What I'm Working On Now 

Grad School Year 3: 2017-2018

11/10/17 - Casting is out for next semester -- last one for the class of 2018! I'll be working on Twelfth Night as Maria from March 1-11, with guest director Matthew Arbour. This is my favorite Shakespeare play, and ever since I first read it I've been waiting to say, "Go, shake your ears!"

10/28/17 - Happy closing, Travesties team! I'll miss the limericks, the Dada poetry, the musical tea party, and most of all our backstage dance parties during Jordan's rap.

10/19/17 - It's opening night for Travesties! One of the many things I love about this is how is how many women are in charge of it. Direction, costume design, set design, lighting design...it's not often I get to play in a world led and primarily designed by women. More, please!

9/30/17 - I'm trying not to get all sentimental during this rehearsal process, but it's tough. Last year at this time, Katelin Dirr was a freshman just starting school and I was her TA. Now, we're Gwendolyn/Cecily scene partners in Travesties, and she's keeping me on my toes!

8/30/17 - First week of school, first week of rehearsal! Studying voice with Sigrid Sutter this year. Excited to dive into Fitzmaurice and everything else she's bringing. Stage combat, year two: working on rapier and dagger this time. Acting this year is with Dan Sullivan, who miiiiight casually discuss his experiences directing Cynthia and Laura (that's Nixon and Linney, respectively, in this summer's Broadway production of The Little Foxes, no big deal) if we ask nicely at the end of our Dr. Faustus reading sessions. As for rehearsal, we're beginning Travesties with guest director Laura Hackman, who's come up from Atlanta and is already leading us through excellent table work sessions on this brilliant and baffling script. Here we go, fall semester!

Grad School Year 2: 2016-2017

5/1/17 - SPT passed! I'm now certified by the SAFD in single sword and unarmed combat. Shoutout to my fantastic testing partner Liz Salim! We did it!

4/9/17 - Happy closing, Iago's Plot team. I will miss this beautiful melancholic world, and I get the sense I'll be realizing new layers of what I learned from this process for quite a long time.

4/1/17 - Two-show day for Iago's Plot, and alums Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Joe Foust (Goodman's A Christmas Carol) came to see us, along with many of their former classmates! They were also Shozo's students when they went to school here, and we got to speak with them after the show and trade Shozo stories. (Turns out Kabuki eyebrow wax is no easier to take off now than it was 20 years ago.)

3/30/17 - Opening night for Iago's Plot. This show has made me move, speak and imagine in ways I never have before. Shozo is an incredible teacher. (Update 4/5: thanks again to Smile Politely for such a thoughtful review: "All of the performers were outstanding, fully committed to their performances and all the demands placed upon them. It was clear they all were physically up to the challenge of holding a character-building pose while fully embodying the role.")

3/13/17 - Dress parade for Iago's Plot tonight. My dress takes my breath away. I feel like an intergalactic fairy queen. Olga Maslova is a genius.

2/13/17 - Time to switch into Iago's Plot mode! The cast started rehearsals last week while I was still performing in Failure, so my understudy Diana Gardner has been very graciously carrying the role of Emilia as they've blocked the show. Shozo is being very patient with us all as we learn new ways of moving and speaking!

2/12/17 - Failure: A Love Story closes today. I'll miss trying to swim across Lake Michigan every night (in the most magical expanding tutu designed by Nicole Zausmer!) but have gained a role model for life in Jenny June, who knows too well that life is short and does as much as she can with the time that she has.

2/2/17 - Happy opening, Failure team! (Update 2/6: What a lovely ensemble review from Smile Politely: "It’s typical in a review like this to single out one actor or another as being especially talented or having particularly sharp comic skills. The problem with this show (if you can call it a problem) is that every member of the cast is that actor. That’s how good this ensemble is—crackling with energy and sharp as tacks.")

1/9/17 - We don't start classes again for another week but my cast is now in full-day rehearsals for Failure. Is this what it's like to be Equity?!

12/7/16 - That's a wrap on semester 3 -- halfway done with grad school! 

11/29/16 - First read-thru for Iago's Plot at the home of our director Shozo Sato, Professor Emeritus who is a master of Japanese zen arts, the founder of Japan House here on campus, and also an amazing cook. He and his lovely wife Alice made us the most delicious inari sushi while we sat in their living room and read this incredible Kabuki-meets-Shakespeare script, which was developed by MFA students at Maryland's Towson University in the mid-90s from Othello, classical Japanese poetry, and Irish drama source texts. This is the first staging of the piece in 20 years. I'm honored to be a part of it.

11/14/16 - First day of rehearsals for Failure: A Love Story, my first of two shows next semesterI'm so excited to be working with J.W. Morrissette again, and on a story by one of my very favorite Chicago playwrights, Philip Dawkins. I'll be playing Jenny June, which is extra-awesome for me since I was a competitive athlete as a kid, and I've always wanted to play a sportswoman onstage (Jenny's a swimmer).

10/23/16 - Mr. Burns closing matinee! This was a monster of a show -- three acts and tons of tech. The team was huge and each person busted their butts to make it happen. Thanks to all. 

10/13/16 - Mr. Burns opens tonight! (Updated 10/16: The News-Gazette review called our ensemble of 10 actors an "effective team" with "vibrant performances"!)

9/14/16 - UIUC MFA alum Sandra Marquez gave an incredible My Life In Art talk at the Spurlock Museum today. I've been lucky enough to know Sandra and her work for several years (though not as long as my wife - who was her student in high school!) and it was so great to hear her talk about her UIUC training and how it shaped her artistry.

9/5/16 -  I'm the TA for the freshman acting class this year. Working with our school's youngest actors who are just entering the training for the first time is so eye-opening and rewarding. Their potential and energy is outta control.

8/27/16 - Back to school and starting rehearsals for Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn at Krannert Center! So excited to be working with Director Lisa Gaye Dixon for the first time on this brilliant script. It's so smart my head spins every time I re-read it.

Failure: A Love Story at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Written by Philip Dawkins. Directed by J.W. Morrissette. Music supervision by Justin M. Brauer. Scenic design by Evan Park. Costume design by Nicole Zausmer. Lighting design by Michelle Benda. Sound design by Tyler Knowles. Properties design by Kira Lyon. Dramaturgy by Kelsey Fenske. Technical direction by Roy H. Howington. Stage manager Marissa Gainey. L to R: Mark Tyler Miller as Mortimer Mortimer, Harry Belden as Grantland Rice, and yours truly as Jenny June Fail. Photo by Darrell Hoemann.

Failure: A Love Story at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Written by Philip Dawkins. Directed by J.W. Morrissette. Music supervision by Justin M. Brauer. Scenic design by Evan Park. Costume design by Nicole Zausmer. Lighting design by Michelle Benda. Sound design by Tyler Knowles. Properties design by Kira Lyon. Dramaturgy by Kelsey Fenske. Technical direction by Roy H. Howington. Stage manager Marissa Gainey. L to R: Mark Tyler Miller as Mortimer Mortimer, Harry Belden as Grantland Rice, and yours truly as Jenny June Fail. Photo by Darrell Hoemann.

Grad School Year 1: 2015-2016

8/5/16 - I'm a married woman, y'all! My incredible wife Erica and I will be keeping our original names professionally, but legally we're gonna join the hyphenated-folks-club and become Kadish-Hernández.

5/6/16 - I blinked, and all of a sudden I'm done with my first year of grad school. This summer I'll be working with the young folks at Goodman Theatre's PlayBuild. Excited to be back in the city and make some magic in the Alice B. Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement.

3/24/16 - DateSMASH! Episode 2 - Jessica Jones and Batman in "Pillow Talk" is out today! Check it out here.

3/17/16 - The world of web series is quick -- my episode from the 25th drops next week. Stay tuned...

2/25/16 - Back in Chicago for the day shooting a new comedy web series. Dyed my hair for the first time to play a famous superheroine. Details are still being kept quiet for now, but the episode is coming soon and I'll post it here when I have it!

2/14/16 - Kingdom City closes today. What a fantastic first experience with a Krannert Center production. Thank you to everyone who made it happen!

2/5/16 - Opening night for Kingdom City went beautifully last night -- and today we were greeted by a great review from the News-Gazette here in town: "I'm still thinking about this production 12 hours later. That's how it should be." Hallelujah!

2/4/16 - Congratulations to the You're So Talented team on a fabulous season 2 premiere. The first season was honored at the Tribeca Film Festival and noted by the likes of Indiewire and Bitch Magazine, among others, and I'm so happy to be a part of the first chapter of the second season. Check out my video page for the episode!

1/21/16 - First day getting to rehearse in the performance space (Krannert Center's Studio Theatre) for Kingdom City! I swear, the first day on set for an actor is like a kid's first trip to a playground.

1/13/16 - Quick trip up to Chicago to shoot another episode of Easy Abby at Mary's Attic in Andersonville. I get to watch some hilarious standup comedians for this episode. Just another day at work!

1/11/16 - Back to Urbana for semester two. I'm here a week early to begin rehearsals for Kingdom City, a fantastic new play by Sheri Wilner. I play Miriam, a Jewish New Yorker out in the Missouri cornfields for a year; in real life, I'm a Jewish New Englander out in the Illinois cornfields for three years. Pretty close! I'm also TAing the senior BFA on-camera acting class this semester. Excited to share the knowledge I've picked up from years on indie sets.

12/12/15 - Back in Chicago for a month and back on set this weekend, this time for Easy Abbyplaying Val, a friend of Abby's who seduces her love interest Carrie in the kitchen at a party. Oooh!

12/10/15 - Grad school semester one, done. Five more to go!

12/4/15 - Henry V opens tonight and runs through December 6 with shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 in the Armory Free Theatre at UIUC.

11/2/15 - First day of rehearsal for Henry V with my MFA cohort, directed by Robert G. Anderson. Multiple actors playing Henry. Multiple fight scenes. This is gonna be fun.

10/1/15 - In addition to my own acting classes, I'm also teaching a non-major acting class for undergrads, which is a fun challenge - I love helping non-actors acquire acting skills that can serve them in their fields of work! 

8/29/15 - Back to Chicago for a day to shoot the featured role of Rosie in You're So TalentedThis badass webseries created by Sam Bailey, who also stars as Bea, has been one of my favorite Chicago projects since season one came out last year and I'm so thrilled to get to work on its second season.

8/24/15 - First day of MFA actor training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! Profs are Bob Anderson, Robin McFarquhar, Susan Schuld and Philip Johnston and they're blowing my mind already.

Rehearsing Henry V in the Armory Free Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with my beautiful MFA cohort, December 2015. L to R: Christian Wilson, Ryan Czerwonko, Maya Prentiss (you can't really see her but her arm is right behind my face), yours truly, Jordan Gleaves, Jessica Yeh, Jordan Coughtry, and Raffeal Sears (standing on the block like "come at me bruh"). Directed by Robert G. Anderson, movement by Dr. Robin McFarquhar.

Rehearsing Henry V in the Armory Free Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with my beautiful MFA cohort, December 2015. L to R: Christian Wilson, Ryan Czerwonko, Maya Prentiss (you can't really see her but her arm is right behind my face), yours truly, Jordan Gleaves, Jessica Yeh, Jordan Coughtry, and Raffeal Sears (standing on the block like "come at me bruh"). Directed by Robert G. Anderson, movement by Dr. Robin McFarquhar.