Joanna Merlin 


Joanna Merlin, a student of Michael Chekhov, is an actor, teacher, and former casting director. Ms. Merlin is the Founder and President of MICHA and is the last living student of Michael Chekhov who is still teaching. She is a faculty member at NYU’s Graduate Acting program at the Tisch School of the Arts.  Ms. Merlin is the recipient of two Casting Society of America Artios Awards for casting Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and Sondheim’s Into the Woods. As Harold Prince’s Casting Director, she cast the original Broadway productions of Sondheim’s Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, and Merrily We Roll Along, as well as Evita, Candide, A Doll’s Life, Play Memory, End of the World, and On the Twentieth Century. Films she has cast include Merchant/Ivory’s Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, as well as the American casting for their Jefferson in Paris and Surviving Picasso, Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon, and John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. As an actor, Ms. Merlin’s Broadway credits include Becket opposite Laurence Olivier and Fiddler on the Roof, in which she created the role of Tzeitel, the eldest daughter. Her films include Sarah’s Key, The Wackness, Invasion, City of Angels, Class Action, Mystic Pizza, Fame, The Killing Fields, and The Ten Commandments. She has a recurring part in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Judge Lena Petrovsky, and appeared on The Good Wife and Homeland.  She is a co-founder of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts and was a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee. She is the author of Auditioning: An Actor-Friendly Guide.