Ushkowitz at the San Diego Comic-Con International, July 2011
April 28, 1986 |
Seoul, South Korea
|Alma mater||Marymount Manhattan College|
|Occupation||Actress, singer, dancer|
Jenna Noelle Ushkowitz (born April 28, 1986) is a South Korean-born American stage and television actress, singer and writer, who is perhaps best known for her performances in Broadway musicals and for her role as Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee.
Early life 
Ushkowitz was born in Seoul, South Korea; she was adopted at the age of three months and raised in East Meadow, New York. Ushkowitz was raised Catholic (her surname originates from her adoptive paternal grandfather, who was Jewish). She attended Parkway Elementary School and Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, a Catholic school in Hicksville, Long Island known for its strong theater department. During high school, Ushkowitz appeared in several musicals, including the first-ever high school production of Les Misérables. Her other roles included Penny in Honk!, Inez in The Baker's Wife, Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods, and Romaine Patterson in The Laramie Project. She graduated from high school in 2004 and moved on to attend Marymount Manhattan College, where she once again took the role of Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan in 2007 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts, with a concentration in Performance and a minor in Musical Theater.
Ushkowitz has had a career in show business since the age of three. As a child, she appeared on Sesame Street and other children's television shows. Her first role in a Broadway musical was in the 1996 revival of The King and I. Ushkowitz sang the American National Anthem at a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden when she was thirteen. She understudied the roles of Anna, Martha, Thea and Ilse in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening beginning in 2008.
In 2009, she landed the role of Tina Cohen-Chang on Fox's musical high school show Glee. In casting Glee, series creator Ryan Murphy sought out actors who could identify with the rush of starring in theatrical roles. Instead of using traditional network casting calls, he spent three months on Broadway, where he found Ushkowitz. The Glee casting associate in New York had previously cast Ushkowitz in Spring Awakening. Ushkowitz was initially given little information about Tina's back story, and believed that her stutter was real. She was pleased when the truth was revealed, however, explaining: "It would have been fun to keep it because that just gives her one more quirk, but this opens up a whole new set of doors for Tina." Her solos have included the songs "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper, "ABC" by the Jackson 5, "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion, "Gangnam Style" by PSY, and "Hung Up" by Madonna.
Raymund Flandez of The Wall Street Journal hailed the "True Colors" cover as showcasing Ushkowitz's "strong crystalline voice". Gerrick D. Kennedy, writing for the Los Angeles Times, wrote that the "poignant" rendition was one of his "feel-good, tearjerker moments". The version charted at number 47 on the Australian Singles Chart, 38 on the Canadian Hot 100, 15 on the Irish Singles Chart, 35 on the UK Singles Chart, and 66 on the United States' Billboard Hot 100. The series' version of "ABC" was singled out for demonstrating "what a lovely singer Tina is" by Billboard's Rae Votta, and BuddyTV editor John Kubicek said he enjoyed it "mostly because Tina deserves more singing time". It entered the Hot 100 at number 88, and the Canadian Hot 100 at 93. Rolling Stone journalist Erica Futterman wrote of "Because You Loved Me": "The richness of her voice removes some of the Lite FM softness embedded in the tune, and it really is great to see Tina get a song that suits her vocal abilities". Ushkowitz has performed live concert shows in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland with her castmates from Glee.
In 2011, Ushkowitz appeared briefly in Lady Gaga's music video for "Marry the Night" playing Gaga's friend, Bo. It was announced in July 2012 that Ushkowitz would be writing her first book, to be titled Choosing Glee. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ushkowitz's book will be an autobiography of sorts, documenting her childhood on Long Island, where she was raised after being adopted as a baby, her Broadway debut in "The King and I" in 1996, her stint in "Spring Awakening" with Glee costar Lea Michele, and her time on Glee. It will also focus on her "motivational approach toward life," and is slated for release on May 14, 2013.
|1988||As the World Turns||Herself|
|1989||Nick Jr. (block)||Herself|
|2007||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Violin Player|
|2008||Yankees on Deck||Herself|
|2011||The Glee Project||Herself|
|2011||Glee: The 3D Concert Movie||Tina Cohen-Chang|
- KoreAm (2009-08-01). Jenna Ushkowitz Takes Center Stage: "Tell me about your last name, Ushkowitz. – It’s Polish. I was actually adopted from Korea when I was 3 months old. My father is Polish-Italian and my mother is Irish-English." iamkoream.com
- Hazel Lodevico (2009-08-20). High School Musical Broadway veteran Jenna Ushkowitz gets full of Glee. ichoson.com
- The Philadelphia Inquirer Digital Edition. Philly.com. Retrieved 2012-09-25.[dead link]
- Jenna Ushkowitz. TonyLovers.com (2008-08-26)
- Jenna Ushkowitz. Internet Broadway Database. Ibdb.com. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
- Jann, Janice."Fall ’11 Feature – I Dream of Jenna", Audrey Magazine, 2011-12-06. Accessed 2012-07-23
- FOX Broadcasting Company – Glee TV Show – Glee TV Series – Glee Episode Guide. Fox.com. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
- Martin, Denise (April 26, 2009). "Video: 'Glee' team rewrites the school musical". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
- Shen, Maxine (November 23, 2009). "'Gleek' goddess". New York Post. News Corporation. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- Weiselman, Jarrett (November 18, 2009). "Jenna Ushkowitz: I'm rooting for Tina to join Cheerios!". New York Post. News Corporation. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Flandez, Raymund (November 26, 2009). ""Glee" Season 1, Episode 11 "Hairography": TV Recap". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- Kennedy, Gerrick D. (November 26, 2009). "'Glee': A hairlicious distraction before Thanksgiving". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
- "Glee Cast and Jenna Ushkowitz - True Colors". aCharts.us. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- Votta, Rae (December 7, 2011). "'Glee' Recap: Chord Overstreet Returns in Jam-Packed Episode". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Kubicek, John (December 6, 2011). "'Glee' Recap: Sectionals Solves Everything". BuddyTV. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Grein, Paul (December 14, 2011). "Week Ending Dec. 11, 2011. Songs: Mariah’s Christmas Gift". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- "Nielsen Music: Canadian Update (December 16, 2011)". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved December 15, 2011.
- Futterman, Erica (May 16, 2012). "'Glee' Recap: What a Feeling". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- Jenna Ushkowitz, Lady Gaga: 'Marry the Night' Video Cameo Brought on by Chance Double Date blog.music.aol.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17
- 'Glee's' Jenna Ushkowitz to Write Book (Exclusive) The Hollywood Reporter (2012/7/2)
- Jenna Ushkowitz to Pen CHOOSING GLEE Broadway World (2012/7/2)
- 'Glee' star Jenna Ushkowitz is writing a book - 'Choosing Glee' Zap2It (2012/7/2)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jenna Ushkowitz|
- Jenna Ushkowitz at the Internet Movie Database
- Official Site of the Broadway production of Spring Awakening.