Elaine in Ally
“I've never felt anything so exciting as when this unanimous gasp came from the audience. That's why I love doing live theater more than anything: You get an immediate reaction, whether it's good or bad.” Jane Krakowski.
A musical theater veteran who won a Tony for her role as Carla in the Broadway revival of “Nine” (2003), Jane Krakowski is also a soap star and was widely popular for playing the scheming legal secretary Elaine Vassal (1997-2002) on the Fox TV hit “Ally McBeal.” She has also appeared in movies such as National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Fatal Attraction (1987), The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000; she played Betty Rubble), Marci X (2002), Alfie (2004), and Pretty Persuasion (2005).
Krakowski’s voice can be heard in the newly-released movie Open Season and the upcoming animated film Surf's Up. Soon, TV viewers will watch her starring opposite Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan on NBC’s highly anticipated show, “30 Rock,” created by Saturday Night Live performer and head writer Tina Fey.
The 5' 4½" tall blonde, pale green-eyed actress briefly dated lyricist Charles Hart (born in 1961; wrote lyrics for “The Phantom of the Opera”) in 1990, but they later rekindled relationship 1998. She is now reportedly dating 25-year-old actor Julian Ovenden, whom she met in London in 2005.
Childhood and Family:
Polish descendant Jane Krakowski was born on October 11, 1968, in Parsippany, New Jersey. She has an older brother who was born in 1962. Her parents, Edward, an engineer, and Barbara, a former school teacher, had active roles in the Montville, New Jersey community theater. At age 3, little Jane began taking dancing lessons. And at 13, she enrolled in New York City's prestigious Professional Children's School, whose famous alumni include Uma Thurman, Sarah Jessica Parker and Christina Ricci.
On Stage and Screen
A daughter of Montville, New Jersey community theater activists, Jane Krakowski has begun joining dancing classes at the age of 3 and was cast in an industrial fashion show when she turned 8. Six years later, she debuted on the big screen, playing Cousin Vicki, an orally skilled teenager, in Harold Ramis' hit comedy National Lampoon's Vacation (1983; starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo). She followed it up with a costarring role opposite Kevin Dillon in that same year’s indie movie, No Big Deal, which aired on HBO.
In 1986, Jane became a soap star when she garnered a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for playing a recurring role as troubled teen Rebecca 'T.R.' Kendall (1984-1986) on CBS original drama "Search for Tomorrow" (starring Mary Stuart). In the rest of the 1980s, she could be seen in Adrian Lyne's thriller-drama Fatal Attraction (1987; starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer; Jane played a babysitter), and the 1989 TV movie When We Were Young (a.k.a. That Magic Moment). She also appeared as Tonya (1989) on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning soap opera “Another World,” costarred opposite Liza Minnelli in director Lewis Gilbert's film version of Richard Harris' musical play, Stepping Out (1991), appeared in the CBS miniseries "Queen" (1993) and starred opposite Brendan Fraser in Mrs. Winterbourne (1996).
The budding actress, a trained dancer and singer, also graced Broadway. Initially unsuccessfully auditioned for a role in the Tommy Tune-directed "Nine" (1982), Jane won the key role of Dinah the Dining Car, the girlfriend of arrogant diesel locomotive Greaseball, in Andrew Lloyd Webber's through-composed rock opera "Starlight Express" (1987). She was one of the only four performers who remained with the difficult show (it required singing and dancing on roller skates) for its entire two-year run. Two years later, she was cast to play the stenographer and would-be-film-star, Flaemmchen (the role played by Joan Crawford in the 1932 film), in Tommy Tune's 1989 musical "Grand Hotel." The role handed Jane Drama Desk and Tony awards nominations for best supporting actress. The next years, she played April in the Broadway revival of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical "Company" (1995) and playing a costarring role in the critically-acclaimed Broadway revival of the musical comedy "Once Upon a Mattress" (1996; the play was written by Hans Christian Andersen as an adaptation of the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea").
“On paper, ‘Once Upon a Mattress’ looked good. Sarah Jessica Parker and the director and the designers -- everyone involved was reputable and had had huge successes in the past. What's odd to me is that I could tell from the first day of rehearsal that it was not going to be right; I hoped it would find its way, but I don't think it ever really did.” Jane Krakowski.
Back on television, Jane gained even more popularity when she portrayed the nosy bombshell legal secretary Elaine Vassal (1997-2002) on Fox's famous drama comedy "Ally McBeal." Besides playing one of the coveted female roles on the TV's smash hit, Jane also lent her vocal talents to the Ally McBeal Christmas CD. During her “Ally McBeal” stint, Jane had featured roles in such minor films as the romantic musical movie Dance With Me (1998; alongside Vanessa L. Williams and Chayanne) and the 2000 live-action prequel to the 1994 comedy hit The Flintstones, The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas (with Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin; Jane was cast as Betty Rubble). She also portrayed Mabel Normand in a concert staging of "Mack and Mabel" in Los Angeles and appeared in the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" video in 2000.
Following the “Ally McBeal” finale in 2002, Jane joined Lisa Kudrow and Damon Wayans in director Richard Benjamin's comedy about a spoiled Jewish-American Princess and a controversial rapper, Marci X, and lent her voice for the animated feature film Ice Age. The next year, she had a victorious stint on Broadway when she won the 2003 Tony Award as Best Actress (Featured Role - Musical) for her stunning and sultry portrayal of Carla, Antonio Banderas’ mistress, in the musical "Nine." Her dazzling performance in the theatrical adaptation of the Federico Fellini film 8½ also earned her the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critic's Award.
The next years saw Jane became one of the string of conquests in the life of Jude Law's womanizing character in the 2004 remake of the 1966 film which starred Michael Caine, Alfie, and showed off her singing and dancing talents as the beguiling Ghost of Christmas Past in the NBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' musical "A Christmas Carol" (2004; opposite Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge). Subsequently, Jane delivered a strong, sly performance as an ambitious local TV journalist in the Sundance-screened dark indie comedy Pretty Persuasion (2005), opposite Evan Rachel Wood and Ron Livingston. On stage, she starred as the nightclub singer Miss Adelaide, opposite Ewan McGregor, in a production of “Guys and Dolls” at London's Piccadilly Theatre, and won the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
More recently, Jane’s voice could be heard as the elegant doe Giselle in the newly-released animated movie Open Season (alongside Martin Lawrence, Gary Sinise and Ashton Kutcher). She will soon costar with Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan in the highly anticipated show “30 Rock.” The sitcom, created by Saturday Night Live performer and head writer Tina Fey, will debut on NBC on October 11, 2006. In the show, based loosely on the behind-the-scenes environment of Saturday Night Live, Jane will play Jenna DeCarlo, the star of the fictional The Girlie Show.
Commenting on her role in “30 Rock,” Jane said: “Well, actually, I've never played an actress before and to play a neurotic, insecure actress is surely a stretch for me. But it's been kind of fun to play this role because of the nature that it is sort of an ala - it's a variety show, Saturday Night Live, sort of sketch comedy show that I get to, in occasional episodes, play different characters and certainly in the episodes seeing the backstage aspect of them where we're wearing all the costumes, the different things and it's quite fun, I think.”
Besides the show, Jane is also working for her other next projects, a comedy TV movie titled Sex, Power, Love & Politics (opposite James Van Der Beek), and directors Ash Brannon (the co-director of Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck's mockumentary animated film, Surf's Up, scheduled to be released on June 8, 2007.
Tony, Best Actress in a Musical, “Nine,” 2003
Screen Actors Guild: Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series, “Ally McBeal;” shared with cast mates, 1999