Krakowski at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards in September 2008
October 11, 1968
|Robert Godley (2009-2013)|
Jane Krakowski (; born Jane Krajkowski; October 11, 1968) is an American actress and singer. She is best known for the roles of Cousin Vicki in National Lampoon's Vacation, and Jenna Maroney in the NBC comedy series 30 Rock, for which she received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Other notable television credits include Elaine Vassal on Ally McBeal and Jacqueline White in the Netflix comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Krakowski also regularly performs on stage, winning a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway revival of Nine, as well as receiving Tony nominations for Grand Hotel and She Loves Me, and a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance as Miss Adelaide in the West End revival of Guys and Dolls.
Krakowski was born in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey. Her father, Ed, is a chemical engineer, and her mother, Barbara Krajkowski (née Benoit), is a college theater instructor and producing artistic director for the Women's Theater Company. She has an older brother. Her father's family is Polish, and while she speaks very little Polish, her father and grandparents are fluent. Her mother is of half Polish descent, with the rest of her ancestry being French Canadian and Scottish.
Krakowski grew up immersed in the local theater scene as a result of her parents' activities, saying in one interview: "Instead of hiring baby sitters, they brought me along with them." She took ballet lessons at age four, but later stopped because she had the wrong body shape, instead moving more towards Broadway dancing. She attended the Professional Children's School in New York City and Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
Her first major television role was as Theresa Rebecca "T.R." Kendall in the NBC soap opera Search for Tomorrow for the NBC Daytime programming block, which she played from 1984 until the show ended on December 26, 1986. She was nominated for two consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards for her role in 1986 and 1987.
From 1997 to 2002, Krakowski played office assistant Elaine Vassal in the Fox comedy-drama series Ally McBeal; her role earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1999.
In 2006, Krakowski was cast in the NBC comedy series 30 Rock, where she played Jenna Maroney, a cast member of the fictional late night sketch comedy show TGS with Tracy Jordan. In 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013, she received nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in 30 Rock.
Her guest appearances include a 1981 television commercial for the video game Solar Fox; a 1996 guest appearance on Early Edition as Dr. Handleman (season one, episode three: "Baby"); 2003 appearances on Everwood as psychologist Dr. Gretchen Trott, a love interest for Treat Williams' character Dr. Andrew Brown; and on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Emma Spevak, a serial killer of elderly women; and a 2013 guest appearance on The Simpsons episode "The Fabulous Faker Boy" as Zhenya.
After her film debut, National Lampoon's Vacation in 1983, Krakowski appeared in Fatal Attraction, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (where she played Betty Rubble), Marci X, Alfie, Go, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, Dance with Me, Stepping Out, Pretty Persuasion, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, and Mom at Sixteen. Krakowski was originally cast in the horror film Sleepaway Camp (1983), but dropped out just before filming began because she felt her character's death scene with a curling iron was too violent. She appeared in When Zachary Beaver Came to Town as a mother who wants to become a singer. In 2004, she starred in Alan Menken's television movie version of A Christmas Carol, featured as The Ghost of Christmas Past. In 2006, she provided the voice of the deer Giselle in the animated film, Open Season.
A trained singer, Krakowski has made numerous appearances on stage. At age 18, she originated the role of Dinah the Dining Car in the 1987 Broadway production of Starlight Express. She appeared in the 1989 Broadway musical Grand Hotel as the typist and would-be film star Flaemmchen, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. Her solo number, "I Want to Go to Hollywood", is included on the original cast recording. At the 2000 American Comedy Awards, Krakowski won rave reviews when she performed a sexually charged musical tribute and love letter to Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates.
In 1995, she played the ditzy flight attendant April in the Roundabout Theater Company's revival of Company. In 1996, she starred alongside Sarah Jessica Parker in the Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress.
In January 2002, Windham Hill Records released an album that Jim Brickman had recorded, titled Love Songs & Lullabies; this album featured Krakowski as a vocalist for the song "You", which became a hit on adult contemporary radio stations. Brickman and Krakowski also recorded an alternate Christmas version of the song. She also appeared on the album Broadway Cares: Home for the Holidays, singing the song "Santa Baby". In 2003, she starred as Carla in the Broadway revival of Nine, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Krakowski is known for her famous anti-gravity stunt during the number "A Call from the Vatican." Krakowski and the director struggled finding a company that would let her do air stunts without a harness; Krakowski came up with the idea of using the method previously portrayed in Broadway Bares. Krakowski recalled that the material took a long time to arrive, and the second time she ever did it was on the first performance.
In 2005, she starred as Miss Adelaide in Michael Grandage's West End revival of Guys and Dolls at London's Piccadilly Theatre. She starred alongside Jenna Russell, Ewan McGregor and Douglas Hodge. Krakowski received the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance and performed a cabaret show called Better When It's Banned, which featured various songs from the 1920s and '30s that were all deemed racy at the times of their original popularity.
Krakowski performed in a January 2007 workshop production and backers's audition for a Broadway musical adaption of the 1980 film, Xanadu, with music from the film's soundtrack and a book by Douglas Carter Beane.Xanadu premiered on Broadway in Summer 2007, although Krakowski's role is played by Kerry Butler.
On July 30 and 31, 2009, Krakowski performed the title character in a reading of Mrs. Sharp, whose music was composed and whose lyrics were written by Ryan Scott Oliver, and whose book was written by Kirsten A. Guenther, at Playwrights Horizons.
She performed the role of Ilona Ritter in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of Jerry Bock's and Sheldon Harnick's She Loves Me, starring Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi. The musical opened on March 17, 2016 at Studio 54. Krakowski won the 2016 Fred and Adele Astaire Award as Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show, the Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, and the Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. She was also nominated for the Tony Award, Featured Actress in a Musical.
Krakowski played Wanda in the music video for the Dixie Chicks' song "Goodbye Earl" in 2000, alongside Dennis Franz and Lauren Holly. She guest starred in an episode of Due South, and in a season 5 episode of Modern Family.
Selected recordings include:
|1981||A Little Night Music||Fredrika||York Theater off off Broadway|
|1987||Starlight Express||Dinah the Dining Car||Broadway|
|1996||Once Upon a Mattress||Lady Larken||Broadway|
|2005||Guys and Dolls||Adelaide||West End|
|2007||Xanadu||Clio / Kira||Workshop|
|2009||Mrs. Sharp||Mrs. Sharp||Reading|
|2016||She Loves Me||Ilona Ritter||Broadway|
|1983||National Lampoon's Vacation||Cousin Vicki|
|1997||Hudson River Blues||Diane|
|1998||Dance With Me||Patricia Black|
|2000||The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas||Betty O'Shale|
|2002||Ice Age||Rachel the Sloth||Voice role|
|2003||Marci X||Lauren Farb|
|2003||When Zachary Beaver Came to Town||Heather Wilson|
|2005||Pretty Persuasion||Emily Klein|
|2006||Open Season||Giselle||Voice role|
|2007||Surf's Up||Sheila Limberfin (voice)||Deleted scenes|
|2008||Kit Kittredge: An American Girl||Miss May Dooley|
|2008||Open Season 2||Giselle||Voice role|
|2009||Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant||Corma Limbs|
|2014||Adult Beginners||Miss Jenn|
|2014||Big Stone Gap||Sweet Sue Tinsley|
|2015||Pixels||First Lady Jane Cooper|
|TBA||The Willoughbys||Voice role|
|1983||No Big Deal||Margaret||Television film|
|1984-1986||Search for Tomorrow||Theresa Rebecca "T.R." Kendall||Soap opera|
|1989||Another World||Tonya||Soap opera|
|When We Were Young||Linda Rosen||Television special|
|1993||Alex Haley's Queen||Jane Jackson||2 episodes|
|The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles||Dale Winter||Episode: "Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues"|
|1994||Due South||Catherine Burns||Episode: "An Invitation to Romance"|
|1996||Early Edition||Dr. Handleman||Episode: "Baby"|
|1997-2002||Ally McBeal||Elaine Vassal||110 episodes|
|2000||CatDog||CatDog's Mother / Pussy Cat Catfield||Voice roles; 2 episodes|
|2002||Just a Walk in the Park||Rachel Morgan||Television film|
|2002-2003||Everwood||Dr. Gretchen Trott||Episodes: "The Doctor Is In" and "My Funny Valentine"|
|2002, 2004||Rocket Power||Breezy (voice)||Episodes: "There's Something About Breezy" and "Summer Breezy"|
|2004||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Emma Spevak||Episode: "Bound"|
|Hack||Mrs. Smith||Episode: "One for My Baby"|
|A Christmas Carol||Ghost of Christmas Past / Lamplighter||Television film|
|2005||Mom at Sixteen||Donna Cooper||Television film|
|2006||Sex, Love, Power, and Politics||Sloan||Pilot|
|2006-2013||30 Rock||Jenna Maroney||128 episodes|
|2008||A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa||Claire's Mom||Television film|
|2013||The Simpsons||Zhenya (voice)||Episode: "The Fabulous Faker Boy"|
|2014, 2017||Modern Family||Dr. Donna Duncan||2 episodes|
|2014||American Dad!||Charlotte (voice)||Episode: "Roger Passes the Bar"|
|2015-2019||Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt||Jacqueline White||51 episodes|
|2015||Younger||Annabelle Bancroft||Episode: "Shedonism"|
|2016||Dead Boss||Helen Stephens||Pilot|
|Robot Chicken||Headless Headmistress Bloodgood, Cruella de Vil, Old Lady (voice)||Episode: "Yogurt in a Bag"|
|2017||Difficult People||Lizzie McCormick||Episode: "Cindarestylox"|
|BoJack Horseman||Honey Sugarman (voice)||Episode: "The Old Sugarman Place"|
|Tangled: The Series||Willow (voice)||Episode: "The Way of the Willow"|
|A Christmas Story Live!||Miss Shields||Television special|
|2018||Drunk History||Sheralee||Episode: "Sex"|
|2019||Last Week Tonight with John Oliver||Spokesperson||Episode: June 2, 2019|
|Dickinson||Emily Norcross Dickinson||Main cast|
|2020||AJ and the Queen||Beth Barnes Beagle||Episode: "Fort Worth"|