Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, Joe grew up oblivious to theatre. He graduated Journalism School and was editing a business journal at the age of 24 when an impetuous audition landed him in a musical revue headed to ‘EXPO ‘86’ in Vancouver. Two years later he was in London, England.
He toured Europe as Frank in Rocky Horror and Berger in HAIR, toured England as Chip in On The Town, did a soap opera of commercials with Julie Walters, did sketch comedy on The Bobby Davro Show, and played Joseph (and danced with members of the London City Ballet) in Princess Anne’s annual UNICEF Christmas benefit for HRH Queen Elizabeth.
He spent a year as vocalist on a cruise ship then visited Toronto for the summer. One show led to another, and ten years later he was still there: On The Town (Ozzie) and Counselor at Law (Henry), Shaw Festival; Canadian Premiere of Assassins (Czolgosz), Eclectic Theatre; Ragtime (Conklin), LiveEnt; Miss Saigon and TOMMY, Mirvish Productions; For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again (Narrator), Theatre Orangeville; Grease (Danny Zuko), Theatre Neptune; John Gray’s Rock and Roll (Brent), in Toronto, Fredericton, and Hamilton.
In the late 90s Joe created roles in several World Premieres: Charlie Chamberlain in Frank Leahy’s Don Messer’s Violin; Henry in Norm Foster’s Jasper Station; Adam in Vinetta Stromberg’s Adam and Eve; He also made a name for himself playing Hank Williams in The Show He Never Gave, one reviewer dubbing him the quintessential voice of Hank Williams.
From 2001 to 2005, Joe lived in New York with his wife and their very large dog, Tasha, appearing Off-Broadway (Richard Rawe in The Good Faith) and in regional theatres in NY (The King in Pippin), Vermont (Alfie Doolittle in My Fair Lady) and Ohio (Rooster in Annie) while assistant co-ordinating BOOKPals, a literacy group working with inner city kids.
During this period he headlined the 2002 Grandstand Show at the Calgary Stampede (playing to between seventeen and twenty thousand people a night) and wrote his own Hank Williams show – Hank Williams LIVE, 1952 – which has played across Canada. His CD of Hank tunes, Long Gone Lonesome, is available at www.indiepool.ca.
More recent theatre credits include: Paulo and Daphne (Paulo), Theatreworks; To Kill A Mockingbird (Hec), YPT; Company (Larry), Theatre20; Annie (Rooster), YPT; The Flood Thereafter (Homere), Canadian Stage; Legally Blonde (Callahan), Neptune Theatre; Sketching Sunshine (Leacock), Theatre Orangeville; Assassins (Proprietor), MTC; Sound of Music (von Trapp), Persephone Theatre/Drayton Entertainment; Italian Funerals (John), Drayton Entertainment; Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Norm Petty), Theatre Aquarius; Jersey Boys (Nick/Gyp/Crewe understudy), Dancap Productions; Music Man (Charlie Cowell) and the world premiere of Moby Dick (Starbuck), Stratford Festival; For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again (Narrator), Spitfire Grill (Caleb), and Could You Wait…? (Matt), all at London’s Grand Theatre. 2012 saw the launch of a concert of all original songs written by some combination of Joe, his wife Louise Pitre, and Diane Leah.
Joe’s writing has attracted more and more attention lately. He recently co-wrote several of the songs in Louise Pitre’s one-woman show On The Rocks. He has been a writer or co-creator on four seasons of Laughing Matters, a comedy revue based at the Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. His songwriting has been featured on recordings by MCC Toronto Church Choir, and for corporate clients, most recently Canada Post.
In 2012 he was commissioned to write Sketching Sunshine: An Evening (and Morning) With Stephen Leacock by the Leacock Museum National Historic Site. He went on to reprise that performance at Theatre Orangeville the following year. In 2012 he and composer Logan Medland presented their work-in-progress Chez Morgan at MerryGoRound Theatre’s showcase The Pitch in Auburn, NY. He has also written the wartime romance Could You Wait…?, which premiered in September, 2006 at Theatre Orangeville (ON). The CD for this show is also available at www.indiepool.ca.
In the last few years Joe has created roles in several new shows, including: ‘The Man’ in Luck Be A Lady at Asolo Rep in Sarasota, FL; Captain Holmes in the North American premiere of Tim Rice’s From Here To Eternity; and a modern take on Apollo in Ned Dickens’ Paulo and Daphne for Theatreworks in Toronto. He most recently performed a two-week sold-out run for HGJT in Toronto in a revue of 60s protest songs – The Times They Are A’Changin’ – again, created by he and Louise Pitre. In January 2018 he returns to Regina, SK – where he studied Journalism – as part of Globe Theatre’s The Buddy Holly Story.
Bet his journalism professors didn’t see that one coming.