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

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05 Jun 2012

Jayne Houdyshell
Jayne Houdyshell

Jayne Houdyshell, a 2012 Tony Award nominee for her performance in Follies, fills out's questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.

Houdyshell has appeared on Broadway in The Importance Of Being Earnest, Bye Bye Birdie, Wicked and Well (Tony nomination, Theater World Award).

Other theatre work includes Coraline, The New Century and The Pain & The Itch.


Full given name: Jaynie Houdyshell

Where you were born/where you were raised: Topeka, Kansas
Zodiac Sign:Libra
What your parents did/do for a living:My father was a haberdasher, and my mother, a secretary.
Siblings: 3 older sisters: Mary Lou, Ann and Sue.
Special skills: I can't think of a single one.
Something you're REALLY bad at: MATH ugh, and all things technological
First Broadway show you ever saw: Mornings at Seven with Elizabeth Wilson. The whole cast was terrific, but Ms. Wilson blew me away.
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Laurette Taylor in The Glass Menagerie, Ethel Barrymore in The Corn is Green, Katherine Cornell in Antony and Cleopatra and Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet.
Did you have any particular mentors or inspirations as a young actor? My high school drama teacher Martha Herrick. She recognized that I was avid about the theater, so she made sure that I had opportunities to see theater, go to symphonies, opera, and art museums. She also encouraged me to read poetry and classic literature.

She believed that if I was to be an artist I needed exposure to all of the Arts. There wasn't a lot of culture in Topeka, so she'd take me to Kansas City.

In addition to taking all the drama and acting classes in my high school curriculum, she also created independent study courses for me in Shakespeare, directing, and dialects. By the time I graduated high school, I had an incredible foundation and work ethic for my further studies in acting school.

Current show you have been recommending to friends: Clybourne Park
Favorite showtunes of all time: “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Who Are You Now,” “Rose’s Turn,” “Move On”
Some favorite musicals: Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Goblin Market, Sunday in the Park with George, Guys and Dolls and Follies of course.
Some favorite modern plays: The Glass Menagerie, Death of a Salesman, You Can't Take it With You, Intimate Apparel, Well, Ruined, Creature, Clybourne Park, Middletown
Some favorite modern playwrights: Lynn Nottage, Bruce Norris, Lisa Kron, Heidi Schreck, Will Eno, Tom Stoppard, John Guare, Tennessee Williams
Stage or screen stars of the past you would most have loved to perform with: Geraldine Page, Shelley Winters, Patricia O'Neal, Eileen Heckart, Maureen Stapleton
The one performance – attended - that you will never forget: Anne Pitoniak in 'night, Mother
Music that makes you cry, any genre: My new and budding love for opera.... thanks to Rosalind Elias... she made me a convert.
You personal acting idols: Charles Laughton, Frank Wood, John Wood, Viola Davis, Cherry Jones, Danny Burstein, Mark Rylance, Janet McTeer, Paul Scofield, Morgan Freeman, Imelda Staunton, Angela Lansbury, Edie Falco, Denis O'Hare... oh my God there are too many great, great people. I could fill a page... I have to stop.
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