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Janus Cercone is a true hyphenate--an American screenwriter and playwright who has written multiple studio movies and a Tony Award nominated Broadway musical--and a designer/developer of high-end residences as co-owner of the boutique real estate development firm, Jaman Properties. As a screenwriter, she is best known for her original screenplay, Leap of Faith, for Paramount Pictures which starred Steve Martin and Liam Neeson. That movie was adapted as a Broadway musical with music by 8-time Oscar winner, Alan Menken, starring Raúl Esparza and opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre in 2012. The show was nominated for the Tony Award for Best New Musical and six Drama Desk Awards, including Ms. Cercone’s nomination as co-writer for Best Book Of A Musical.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Ms. Cercone grew up in Pennsylvania and New York, graduating as a Regents and National Merit Scholar from The Bronxville High School and attending Skidmore College on a full music scholarship as a violinist.
After exiting Skidmore, Ms. Cercone worked at A&M Records. She rose from an assistant position—where her job description included cleaning out her boss’s catbox--to Director of East Coast Publicity, handling media coverage for artists as varied as Peter Allen, Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton, Nazareth and The Police.
After departing the label, Cercone worked as a studio musician and songwriter, contributing material to numerous records, series television and award-winning movies including Emmy winner, Roe vs. Wade (film) and  and Golden Globe winner Dirty Pictures. She also performed as a company member in Peter Allen’s Broadway production, “Up In One”.
Career[edit | edit source]
Film[edit | edit source]
At the suggestion of her husband, producer, Michael Manheim, Ms. Cercone enrolled in Syd Field’s legendary screenwriting class. Her first script sold the day it was completed to producer, Jerry Weintraub, launching a career that continued till 2012.
In 1992, Cercone's original spec script, Leap of Faith was purchased by Paramount Pictures. Starring Steve Martin, and Liam Neeson, the movie came from her experiences traveling with rock bands and from extensive research on con men. She was guided in this process by Ricky Jay.
Ms. Cercone has worked for every major Hollywood studio, writing screenplays and produced features for Oscar winning talent including Michael Douglas, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, for whom Cercone wrote, Django, the story of legendary Gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt. A deep dive into research, this project enabled Cercone to interview the last remaining associates of Mr. Reinhardt—including his late son Babik.
Theater[edit | edit source]
Ms. Cercone’s play, Dead And In Person received readings at Manhattan Theatre Club, starring Rosemary Harris and The Falcon Theatre, directed by Penny Marshall and starring Jennifer Aniston, Holland Taylor and Robert Downey, Jr. 
Cercone adapted her movie, Leap of Faith as a musical with eight-time-Oscar-winning composer, Alan Menken. The show, starring four-time Tony Award Nominee, Raul Esparza, received its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre in 2010, opened on Broadway at The St. James Theatre in 2012 and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best New Musical and for six Drama Desk Awards, including Ms. Cercone’s nomination as co-writer of Best Book Of A Musical.
As co-founder, with Suellen Richmond, of the theatre investment fund, Nine Thirty Girls, Ms. Cercone participated in the Off-Broadway production of the musical revival, Carrie at The Lucille Lortel Theatre in 2012. The show received multiple award nominations and won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival.
Awards[edit | edit source]
Nomination: Drama Desk Awards for Best Book Of A Musical.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Ms. Cercone lives in Malibu with her creative partner and husband since 1983, Michael Manheim.
Notable film projects[edit | edit source]
- Roe vs. Wade (film) (songwriter) (1989)
- Leap of Faith (screenwriter) (1992)
- Ed (co-story) (1996)
- Dirty Pictures (film) (songwriter) (2000)
- Leap of Faith-the musical (co-book writer; based on the motion picture written by Janus Cercone)
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- Janus Cercone on IMDb
- Leap of Faith on IMDb
- Leap of Faith Broadway. Leapoffaithbroadway.com.
- Internet Broadway Database. Up in One. Biltmore Theatre. 2001 – 2012. The Broadway League,
- Los Angeles Times. Ocean Views and Hoop Dreams. November 14, 1999. Copyright, 2012. Los Angeles Times
- The Emmys. Roe vs. Wade. 1995 – 2012 Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
- Wikipedia. 58th Golden Globe Awards.Best Miniseries or Television Series.
- The New York Times. Movies and TV. Janus Cercone. Copyright. 2012. Retrieved 2012 – 03 – 28.
- Jamam Properties