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Entrepreneur and inventor Joy Mangano is getting emotional watching the musical "Joy" on the the George Street Playhouse stage

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George Street Playhouse/Joy Mangano
The new musical "Joy" is running at the George Street Playhouse through December 30

Not many people get to have a movie and a musical written about them, and especially not while they are alive, but that is the case for entrepreneur, inventor and best-selling author Joy Mangano.

Joy is a heartwarming and powerful musical that is running at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick through December 30th and is based on the life of Joy Mangano, the self-made millionaire whose journey epitomizes the real American Dream.

Mangano spoke with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about the show and her rise to the top of the product world.

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Doug Doyle/Zoom
Joy Mangano chats with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about "Joy" the musical

The Brooklyn native says Broadway stars Erika Henningsen’s performance as Joy really captures the emotion and spirit inside her.

"I have watched people smile from the beginning of it to the end and walk out inspired. I think everybody can identify with some of the threads. I always say were kind of alike but our paths are just defined a little differently and I think that's what Joy the musical does. So many people tell me they wish they followed through, whether it's opening up a restaurant or creating a product. So, I think if it (the musical) inspired anybody to think twice about what they might have stopped doing or always wanted to do, then our job is done. And it's really done in such a beautiful way. But Erika, to bring that powerhouse voice. You are not only mesmerized by the songs and her ability but you fall in love with her. "

T Charles Erickson
Erika Henningsen stars as inventor Joy Mangano in "Joy" at the George Street Playhouse

Mangano released her autobiography Inventing Joy, in 2017. The 2015 film Joy was loosely based on her life. Jennifer Lawrence won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Mangano.

The famed inventor says she feels the musical's creating team working at George Street Playhouse is special including Ken Davenport (Book) and Annmarie Milazzo (Music and Lyrics). Andy Einhorn is in charge of the musical supervision and arrangements. Choreography is by Joshua Bergasse. The director of Joy is Casey Hushion.

"I say I met the most unbelievable Hollywood family with the movie and now I believe I met the most theatrical family I could. They just love each other."

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Joy Mangano
Joy Mangano is also a best-selling author

Mangano's story involves a triumphant climb, from divorce to single motherhood and bankruptcy, to becoming a wildly successful dynamo that all started with the invention of a self-wringing mop, the Miracle Mop.

"So the Miracle Mop represented a lot of things. It represented one of the first inventions I followed through with, but literally it defined who I was, an inventor finally, a creator of product and thousands of products later we sit here. It just exploded in me what I had naturally."

Soon after she began appearing on QVC in 1992, she began appearing regularly on HSN and is considered one of the network's most successful product hosts.

Mangano says she's most proud of being the founder and CEO of Clean Boss, a company that develops and sells cleaning products.

In 2021, she premiered a reality competition show on USA Network for aspiring entrepreneurs called America's Big Deal.

You can SEE the entire interview with Joy Mangano here.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.