Actor, director, producer, teacher, playwright
Jenny Aldrich is an actor, director, producer, teacher and playwright with theatre credits spanning over 60 years, nine states and five countries. A native of Ohio, she first appeared as the actress in The Man Who Came to Dinner in high school and has been addicted to theatre ever since. Jenny earned a BA in Speech and Theatre at West Chester University, Pennsylvania, and studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and UCF, here in Florida. She is a current resident of Sarasota, Florida. She was Associate Artistic Director of the Entirely Theatre Company in Pennsylvania, and the Founder and Artistic Director of Children’s Theatres in Florida and New Jersey.
Since moving to Sarasota, Florida in 1985, Jenny was very active at the Golden Apple Theaters, appearing in over forty productions. She especially enjoys working with her favorite actor and husband Don Walker. Their favorite times onstage together were while appearing in Painting Churches, California Suite, Same Time Next Year, Oklahoma (Don is a native), and in Natalie Needs a Nightie, the classic farce, with Jenny as the inebriated, clothes-snatching maid.
She's proud to have played all three women in Twelfth Night. Her favorite roles are Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Margo in Applause. She was Aunt Eller in Oklahoma, Mrs. Hannigan in Annie and Kate in Brighton Beach and Broadway Bound at the Sarasota Golden Apple. Sarasota Magazine nominated her Best Supporting Actress as the mother in Barefoot in the Park and Best Actress for her portrayal of Eleanor in Lion in Winter. Other Florida roles include Betty in The Foreigner, Doris in Same Time Next Year and Veronica in Veronica’s Room. She toured in both Far East tours of The Sound of Music. More recently, Jenny appeared with the Banyan Theater, Florida Studio Theatre, FreeFall Theatre, Starlite Players, Theatre Odyssey and appeared at SaraSolo and the Orlando and Tampa Fringe Festivals.
Dedicated to children's theatre, Jenny has taught theatre classes, workshops and written, directed and produced a variety of children’s plays. For the Sarasota County School Board, she conducted an eight-week workshop in Theatre Games and toured as the Orangeblossom Fairy for two years. She regularly appeared in The Golden Apple Children's Theatre and toured schools and libraries with the Open Circle Players on the gulf coast of Florida for three years. Now she’s a “book charmer” for Selby Library.
While searching for a play to produce about women, she was also researching Mary Cassatt for the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Art Goes to School” program. Reading Cassatt’s letters, Jenny realized Cassatt was a perfect subject for a dramatic program. She first staged A Visit with Mary Cassatt at the Gardner Cassatt mansion in Paoli, Pennsylvania in 1979. It was so successful she toured it for over a year with an adapted version for children: A Chat with Mary Cassatt. She re-staged the program in 1989 for The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota with such success that they commissioned her to create Georgia O’Keeffe: A Dramatic Portrait. In 1993, The Fine Arts Society gave her a grant to develop Lilla Cabot Perry: Impressions of Monet and the American Artists at Giverny. While researching to update and revise her programs, Jenny gained more knowledge about other women artists who were prominent and successful during Cassatt’s lifetime, and developed the program A Circle of Artists. Venturing into the literary field, she created Anne Morrow Lindbergh: An Extraordinary Life and Lillian Hellman: An Unfinished Woman. She’s currently working on a program about Marie Selby, whose world-renowned garden is in Sarasota. She’s considering Peggy Guggenheim or Grandma Moses for the future.
Jenny Aldrich blends her theatrical experience, her extensive research, her love of art and her dedication to promoting women in these unique programs. She presents them for museums, libraries, schools and art and social organizations throughout the country. They are her personal celebration of women, art and life.
Jenny with husband and favorite costar Don Walker in the Banyan Theater Company production of "Painting Churches."