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about JH

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jh, life & art journey

I have worked in some aspect of theater / acting my entire career. & before. As a kid I produced plays in my backyard (of course starred in them, too). I did about 18 musicals with my hometown community theater, Genisius, before I left for college. 

I'm an NYU grad & also trained 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'm so grateful that I got to know him.

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 with some frequency 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. Running now: Long Day's Journey Into Night @ Geffen Playhouse. It's the first regional theater production to be live-streamed by Broadway HD & will soon be available for viewing on their website. live-streamed by I've recently begun to direct more theater (& even a film). Recently: Love, Noel at the new Annenberg Center for the Performing ArtsKindertransport for LA Theater Works &, at The Williamstown Theater Festival, a workshop of Jeffrey Hatcher's Cousin Bette of which I directed the the acclaimed production at Antaeus. For more about what I've directed in the past & what's coming up, visit my DIRECTING page.

I'm also 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.

As a teacher & coach 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 everything & anything actors want to focus on. Being in a creative space with actors, focused purely on craft is the heart of my journey as an artist & the hundreds & maybe, (probably) thousands of actors I've had the privilege of working with ≈ the reward of a lifetime in the field. 
More info in CLASSES & COACHING.

I'm originally from Wyomissing Pennsylvania; I lived in New York City for 13 years & now have been in 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 in North Hollywood, with our 2 cats, Puck & Peaseblossom (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 published fiction writer & 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