PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Follies Tony Nominee Jayne Houdyshell

By Matthew Blank
05 Jun 2012

Most played song on your iPod: Ummm technophobe here... I don't have an iPod.
Most-visited websites:, New York Times
Last book you read: "Gilead" and "Home," both by Marilynne Robinson
Must-see TV show(s): “Mad Men” – I came late to the party and have been watching reruns.
Some films you consider classics: "Network"
"All the President's Men"
"Now Voyager"
"Goodbye, Mr. Chips" (the original one)
"Mildred Pierce"
"The Misfits"
"To Kill a Mockingbird"
"A Streetcar Named Desire"
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

And maybe not a classic, but one that is my personal Prozac, "Waiting for Guffman."

Pop culture guilty pleasure: I am more than a little ashamed of this but... “Dance Moms.” Lordy.
Favorite cities: New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: "A Hard Day's Night"
First stage kiss Senior year in high school, The Rainmaker, John Holt as Starbuck, me as Lizzie
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: When I saw Mimi Hines in a road company of Funny Girl.
Who were the first people you called/texted after learning of your nomination? My agents.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: After show, the Glass House Tavern
Favorite liquid refreshment: Club soda with a splash of bitters and a twist of lime
Worst costume ever: A tree in Morgan le Fays' forest in a summer stock production of Camelot. Think tie-dyed unitard with sequined leaves and ballet slippers.
Worst job you ever had: Demonstrating Rubik's Cubes at Gimbles at Christmas time. I had to wear a t-shirt with a picture of two Rubik's Cubes emblazoned on my ample bosom, with the saying, "Once you get your hands on me you'll never let go."
If you could trade roles with anyone in the show for a week, who would it be?: I'd be Mr. Weissman, because after opening scene I could sneak to the back of the house and watch the rest of the show. I've always wanted to see it as the audience does.
A few Sondheim roles you'd love to tackle: Mrs. Lovett, Mama Rose
Most challenging role you have played onstage: Serafina Delle Rose in The Rose Tattoo
Leading lady role you've been dying to play: Lola in Come Back, Little Sheba
Leading man role you wish you could play: Krapp in Krapp's Last Tape
Something about you that surprises people: I really appreciate boxing.
Career you would want if not a performer: I'd probably be a therapist. I'm interested in what makes people tick.
"I'll never understand why…" Some people don't have an instinct to be quiet backstage.
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Observe people, look for the humanity in everyone including yourself. Be as honest as possible in your work. When you're out of work, keep reading plays, listening to music, watching films – grant yourself the grace of staying inspired by the thing you love. If you feel complacent or stuck in your performing, look for a project that scares you.