E. Katherine Kerr is an actress, writer, teacher, director, seminar leader and coach. She is known for portraying multiple roles on the stage as well. She won an Obie Award, a Villager citation and a Drama Desk Nomination for her portrayals of three characters in Cloud Nine. A second Drama Desk Nomination followed for her portrayals of the women in Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild. She came to New York with the intention of studying acting at the Neighborhood Play and then returning to her home town, Indianapolis, Indiana to teach high school drama. In the summer of the two year course she won a scholarship to the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy and appeared there in the chorus of the highly successful production of Trojan Woman.
Back in New York, and nearly broke, she accepted an invitation to be in the chorus again when the play was produced at the Circle in the Square. It ran two years, during which she graduated from the only non-Equity member to chorus leader, to the role of Cassandra, and eventually she restaged the entire production at the Festival of Ravinia. It was a hard core program in “staying the course..”: She never got back to Indiana., From there she spent some years traveling to repertory theaters to play some of the great roles:
Rosalind in As You Like It (Twice). Kay, in the fun musical “Oh, Kay!”: which included the thrill of singing “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Sabina in Skin of Our Teeth, and In two glorious seasons under the direction of the inimitable June Havoc, she played the lead in Luv, with one of the funniest men on earth, Richard Mulligan (of Soap fame) who made her laugh so hard on stage once, she peed her pants. Most memorable, perhaps, was playing Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire right on the home turf of the play in New Orleans Louisiana. June Havoc, whose beloved sister, Gypsy, died of lung cancer, browbeat Katherine into giving up cigarettes and sent her back to New York City with the assignment to create a career in theater. It was a struggle, but Katherine, with the grace of The Big Whatever and luck, managed to do it. She appeared in leading roles on Broadway beginning with the award-winning play, No Place to Be Somebody playing Dee Jacobson. Following that, she appeared in the murder mystery, Night Watch as the very suspicious nurse, Blanche Cooke, and in Passion by Peter Nichols, in which she played Nell opposite Frank Langella. She has appeared in many films: Songcatcher, in which she plays Harriet Tolliver, was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. Reuben, Reuben, The Imposters, Power, Devil’s Advocate, Children of a Lesser God, Next Stop Wonderland, The Siege, The Imposters, The Devil’s Advocate,as Congresswoman Grace Comisky with Dennis Quaid in Suspect and as Gilda Schultz in Silkwood with Meryl Streep. . Off Broadway, besides Laughiing Wild, and Cloud Nine, she appeared in the Playwright’s Horizons first production, Boo Hoo, with Holland Taylor, and in The Credeaux Canvas as Tess. She also wrote a one-woman show called On the Zip Line which she performed at the Harold Clurman theater in NYC and in Canada at Queen’s University. On television she appeared several times on Law and Order, in recurring roles on Another World, One Life to Live and All My Children. She was featured as Miss Parmore in the BBC’s series, The Buccaneers. She has also performed multiple roles in Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of Urban Blight, and more terrifyingly the 14 characters in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe at the Hanger Theater in New York State. Probably with an edge of desperation Kerr turned to writing plays. Her first play, Juno’s Swans, moved along a rocky road. She and her best friend, Anna Shaler managed to survive a production in Long Island. The audience loved the play, but inexplicably that made the producer angry. The play eventually made it to New York City’s Second Stage under the tutelage of Marsha Mason and starring Betty Buckley and Mary Kay Place. That production was no piece of cake either, but it was sold out and held over and subsequently Kerr was commissioned by ABC to write a pilot that never got done. Her next play, Intelligent Dezyne, a comedy about God has not found its home…..yet. Kerr taught acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Playwright’s Horizons Theatre School, the 42nd Street Collective, Sarah Lawrence College and privately for many years.