Judy Kaye

Judy Kaye

Infobox actor
name = Judy Kaye

imagesize = 180px
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birthdate = birth date and age|1948|10|11|mf=y
birthplace =
deathdate =
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website =
tonyawards = Best Featured Actress in a Musical
1988 "The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical)"

Judy Kaye (born October 11, 1948) is an American singer and actress. She has appeared with the Santa Fe Opera (1985 and 1990), the New York City Opera (1989), the New York Philharmonic (1990), the Boston Pops Orchestra (1990), and the London Symphony Orchestra (1990).


Her Broadway debut, as a replacement Rizzo in the original company of "Grease", could barely have suggested the range of her singing voice (from low "belt" to high soprano). Her next show, "On the Twentieth Century", changed that. While opening night found her playing only the small role of the maid Agnes, she was also the understudy for leading lady Madeline Kahn, whose erratic behavior and frequent absences led to her being fired by producer/director Harold Prince, who gave the part to Kaye. Kaye had no trouble sustaining the part for the rest of the Broadway run and in at least two touring companies.

Her next two Broadway ventures flopped. "The Moony Shapiro Songbook", a campy spoof of songwriter-based revues like "Side by Side by Sondheim" and "Ain't Misbehavin'", closed after fifteen previews and one official performance (May 3, 1981), despite the presence of Kaye and co-stars Jeff Goldblum and future Tony-winner Gary Beach. Later that year, "Oh, Brother!", which transplanted William Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" to the Middle East, similarly folded after thirteen previews and three official performances.

Seven years later, however, Kaye returned to Broadway in a Tony-winning role as Carlotta Giudicelli in "The Phantom of the Opera", singing coloratura Ds and Es eight shows a week.

It was nearly a decade before her next Broadway appearance, as Emma Goldman in "Ragtime". (She was the only principal to remain with that show for its entire two-year run.) Next, her 2002 performance in "Mamma Mia!" won her Tony nominations as Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Kaye has performed extensively in various theatrical venues, in roles as widely varied as both Julie Jordan and Nettie Fowler in "Carousel", Annie Oakley in "Annie Get Your Gun", Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific", Meg in "Brigadoon", Hildy in "On the Town", Lalume in "Kismet", Lili Vanessi in "Kiss Me, Kate", Pistache in "Can-Can", Babe Williams in "The Pajama Game", the Old Lady in "Candide", Maria in "The Sound of Music", Rose in "", Anna in "The Anastasia Game", Aldonza in "Man of La Mancha", Lucy in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", Sally in "Follies", Mary Magdelene in "Jesus Christ Superstar", Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd".

She has performed frequently in opera and operetta, including leading roles in: "The Beggar’s Opera", "Orpheus in the Underworld", "La Bohème", "The Merry Widow", "Eileen", "Leave It to Jane", "Sweet Adeline", "Oh, Lady! Lady!!", "The Cat and the Fiddle","Trouble in Tahiti". She debuted the role of Abbie in the New York City premiere of Edward Thomas' musical version of "Desire under the Elms".

Kaye's stage ventures have included several "straight" (i.e., non-singing) assignments, among them the classic comedies "The Man Who Came to Dinner", "You Can’t Take It with You", and "The Royal Family".

In 2006, Kaye assumed the role of Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd" on Broadway during Patti LuPone's vacation. While not officially reviewed, there was buzz all over New York City about her stellar performance, which only lasted one week. She was brought back again later that summer, when LuPone left for a week to play "Mama Rose" in "Gypsy". She went on to play Mrs. Lovett in the 2007-2008 Canada and U.S. National Tour of "Sweeney Todd."

Recently Kaye appeared to great acclaim in Stephen Temperley's "Souvenir", a "fantasia on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins". The play originally ran Off-Broadway with great success; after a summer run in the Berkshires, it ran for two months on Broadway. She received rave reviews for her impersonation of this legendarily frightful singer, which she has performed across the United States.

She has made many recordings, including "Where, Oh, Where?" and "Diva to Diva", which focus on musical theater. Two other CDs partner her with the baritone William Sharp, one an all-George Gershwin program, the other all-Leonard Bernstein; the latter includes the world-premiere recording of his "Arias and Barcarolles".

She is also featured on six tracks of John McGlinn's EMI disc "Broadway Showstoppers", four of them numbers from Jerome Kern's "Sweet Adeline" (including the classic ballad "Why Was I Born?") and one a first-ever recording of the eleven-minute "Duet for One (The First Lady of the Land)" from the second act of Bernstein's legendary disaster "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue". She also was featured on the 1997 Varese Sarabande studio recording of the flop 1965 musical "Drat! The Cat!".


External links

* [http://www.judykaye.com Judy Kaye official website]
* [http://www.americantheatrewing.org/downstagecenter/detail/judy_kaye Judy Kaye] - "Downstage Center" interview at the American Theatre Wing

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