Photo courtesy of American Repertory Theater
This twenty-something actress has been making people sit up and take notice since her school days at Yale. There, she played Yelena Andreyevna in Chekov's Uncle Vanya, causing Yale Herald reporter Barry Levey to say "What luck, then, to have Elisabeth Waterston, DC '99, at the center of the play. More than an artist, Waterston is a magician, effortlessly bringing out the best in her fellow actors. No one is quite as good as when they are sharing the stage with her; she is enchanting."
After graduation, Elisabeth became part of the company at the prestigious Williamstown Theater Festival for the 2000 summer season. As a part of the company, she played Tina in Tough! and Lena in Tonight at 8:30. In this same year, she appeared on television in the premier episode of Deadline and made quite an impression on loyal Law and Order fans playing Penny in the episode entitled High and Low. Her other television credits include guest appearances on The Practice, The District, and The Education of Max Bickford.
In 2001, she made quite an impression playing Bunty Mainwaring in an off-Broadway production of The Vortex. Her other theater credits include parts in The Nest, Spring Awakening, and Talk to Me Like the Rain.
In September, 2003, she joined the acting company at the American Repertory Theater to play Anna in Kama Ginkas's adaptation of Chekov's Lady With a Lapdog. Here is a portion of what our reviewer, Feste, had to say after seeing the play:
Until now, Elisabeth Waterston, like most good actors, has served an apprenticeship. She has been yet another young woman in the theater, taking classes, waiting out cattle calls when not waiting tables, auditioning for parts, performing whatever and whenever cast. After Lady With a Lapdog, she will probably continue to do much of the same. Only now she will do so as a woman of the theater. Few who act ever achieve that stature. To do so at the age of twenty-six is extraordinary, especially when the true beginning of American adulthood has just been ratcheted up to twenty-five. Though Ms. Waterston may have been born under a lucky star, she has earned her way to a recognition that will now lay a claim on her soul, no matter what she subsequently chooses to do. For having satisfied the rigorous rehearsal expectations of Russian director Kama Ginkas, Ms. Waterston must surely have discovered something about herself that no teacher or parent or friend can tell a person. Elisabeth Waterston must now know she has talent. Beyond desire, training, tenacity, and a good family name, Elisabeth Waterston has merit.
During the summer of 2003, she worked on her first feature film, Me and the Prince, a romantic comedy released in March 2004.
Her latest triumph is playing Hero in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in Central Park during the summer of 2004. Her real-life father, Sam, plays Leonato, Hero's father. Here's what our reviewer had to say about her performance:
Esbjornsons reading of a strong Hero has less textual support than does his vision of Leonato. He ultimately resorts to gimmickry to bolster the role. But casting Sams true-life daughter as Hero is not one of the gimmicks. That fortuitous circumstance (however brokered) did make for some fine inside jokes (Elisabeth takes a bath on stage, as did Sam) but Elisabeth Waterston, asked yet again to make sense of a bifurcated character, plays her role with panache.
What lies ahead for this rising star? We don't know, but we wish her all the best and will continue to post her achievements.