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about JH

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jh, life & art

I have always played / worked in some aspect of theater / acting. As a kid I produced plays in my backyard (of course starred in them, too). I performed in dozens musicals with my hometown community theater, Genesius, in Reading PA. before running off to NYC. I'm an NYU grad & trained as well at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London & Circle in the Square. I spent 3 summers learning & working with some of the greatest actors in American theater at the Williamstown Theater Festival, where I received my AEA card in 1982.

In my first role as a professional actress, I was cast by Tennessee Williams to play Jane Sparks in his Vieux Carre for the opening of the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center in Key West, Florida. I auditioned in December of 1982; Williams died in February of 1983, just a week before we started rehearsals in Key West.

I've been honored to work on Broadway in plays by Williams & O'Neill, on wonderful regional stages across the country & fine theaters in Los Angeles. I've played leading roles in new plays & great works by Shakespeare, Chekhov & Shaw, with incredibly talented actors & directors. I've also appeared in film & television. Visit JH ACTING page for my full bio. 

I've served as Artistic Director of two prestigious Los Angeles ensemble companies: The Classical Theatre Lab & The Antaeus Company. The extraordinary work that emerges from such ensembles always seems to me to be worth the challenges inherent in collective governing. For my arts leadership bio, visit my DIRECTING & LEADERSHIP page.

Running theaters led me to directing scores of readings, workshops, leading recently to full productions. Most recent: the world premiere of Matt Hoverman's Who You See Here @ The Martha's Vineyard Playhouse,Long Day's Journey Into Night @ Geffen Playhouse, live-streamed by Broadway HD & now available for viewing on their website.  Recently: Love, Noel @ The Wallis  / Kindertransport for LA Theater Works &, @ The Williamstown Theater Festival, a workshop of Jeffrey Hatcher's Cousin Bette of which I directed the the acclaimed production at Antaeus. For more visit my DIRECTING page.

I'm an acting teacher / coach / author of two books on acting. THE ACTOR'S CHEKHOV & TOWARD MASTERY are both based on the work of my mentor: the revolutionary Artistic Director of The Williamstown Theater Festival, Nikos Psacharopoulos. (see BOOKS) I'm proud that The Actor's Chekhov, which I wrote over 15 years ago, is still used by colleges, universities & professional productions across the country.

 I've had the privilege of working with famous actors, working professionals, & talented beginners, all equally meaningful encounters. I've taught workshops on the plays of Anton Chekhov @ Williamstown, Emerson College, NYU, USC & others. I created & led The Antaeus Academy, a training program for the next generation of classical theatre actors in LA; I teach on-camera & cold reading @ The SAG-AFTRA Conservatory. In THE WORKROOM I teach it all -- whatever the actor needs to focus on at this particular moment in time. Gathering with a tribe of actors on a weekly basis with a pure focus on craft is the heart of my journey as an artist. This aspect of my journey ≈ the reward of a lifetime in the field. More info in CLASSES & COACHING

I'm originally from Wyomissing Pennsylvania; I lived  in NYC for 13 years & now LA for about 20. My hobbies are work, yoga, work, cooking, work, etc. My husband, Young Ji, is the Artistic Coordinator for The Geffen Playhouse + a director & AEA stage manager. We live in Toluca Woods with our 3 cats, Puck, Peaseblossom & Peter Quince (I know, way too cute). My Dad still lives in Wyomissing. My sister Julie is one of the top fashion consultants at Saks Fifth Ave. & has a 7 year old son, Ryan. My sister Joyce is a novelist & divides her time between NYC, Berlin & The Berkshires. I dedicate this site to my darling departed Mom, Linda Leanza Hackett.


#1 Marching to my own beat in 1st grade, York Country Day School,PA //
#2 Friends/ mentors/
goddesses Olympia Dukakis & Blythe Danner //#3 NYU grads: Betsy Aidem, Kerry Boyle & others //
#4 The man of my dreams, 
husband Young Ji //
#5 accepting the Antaeus Company's LA Drama Critic's Circle Award for Best Season w/critic & friend Terry Morgan //
#6 The glory days of WTF Cabaret. I'm in a black dress, center,  next to Austin Pendleton &
Gary Levine/to my right: Ed Herrmann/David Hyde Pierce/ Steve Lawson ~ 
kneeling front:Christopher Reeve //
#7 my best friend from high school, Peggy Waurosek, at our last high school reunion //
#8 withmembers of the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Rules Committee, at the 2015 Ovation Awards //
#9 The cats of my dreams: Puck & Peaseblossom