2023 Master Teacher - Jerry Zaks

About Jerry Zaks

Jerry Zaks is a renowned American stage and television director, and actor.  His most recent success is as Director for The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.  Jerry will soon be directing the touring company of Mrs. Doubtfire, after having directed it on Broadway. He has been nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning four for The House of Blue Leaves, Lend Me a TenorSix Degrees of Separation, and Guys and Dolls.

On Broadway, he has also directed Sister ActHello DollyLa Cage aux FollesLittle Shop of HorrorsThe Man Who Came to Dinner, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, among many others.  He directed feature films Marvin’s Room and Who Do You Love.

Jerry began his theater career as an actor, performing in Tintypes and as Kenickie in Grease.  His big screen credits as an actor include Outrageous Fortune, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Husbands and Wives.  On the small screen he appeared in M*A*S*H and The Edge of Night, and has directed episodes of Everybody Loves RaymondFrasierHope and Faith, and Two and a Half Men, and more. 

He served as Resident Director at the Lincoln Center in New York for four years.  Jerry has received the George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theater, an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Dartmouth College, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

Master Teachers 2009-2023

Every year, Ten Chimneys selects and collaborates with a Master Teacher for the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program — a luminary stage actor whose talent, generosity, ability to teach, and dedication to mentoring are deeply admired by stage actors and the entire theatre community. The Master Teacher for each year is a key collaborator in the program, working with Ten Chimneys staff to develop the curriculum, content, and focus of the artistic elements of the experience. During the first two years of the program, the top regional theatre actors in the U.S. spent the artistic portion of their Ten Chimneys immersion delving into Shakespeare — with the late actress Lynn Redgrave in 2009 and renowned Shakespearean Barry Edelstein in 2010. In 2011, they explored Chekhov with award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, and in 2012, the Lunt-Fontanne Fellows focused on American Musical Theatre with Broadway legend Joel Grey. The 2013 program explored spontaneity on stage, and was led by American icon, Alan Alda, and in 2014 the Fellows studied works related to the Lunts' and their illustrious friends with award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce . In 2015 we welcomed Phylicia Rashad, who led the class in roles that were "against type" and differentiated from the characters they typically were cast in. The 2016 program was led by Jason Alexander and focused on the physicalization of choice - the powerful collaboration of mind and body in building a performance.  Our 2017 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Class with Master Teacher Alfred Molina focused on developing fresh ways into character work through text analysis and casting against type.  2018's Fellows led by Stephen McKinley Henderson concentrated on fortifying each actor with justified reality; reflecting that they are coming from an experience to an experience, to do something immediate, important and compelling.  In 2019, Tyne Daly used poetry as a medium to focus on renewable energy.  She was also our Master Teacher in 2022.  In 2023, Director Jerry Zaks worked with the actors on comedic work and timing. Sadly, the Fellowship did not occur in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Ten Chimneys?

Ten Chimneys, the estate lovingly created by theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is open to the public as a world-class house museum with a progressive mission to serve the arts.

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