Jayne Houdyshell

Jayne Houdyshell /ˈhdiˌʃɛl/[1] (born September 25, 1953) is an American stage, film and television actress. She is best known for her Tony Award-winning role in the 2016 play The Humans.[2]

Jayne Houdyshell
Jayne Houdyshell at Gimme A Break Gala.jpg
Houdyshell at Transport Group Gala 2013
Born (1953-09-25) September 25, 1953 (age 68)


Early lifeEdit

Raised in Topeka, Kansas, she is the youngest of four daughters born to Galen "Buzz" Houdyshell and Louella Taylor. She graduated from Topeka High School in 1971, and she went on to graduate with honors from the Academy of Dramatic Art at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan[3] in 1974.


Since the mid-1970s, she has appeared in more than 200 plays at regional theaters throughout the United States, including the Meadow Brook Theater, Attic Theater, Missouri Repertory Theater, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theater, McCarter Theater, Delaware Theater Company, Wilma Theater, Syracuse Stage, Studio Arena, GeVa Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, Steppenwolf Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Old Creamery Theatre, Totem Pole Playhouse, Peterborough Players, and others.

Houdyshell reminisces that, after moving to Manhattan in 1980, “I was traveling all that 20 years...There was a community of actors who did that. We were itinerant actors who just continually moved around the country from theater to theater and job to job."[4]

In New York, she is known for her role as "Ann Kron" in the Broadway production of Well by Lisa Kron. It was a role that garnered her a Tony Award nomination in 2006.[5] She won a Theater World Award and an Obie Award, Outstanding Performance, for the Off-Broadway production of Well, which ran in 2004 at the Public Theater.[6][7]

She received the 2005 Joseph Jefferson Award, Supporting Actress, Play for her performance in The Pain and the Itch for Steppenwolf Theatre Company[8] and a 2005 Barrymore Award, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for her work in The Clean House at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia.[9][10]

Houdyshell's Broadway credits include Wicked, Well, Bye Bye Birdie,[11] and The Importance of Being Earnest. She played the role of "Hattie" in the 2011 revival of Follies,[12] and received a 2012 Tony Award nomination, Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance.[13] Houdyshell played the Nurse in the 2013 Broadway revival of Romeo and Juliet.[14]

She appeared in The Humans as "Deirdre Blake", first in its Off-Broadway engagement at the Roundabout Theatre Company in September 2015 to December 2015,[15] and then the Broadway production of the play which opened at the Helen Hayes Theatre on February 18, 2016. For The Humans she won the 2016 Tony Award, Featured Actress in a Play,[16] the 2016 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Ensemble Performance,[17] and the Obie Award, Performance.[18] She was also nominated for the 2016 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Actress in a Play.

In 2017 she played Ann Marie in Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2.

Houdyshell's other New York credits include Harrison, TX: Three Plays by Horton Foote at Primary Stages, Coraline,[19] The New Century, at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center (2008);[20] The Receptionist at the Manhattan Theater Club (2007);[21] Much Ado About Nothing (Delacorte Theatre, 2004);[22] Fighting Words, and The Pain and the Itch at Playwrights Horizons (2009);[23] Attempts on Her Life at Soho Rep; and True Love at the Zipper Theater (2001).[24][citation needed]

In April 2019, Houdyshell returned to Broadway as the Earl of Gloucester in the Sam Gold directed production of King Lear, with Glenda Jackson in the title role. Houdyshell will be playing Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in the upcoming revival of The Music Man, set to star Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.

Television and filmEdit

Houdyshell's television credits include appearances on Law & Order,[25] Third Watch, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

She has appeared in films including Changing Lanes (2002), Garden State (2004), Trust the Man (2006), and Everybody's Fine.[25] She had a small role as a landlady in the 2010 film The Bounty Hunter.[26]

She starred on the third season of the ABC thriller Quantico as The Widow.[27]

In 2019, she appeared as the housekeeper Hannah in Greta Gerwig's critically acclaimed adaptation of Little Women.[28]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 Changing Lanes Miss Tetley
2002 Maid in Manhattan Carmen
2004 Garden State Mrs. Lubin
2005 Trust the Man Sex Addicts Leader
2005 Road Postal Clerk
2006 Things That Hang from Trees Pam Dupont
2006 The Immaculate Conception Sister Patricia
2009 Everybody's Fine Alice
2010 The Bounty Hunter Landlady
2010 Morning Glory Stage Manager
2014 Romeo and Juliet Nurse
2014 Lucky Stiff Harry's Landlady
2017 Downsizing Paul's Mother
2018 The Chaperone Sister Delores
2019 Little Women Hannah
2021 The Humans Deirdre Blake
TBA Red, White and Water Sharon Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Third Watch Jane Episode: "Welcome to Camelot"
1997–2002 Law & Order Various Characters 3 episodes
2002–17 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Ruth Linden 10 episodes
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Ruth Pear Episode: "The Unblinking Eye"
2006 Conviction Judge Roberta Palski 2 episodes
2009 Loving Leah Mrs. Finkelman Television movie
2009 Guiding Light Judger Burslem Episode #1.15659
2010 Running Wilde Gertie Stellvertretter Pilot
2014 Blue Bloods Roseanne Galecki Episode: "Open Secrets"
2015 Elementary Carla Episode: "Hemlock"
2015 American Odyssey Rose Offer 8 episodes
2015 Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter Jane Cotton 2 episodes
2017 The Accidental Wolf Rach Episode: "Kathryn"
2017–18 The Good Fight Renée Rampling 2 episodes
2018 Quantico The Widow Episode: "The Conscience Code"
2019 The Tick Black Market Bob Episode: "Magic is Real"
2020 Evil Judge Sara Carl Shire Episode: "Justice x 2"
2021 Only Murders in the Building Bunny 6 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2006–08 Wicked Madame Morrible (replacement) Gershwin Theatre
2006 Well Ann Longacre Theatre
2009–10 Bye Bye Birdie Mae Peterson Henry Miller's Theatre
2011 The Importance of Being Earnest Miss Prism (replacement) American Airlines Theatre
2011–12 Follies Hattie Walker Marquis Theatre
Ahmanson Theatre
2011 8 Maggie Gallagher Eugene O'Neill Theatre
2012–13 Dead Accounts Barbara Music Box Theatre
2013 Romeo and Juliet Nurse Richard Rodgers Theatre
2015 Fish in the Dark Gloria Drexel Cort Theatre
2015–17 The Humans Deirdre Blake Laura Pels Theatre
Helen Hayes Theatre
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
2017 A Doll's House, Part 2 Anne Marie John Golden Theatre
2018 The Humans Diedre Blake Ahmanson Theatre
Hampstead Theatre
2019 King Lear Earl of Gloucester Cort Theatre
2021 The Music Man Mrs. Shinn Winter Garden Theatre

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2004 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Well Nominated
Obie Award Distinguished Performance by an Actress Won
2005 Joseph Jefferson Award Actress in a Supporting Role in a Play The Pain and the Itch Won
Barrymore Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play The Clean House Won
2006 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play Well Nominated
Theatre World Award Won
2012 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Follies Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2016 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play The Humans Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Ensemble Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
Obie Award Distinguished Performance by an Actress Won
Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play Nominated
2017 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play A Doll's House, Part 2 Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Nominated


  1. ^ As pronounced by Houdyshell in "Ask a Star: Jayne Houdyshell & Reed Birney of The Humans"
  2. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (June 12, 2016). "Tony Awards: The Winners List". Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ "Alumna Jayne Houdyshell nominated for a Tony Award" Archived 2016-05-06 at the Wayback Machine, oakland.edu, May 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Pressley, Nelson. "Jayne Houdyshell, late-blooming Broadway baby", The Washington Post, September 12, 2014
  5. ^ Wyatt, Rebecca (2006-05-26), "Former MBT actress receives Tony nomination", Oakland University News
  6. ^ "Jayne Houdyshell Biography". Broadway Buzz: Star Files. Broadway.com. Retrieved 2009-07-01.[dead link]
  7. ^ " 'Well' Off-Broadway", lortel.org, accessed May 25, 2016
  8. ^ Lipton, Brian Scott. "2005 Joseph Jefferson Award Winners Announced", TheaterMania, November 8, 2005
  9. ^ "Barrymore Awards, 2005" theatrephiladelphia.org, accessed May 26, 2016
  10. ^ Lipton, Brian Scott. "2005 Barrymore Award Nominations Announced" theatermania.com, August 10, 2005
  11. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Bye Bye Birdie, With Stamos, Gershon, Irwin, Houdyshell and Trimm, Returns to Broadway", Playbill.com, September 10, 2009
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew (2011). "DIVA TALK: Chatting with a "Broadway Baby," Follies Star Jayne Houdyshell". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2011-10-18.
  13. ^ Gans, Andrew; Jones, Kenneth; and Hetrick, Adam. "2012 Tony Awards Nominations Announced; Once Earns 11 Nominations", Playbill, May 1, 2012
  14. ^ Gordon, David. "Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow: Broadway's 'Romeo and Juliet', Starring Orlando Bloom, Will Close in December", theatermania.com, November 20, 2013
  15. ^ Simoes, Monica. "First Pics of Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell and Sarah Steele in Roundabout's 'The Humans'", Playbill, October 1, 2015
  16. ^ Viagas, Robert. " 'Hamilton' Tops Tony Awards With 11 Wins", Playbill.com, June 12, 2016.
  17. ^ "'The Humans' Broadway", Playbill.com; accessed May 25, 2016
  18. ^ "Obie Awards Winners Announced", Variety.com, May 23, 2016.
  19. ^ Blankenship, Mark (2009-06-07), "The Score and the Story, Inseparable", New York Times, p. AR4
  20. ^ The New Century lortel.org, retrieved September 12, 2018
  21. ^ The Receptionist lortel.org, retrieved September 12, 2018
  22. ^ Much Ado lortel.org, retrieved September 12, 2018
  23. ^ The Pain and the Itch lortel.org, retrieved September 12, 2018
  24. ^ True Love lortel.org, retrieved September 12, 2018
  25. ^ a b Jayne Houdyshell Filmography" allmovie.com, retrieved September 12, 2018
  26. ^ The Bounty Hunter allmovie.com, retrieved September 12, 2018
  27. ^ "Scoop: Coming Up On Season Three Premiere Of Quantico on ABC - Thursday, April 26, 2018". Broadway World. April 9, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  28. ^ Larkin, Michelle. "The worst movies the cast of 'Little Women' has been in". Insider. Retrieved Feb 16, 2021.

External linksEdit