Kerr, E(laine) Katherine 1942-
KERR, E(laine) Katherine 1942-
PERSONAL: Born April 20, 1942, in Indianapolis, IN; daughter of John Francis (a physician) and Beatrice Mae (Westfall) Kerr; married James Joseph Mapes (a hypnotist, producer, and actor), May 31, 1980 (divorced, 1986).
CAREER: Actress, writer, and teacher. Actress in stage productions (under the name Elaine Kerr), including (as chorus leader and Cassandra) The Trojan Women, Off-Broadway, 1963; (as Kay) Oh, Kay, Buffalo, NY, 1967; (as Ellen) Luv, New Orleans, LA, 1970; (as Rosalind) As You Like It, New Orleans, 1970; (as Lucy Brown) The Threepenny Opera, New Orleans, 1970; (as Blanche DuBois) A Streetcar Named Desire, New Orleans, 1970; (as Dee Jacobson) No Place to Be Somebody, Morosco Theatre, New York, NY, 1971; (as Letitia) The Contrast, Eastside Playhouse, New York, 1972; (as Melanie) Boo Hoo, Playwrights Horisons Theatre, New York, 1972; (as Sabina) The Skin of Our Teeth, Seattle, WA, 1973; A Streetcar Named Desire, St. James Theatre, New York, 1973; Mert and Phil, New York Shakespeare Festival, 1974; (as Sparky Snyder) In Honored Memory of Ted and Sparky, Universal Relevance Group Enterprises, National Theatre (U.R.G.E.N.T.), New York, 1974; (as Valerie) The Pornographer's Daughter, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, 1975; and (as Cecil) Juno's Swans, PAF Playhouse, Huntington, NY, 1978.
Actress in stage productions (under the name E. Katherine Kerr), including (as Ellen, Mrs. Saunders, and Betty) Cloud 9, Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York, 1981; (as Nell) Passion, Longacre Theatre, New York, then London, both 1983; Laughing Wild, Playwrights Horizons Theatre, 1987 and 2003; Urban Blight, Manhattan Theatre Club, 1988; The Fourth Wall, Westport, CT, 1992; Unfinished Stories, New York Theatre Workshop, New York, 1994; and The Credeaux Canvas, Playwrights Horizon, 2001. Also appeared at Pennsylvania State Theatre Festival in (as Rosalind) As You Like It, (as Gwendolyn) Ernest in Love, and (as Blanche Cook) Night Watch; at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA, in (as Miss Gilchrist) The Hostage, (as Rita Marimba) Marathon 33, (as Beatrice) Much Ado about Nothing, (as Jenny Diver) The Threepenny Opera, and (as Viola) Twelfth Night; at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, in (as Ellen) Exhibition and (as Amy) Porch; has also appeared in Scenes from American Life and Search for Signs of Intelligent Life; also appeared at McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ, 1975-76. Toured (as Toby Laundau) with Gingerbread Lady.
Actress in films, including (as Harry's wife) Tattoo, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1981; (as Irene Furman) Power, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), 1983; (as analyst) Lovesick, Warner Bros., 1983; (as Gilda Schultz) Silkwood, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983; (as Lucille Haxby) Reuben, Reuben, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1983; (as Mary Lee Ochs) Children of a Lesser God, Paramount, 1986; (as Grace Komisky) Suspect, TriStar, 1987; (as Adelle Phillips) Three o'Clock High, 1987; (as judge) The Devil's Advocate, Warner Bros., 1997; (under the name Katherine Kerr; as Candace) Next Stop Wonderland, Miramax, 1998; (as Gertrude) The Imposters, Fox Searchlight, 1998; (as attorney general) The Siege, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1998; and (as Harriet Tolliver) Songcatcher, Trimark, 2000.
Actress in television programs, including (as Marguerite) Ryan's Hope, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC); (as kidnapper) Shady Hill Kidnapping, Public Broadcasting Service, 1982; Abby, My Love, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1991; (as Mrs. Elizabeth Avery Waring) Separate But Equal(miniseries), ABC, 1991; (as Mrs. Parmore) The Buccaneers (miniseries), (PBS), 1995; (as Judge Stockton) The Prosecutors (made-for-television movie), National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1996; and (as Cecilia) Cupid & Cate (made-for-television movie), 2000. Guest star on Law & Order, NBC.
New York University and Playwright's Horizons, both New York, NY, instructor (advanced scene study); former instructor at the 42nd Street Collective and Sarah Lawrence College; leads other acting classes and workshops in NY and CT.
MEMBER: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Dramatists Guild.
AWARDS, HONORS: Obie Award and Villager Award, for Cloud 9.
Juno's Swans (produced in Huntington, NY, 1978, then Second Stage, New York, NY, 1985), Dramatists Play Service (New York, NY), 1998.
The Four Principles: A Guide for Living from Authentic Acting, 2003.
Contributor to Urban Blight, produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, NY, 1988. Author of the one-woman show On the Zip-Line and of an unbroadcast television adaptation of Juno's Swans.
SIDELIGHTS: E. Katherine Kerr has been a notable presence on American stages for several decades. Although she is best known for her theatrical performances, Kerr is also a writer. She is the author of several plays and of the book The Four Principles: A Guide for Living from Authentic Acting, which is based on acting workshops Kerr has led for many years.
Kerr's best-known play may be Juno's Swans, which was first performed in 1978 but remains popular enough that the script was reprinted in 1998. The play is about a woman named Cary who lives in a tiny apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan while attempting to break into acting. Her ex-boyfriend, a songwriter whose current project is a musical adaptation of the Shakespearean play As You Like It, also lives in Cary's one-room apartment some of the time. Then Cary's sister Cecilia appears on Cary's doorstep, after leaving her husband and two children in California, and moves in with them as well. Cecilia, formerly a traditional, conservative housewife, does not fit in well with Cary and her ex-boyfriend's bohemian life at first, but eventually, after a few crises, the three all learn to get along, and Cary and her ex-boyfriend's Broadway dreams are realized.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 34, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Back Stage, February 12, 1982, Judy Thrall, "Women Playwright Upsurge: Gain Stronghold on Stage," pp. 39-40; June 10, 1983, Michael Sommers, review of Passion, p. 87; March 18, 1994, Amy Hersh, "How Performers Stay at Their Peak," pp. 29-33; July 6, 2001, Michael Lazan, review of The Credeaux Canvas, p. 40.
Los Angeles Times, January 6, 1984, Clarke Taylor, "Kerr Keeps an Eye out for Bigger Roles," p. 1.
Nation, June 27, 1981, Richard Gilman, review of Cloud 9, pp. 802-803.
New Leader, June 13, 1983, Leo Sauvage, review of Passion, pp. 19-20.
New Republic, June 27, 1983, Robert Brustein, review of Passion, p. 24; January 30, 1984, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Reuben, Reuben, pp. 26-27.
Newsweek, June 6, 1983, Jack Kroll, review of Passion, p. 90; January 2, 1984, David Ansen, review of Reuben, Reuben, p. 58; October 26, 1987, David Ansen, review of Suspect, p. 86.
New York, May 30, 1983, John Simon, review of Passion, pp. 74-75; June 10, 1985, John Simon, review of Juno's Swans, p. 93; November 23, 1987, John Simon, review of Laughing Wild, p. 117; March 7, 1994, John Simon, review of Unfinished Stories, pp. 66-67.
New Yorker, June 1, 1981, Edith Oliver, review of Cloud 9, p. 124; May 23, 1983, Brendan Gill, review of Passion, p. 103; November 23, 1987, Edith Oliver, review of Laughing Wild, p. 153; March 14, 1994, Nancy Franklin, review of Unfinished Stories, p. 89.
New York Times, May 31, 1981, Walter Kerr, review of Cloud 9, p. D3; August 7, 1981, Carol Lawson, "Chaplin Is Subject of a Second Planned Musical," p. 15; December 19, 1983, Vincent Candy, review of Reuben, Reuben, p. 21; May 29, 1985, Frank Rich, review of Juno's Swans, p. 22; November 12, 1987, Frank Rich, review of Laughing Wild, p. 22; February 27, 1994, Vincent Canby, review of Unfinished Stories, p. H10.
People, November 9, 1987, Ralph Novak, review of Suspect, p. 14.
Time, May 30, 1983, T. E. Kalem, review of Passion, p. 85.
Variety, November 18, 1987, review of Laughing Wild, p. 98; July 29, 1988, review of Urban Blight, p. 67; August 24, 1992, Markland Taylor, review of The Fourth Wall, p. 69.
Wall Street Journal, July 24, 1981, Edwin Wilson, review of Cloud 9, p. 21; June 10, 1983, Edwin Wilson, review of Passion, pp. 27, 31.
E. Katherine Kerr Home Page,http://ekatherinekerr.com (February 25, 2003).
Guide to World Drama,http://www.4-wall.com/ (February 25, 2003), summary of Juno's Swans.*