Joe Payne is a nationally recognized guitarist and Broadway musician/performer with a dedication, love and penchant for rock & roll, bluegrass, country & folk musical styles. Joe has worked as musician, actor and musical director for numerous regional and national tour theatrical companies. In 1998 he was awarded Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for musical direction of “Buddy… The Buddy Holly Story” which enjoyed an 8 month run at the Apollo Theatre. Joe went on to music direct 1999-2000 national tour of “Buddy” and anchored many a signature guitar part while performing in several other “bio musicals” and reviews including “Patsy Cline”, “Hank Williams, BeeHive and other crowd pleasing musical journeys down memory lane.
A big break came in late 2001 when Joe began working with TONY Award winning director, author and musician Des McAnuff (Big River, Tommy, Jersey Boys) at LaJolla Playhouse. Des and Joe worked on various projects and concert performances of past, present and future shows including the cast album recording of Michael Ondaatje’s “The Collected Works of Billy The Kid.”
In 2004, Des recruited Joe to lend his steady guitarist hands to a little-known project about Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. In October 2004, “Jersey Boys” premiered at LaJolla Playhouse and launched one of the biggest and most successful theatrical musical shows of all time.
When Jersey Boys opened on Broadway in the Fall of 2005 Joe was given the rare and unique opportunity to move to NYC and continue his guitar and stage actor contributions to Jersey Boys which ran for 11 ½ years and won countless awards including 2006 TONY Award for Best Musical.
Joe has also performed on numerous live national TV shows including “Today” (Bye Bye Katie Couric performance), “Late Show with David Letterman”, “Live with Regis & Kelly” to name a few. He’s also performed at Cargenie Hall with Marvin Hamlisch, Liza Minelli & Kid Rock with NY Pops orchestra concert series.
As a studio musician Joe continues to contribute to countless commercial recording projects including the Grammy Award winning Jersey Boys cast album.
A major highlight for Joe is when he performed concert music from TOMMY live onstage at the prestigious NAC (National Arts Center) in Ottawa Canada with legendary guitarist and Rock god, Pete Townsend.
Recently, Joe has teamed back up with the very talented Terry & Ann Brock from his hometown of St Joseph Missouri to work on and perform heartfelt original music and do some regional shows/concerts together.
Whether east coast, west coast or points in-between, Joe has carved out a unique spot in the musical theatre and guitar world. Going back to his days as a young guitar picker influenced by traditional bluegrass music of his mother and father it has somehow transformed into a body of musical work that is as unique as it is genuine and well respected among colleagues and fans.