Joanna Merlin is an actor, teacher and former casting director for Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Bernardo Bertolucci, and James Ivory, and is the recipient of two Casting Society of American Artios Awards for Into the Woods and The Last Emperor. 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, and On the Twentieth Century.
As an actor, her Broadway credits include Becket opposite Laurence Olivier, and Fiddler on the Roof, in which she created the role of Tzeitel, the eldest daughter. Films include Sarah's Key, The Wackness, Invasion, City of Angels, Class Action, Mystic Pizza, Fame, The Killing Fields, and The Ten Commandments. TV credits include Homeland, The Good Wife, and a recurring part in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit as Judge Lena Petrovsky.
She produced, co-wrote and performed in an award winning one-woman short film, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn.
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. Ms. Merlin is the Founder and President of the Michael Chekhov Association and is the last living student of Michael Chekhov who is still teaching.