Jewish Journal


by Melanie Chartoff

March 4, 2010 | 9:23 am

Melanie Chartoff is an inventor—of stories and characters for the page, stage and screen—and the environment, having patented a graywater recycling device for home use (graywayrotatingdrain.com). 

As an actress, she’s most recently been seen in the premiere of “No Ordinary Family;” last season’s finale of “Desperate Housewives;” in her two character play with music FINE LINES at Santa Monica Playhouse, and in “Sunset Park” at the Zephyr Theater in Hollywood.  In theater she won a Dramalogue Award for “March of the Falsettoes” at the Huntington Hartford; acclaim for her performances as Dot in ACT’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” in San Francisco; for her roles in the West Coast Premiere of “Big River” at La Jolla Playhouse; also in “The Vagina Monologues” at the Apollo in Chicago; and as Prudence in “Beyond Therapy” at L.A.’s Coronet Theater.

Perhaps best known for the diverse roles she’s created on series such as ABC’s late night comedy, “Friday’s,”  “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose,” “The Newhart Show,”  “Ally McBeal,” and ‘Touched by an Angel,” she hails from the East Coast stages of Long Wharf Theater, Yale University, plus off-off,  and off Broadway in “The Proposition, “ an improvised musical revue.  On Broadway she played opposite Jim Dale in the Young Vic’s ‘Scapino” at Circle in the Square, and opposite the late Raoul Julia in “Via Galactica,”  Galt MacDermott’s sci fi rock opera, directed by Peter Hall.

She teaches Improvisational Presence Workshops in Los Angles and Silicon Valley, (see chartoffteaching.com), coaches non pros for public presentations, and is a humor columnist for the Huffington Post, the Jewish Journal, One for the Table, and Jewlarious online. She is a member of the writers’ organizations IWOSC, PEN, PALA, and learned lyricism at New York’s BMI Musical Theater Workshop under the tutelage of Lehman Engel. She studied acting with Stella Adler in New York and with Harry Mastrogeorge in Los Angeles.

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