Renée Marino: Clint Eastwood’s pick for Jersey Boys on screen

Renée Marino has been training as a dancer since she was a young girl growing up in New Jersey. (Photo by Jay Sullivan)

Renée Marino has been training as a dancer since she was a young girl growing up in New Jersey. (Photo by Jay Sullivan)

Broadway is the place where dreams come true. It’s full of dancing, singing, blood, sweat, and tears. It’s the target destination for performers of all types and of all ages.

As a young singer and dancer from New Jersey, Renée Marino was another girl that dreamed of being on a Broadway stage. Her dream took an unexpected turn when offered a role in the movie version of Jersey Boys.

“After performing in this film, I definitely caught the bug,” she says. “ I really love performing on film.”

The Start of Her Journey

Renee began taking dance and acting classes at a young age. She fell in love with performing and began taking private voice lessons. While in high school her talent was recognized. The Paper Mill Playhouse nominated her three different times for the Rising Star Award, which is comparable to a Tony Award for students.

She has been inspired by one of the most critically acclaimed Broadway performers, Bernadette Peters who has received nominations for seven Tony Awards, winning two. She is noted for her roles in Into the Woods, Song and Dance, and Mack and Mabel.

Renee always knew performing was her passion. She never wanted to do anything else.

“If it’s your true passion, go for it,” she says, “Surround yourself with people that are going to lift you up.”

From Broadway to the Big Screen

Shortly after graduating college, Renee was ready to begin her career. She toured North America while performing in Cats, and one year later got the position as an understudy for the role of Sharpay Evans in High School Musical.

After completing the HSM tour Renee got her big break: the role of Mary Delgado in one of the biggest musicals ever, Jersey Boys.

Renée Marino has been training as a dancer since she was a young girl growing up in New Jersey. (Photo by Jay Sullivan) Renée Marino was handpicked by director Clint Eastwood for a role in the movie edition of Jersey Boys. (Photo by Jay Sullivan)

Renée Marino was handpicked by director Clint Eastwood for a role in the movie edition of Jersey Boys. (Photo by Jill Stokesberry)

Clint Eastwood, a world famous producer and film director, went to the Broadway performances of Jersey Boys searching for actors for the movie. This is where he discovered Renee and he gave her the same role of Mary Delgado in the movie. Although she was nervous to begin her first movie, Eastwood made her transition easier.

Working with Eastwood was an honor. She says, “(He) is not just a legend, he is one of the most down-to-earth and genuine human beings I have ever met.”

In fact, he allowed the crew to improv a 10-minute scene in the movie. This is one of Renee’s best memories of filming.

“It was so satisfying as an actor because I got to really be in the moment and go for it,” she says.

She says one of the biggest differences between theater and movies are the amount of people. There is a lot more people in the crew that makes a movie. If her hair or makeup wasn’t right while filming the movie, the scene would stop and someone would fix her. That never happened in the theater world.

“While performing, all these people watch out for you,” she says, “But as you’re performing each night in a show, that’s it.” 

The Spotlight

In addition to performing in musical theater, Renee writes her own music when she feels inspired. She also takes and teaches dance and Zumba classes. She workouts and meditates every morning, and tries to follow a schedule. She loves getting the chance to do something different and wants to try everything.

“I take advantage of my opportunities and try to branch out in other areas,” she says.

Performing has taught Renee a lot of important lessons. She has learned how to listen and react to people honestly. It has also taught her how to take chances and live in the moment. She has no regrets.

Now that the spotlight has been placed on her, Renee has learned what it feels like to be a celebrity, and all the expectations that come along with that title. She has tried to stay true to herself and not let the attention change her.

She says, “I think that sometimes when you’re in the spotlight people forget that you’re a human being.”

— Mary Frye, LSY! teen reporter, Mount St. Mary Academy

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