Spencer Kayden

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Spencer Kayden
Born1971 (age 47–48)
Years active1996–present
Spouse(s)Mark Harelik (2004–present)

Spencer Kayden (born 1971) is an American actress and writer. Kayden is most notable for playing Little Sally in the Broadway musical Urinetown and for her membership in the recurring cast of comedians on sketch comedy series MADtv.


Spencer Kayden was born in 1971 in Costa Mesa, California, the only girl out of four siblings, to a father who worked as a pop-up book publisher and a mother who worked as a psychotherapist. Kayden grew up in Orange County, California and went on to study drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.[1] She joined the Chicago cast of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind [2][3] and moved to New York in 1993 to start the New York run of the show.

Kayden received critical acclaim and notice for her performance in the musical Urinetown, where she played Little Sally, the pig-tailed girl who helps explain the plot. She played in the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival production, and then was in the original Off-Broadway and Broadway casts in 2001 and returned in 2003.[4] The CurtainUp reviewer noted in reviewing the Off-Broadway production: "But while Spencer Kayden does everything right in her portrayal of the droll little girl who alternates begging for 'penny for a pee' with Shirley Temple/Charlie McCarthy exchanges with the deceptively kindly neighborhood cop, her Sally is wrong. This 'bad' idea is outrageously good for lots of laughs. The central joke works."[5]

It is from her theater performances that she was discovered by Fox executives and cast as a featured performer on MADtv.

Kayden also played the role of Mrs. Pepper in the popular Nickelodeon kids series Blue's Clues.

Kayden starred in the farce Don't Dress for Dinner at the Royal George Theatre, Chicago, Illinois, from November 2008 to January 2009.[6] She reprised her role as the cook in the Broadway production, which opened in March 2012 at the American Airlines Theatre.[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2001 Drama Desk Award Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Urinetown Nominated
Clarence Derwent Awards Most Promising Female Performer Won
2002 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Won
Theatre World Award Won
2012 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play Don't Dress for Dinner Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Won



  • Kayden was the only cast member who continued in Urinetown from its debut at the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival. She auditioned for and was accepted into the new cast when the show moved to a limited off-Broadway run and when it opened on Broadway.


Personal life[edit]

Kayden is the sister of film director Michael Almereyda.[1] She has been married to actor Mark Harelik since 2004, and they have one child together. She has listed Irene Dunne, Peter Sellers and Frances McDormand as some her acting idols.[8]


  1. ^ a b McKinley, Jesse. "Theater; 'Urinetown' Uptown? Her Moment Has Come" The New York Times, September 2, 2001
  2. ^ "Ensemble and Alumni" neofuturists.org, accessed April 1, 2012
  3. ^ Bommer, Lawrence. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" chicagoreader.com, August 16, 1990
  4. ^ Simonson, Robert and Jones, Kenneth. "Little Sally Comes Home: Spencer Kayden Returns to Urinetown, March 25" playbill.com, March 25, 2003
  5. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review; 'Urinetown The Musical' " CurtainUp.com, May 4, 2001
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. " 'Don't Dress' Gets Chicago Premiere With Harelik, Kayden and "Burn Notice" Star Donovan" playbill.com, September 18, 2008
  7. ^ Jones, Kenneth. " 'Don't Dress for Dinner', With Ben Daniels, Jennifer Tilly, Spencer Kayden, Makes Broadway Premiere" playbill.com, March 30, 2012
  8. ^ Blank, Matthew (2012-05-22). "PLAYBILL.COM'S CUE & A: Don't Dress for Dinner Tony Nominee Spencer Kayden". playbill.com. Retrieved 2013-11-27.

External links[edit]