Jerry Zaks
Jerryy Zaks.jpg
Born (1946-09-07) September 7, 1946 (age 76)
OccupationTheatre, film director
SpouseJill Rose (2 children)

Jerry Zaks (born September 7, 1946) is an American stage and television director, and actor. He won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play and Drama Desk Award for directing The House of Blue Leaves, Lend Me a Tenor, and Six Degrees of Separation and the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical and Drama Desk Award for Guys and Dolls.

Early life

Zaks was born in Stuttgart, Germany, the son of Holocaust survivors, Lily (Gliksman) and Sy Zaks, a butcher.[1] His family immigrated to the United States in 1948, finally settling in Paterson, New Jersey, where he graduated from Eastside High School in 1963.[2][3] He graduated from Dartmouth College and received a Master of Fine Arts from Smith College.[4]



He made his Broadway acting debut in the original production of Grease as "Kenickie" and appeared in Tintypes in 1980. He made his directing debut in 1981 with the off-Broadway production of Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy, which co-starred Sigourney Weaver.[5] He has directed many Broadway productions, both musicals and dramas.

He has also directed many Off-Broadway productions, several at Playwrights Horizons and the Public Theater. He directed the City Center Encores! productions of Girl Crazy (November 2009),[6] Stairway to Paradise (May 2007), and [7]Bye Bye Birdie (May 2004).[8]

He was the director of the new musical 101 Dalmatians Musical, which toured the United States from October 2009 through April 2010.[9] Zaks was named "creative consultant" for the new musical The Addams Family, which opened on Broadway in April 2010.[10]

He directed the Broadway production of Sister Act, which opened in Spring 2011.[11]

Lincoln Center

Zaks served as Resident Director at Lincoln Center from 1986 to 1990 and is a founding member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre.[12]

Television and film

As an actor, Zaks' screen credits include Outrageous Fortune, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Husbands and Wives. On television he has appeared in M*A*S*H and The Edge of Night and directed episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Hope and Faith, and Two and a Half Men, among others. He also directed the feature films Marvin's Room and Who Do You Love?[13] Marvin's Room won the Golden St. George at the 20th Moscow International Film Festival.[14]


Zaks received the George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater in 1994 and an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Dartmouth College in 1999. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2013.[15]

Personal life

Zaks married Jill Rose, an actress, on January 14, 1979; they have two children, Emma and Hannah Zaks.[1]

Broadway stage productions

Awards and nominations



  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Beckerman, Jim. "Tony-award winning director Jerry Zaks goes home to Paterson", The Record, March 27, 2016. Accessed October 18, 2021. "As if he was – at heart — just another student at Paterson's Eastside High School, which he graduated from 53 years ago.... Though Zaks, a New York resident since the late 1960s, hadn't been back to Eastside since 1963, when he graduated, Eastside came back to him – through his work."
  3. ^ Shapiro, Danielle. "Celebrating 80 years of Eastside High", The Record, December 1, 2006. Accessed October 18, 2021, via "Jerry Joseph Zaks Class of 1963, Broadway theater director, who directed more than 30 productions on the Great White Way including, The Front Page, Anything Goes and Smokey Joe's Cafe."
  4. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn. "Stage Struck" Archived 2007-02-03 at the Wayback Machine, March/April 1998
  5. ^ Gussow, Mel (January 6, 1981). "Stage:'Beyond Therapy by Durang at Phoenix". The New York Times. p. C11. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Hernandez, Ernio and Hetrick, Adam."They've Got Rhythm: Gasteyer, Knight, Kudisch Lead Gershwin's Girl Crazy for Encores! Nov. 19-22" Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, Nov 19, 2009
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew."Casting Complete for Encores! Stairway to Paradise" Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, April 19, 2007
  8. ^ Brantley, Ben."Review The New York Times, May 8, 2004
  9. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth. "101 Dalmatians: The Musical Tour to Launch in Minneapolis; Will Play NYC" Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, July 9, 2009
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Zaks Is New Patriarch of Addams Family; Previews Will Now Begin March 8" Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, December 29, 2009
  11. ^ SISTER ACT Confirms Broadway for Spring 2011; Zaks to Direct.
  12. ^ Biography Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine, accessed January 30, 2010
  13. ^ Holden, Stephen (April 8, 2010). "Fictional History: What It Was Like to Start Rock 'n' Roll, Sort Of". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "20th Moscow International Film Festival (1997)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  15. ^ "Cherry Jones, Ellen Burstyn, Cameron Mackintosh and More Inducted Into Broadway's Theater Hall of Fame". Retrieved March 23, 2014.