Well's Houdyshell to Star in MCC's Coraline

By Andrew Gans
and Ernio Hernandez
08 Feb 2009

Jayne Houdyshell
Jayne Houdyshell
Photo by Joan Marcus

Jayne Houdyshell, who received a Tony nomination for her performance in Well, will star in MCC Theater's upcoming production of the new musical Coraline, which will begin previews at the Lucille Lortel Theatre May 7.

Based on the novel by Neil Gaman, Coraline features music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt and a book by David Greenspan. Performances will continue through June 20.

Houdyshell will play the title role, a nine-year-old girl. About the casting director Leigh Silverman said in a statement, "Coraline is a wildly unconventional musical and having the exquisite Jayne Houdyshell play the precocious nine-year old, gleefully defines the surprising and extraordinary spirit of the piece."

"Poor bored Coraline. She's left to rattle 'round her perpetually distracted, workaholic parents' house all by her lonesome," according to MCC. "But late one night, her dreams of a better reality come true as she opens a big, carved, wooden door at the far end of the drawing room and passes into a perfect replica of her own world. When she's greeted there by a vastly loving Other Mother and a kindly Other Father, she's thrilled! But as the rats start to creep from the floorboards, and the way home becomes increasingly unclear, Coraline begins to suspect that, perhaps, all is not as perfect as it seems."

Jayne Houdyshell received a Tony nomination for her performance in the Broadway production of Well and an Obie Award as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations for her work in that show's Off-Broadway mounting at the Public Theater. Her numerous theatrical credits also include Wicked, The New Century, The Receptionist, Much Ado About Nothing, Fighting Words, True Love, Attempts on Her Life, The Pain and the Itch (Jefferson Award) and The Clean House. On screen Houdyshell has been seen in "Garden State," "Changing Lanes," "Maid in Manhattan," "Conviction" and "Law & Order."



In related news, the Times reports that MCC's production of Third Story — starring Kathleen Turner and the work's playwright, Charles Busch — has been extended one week. Performances will now continue through March 6.

The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street; for tickets call (212) 279-4200. For more information visit mcctheater.org.