, Showtime, Sci-Fi Channel and Cartoon Network. On Camera, Jane has starred in National Network commercials selling everything from breakfast cereal to toilet paper (Total, Sugar Crisp, Charmin, Ritz Crackers, Jiff Peanut Butter, Heart Guard, Alka Seltzer, NyQuil, Denny’s, Olive Garden, Toyota, Chevy, Sears, Wisk Detergent, Toys R’ Us , Crest Toothpaste, Dial Soap and more).
Gennaro has played a variety of characters in various audio dramas with the Seeing EarTheatre. She impersonated Joan Rivers on the novelty record Can We Talk (Rhino), Cyndi Lauper on Every Dawg Has Its Day (RCA), and she’s Lillian—a musician suspected of murder in the audio book,Too Dead to Swing. Among wild creatures, Gennaro has been both grandmother and baby bear, and a contingent of singing mice in Scholastic audiobooks (Boom Chicka Rock, Goodnight SleepTight). She wears the Santa pants as the snappy sleigh-driving Mrs. Claus in the podcast Christmas is Coming. (Panoply) and is known by video game fans as Maude Hanson (The Ice Cream Lady) on the original Grand Theft Auto, and the villainous Nicole Horne in the Max Payne series (Rockstar). Gennaro plays Ann in Patrick Wang’s independent film, A Bread Factory Part Two; Walk With Me Awhile, and she’s looped The Deuce (HBO)
Right now I’m excited about a story I’ve developed in the Barrow Group Solo Show Workshop and the Art Installation of bones, sculpture, and taxidermy I’ve been evolving for roughly a gazillion years in my studio in upstate New York. Hm. Maybe it’s the stage set for this new solo show!
Yikes! I wrote that in first person!