Lily Rabe is an American actress. She is well known for playing Portia in the Shakespeare in the Park production of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and in her roles in each season of the FX anthology series "American Horror Story."
Rabe studied dance for ten years and was teaching ballet at a summer arts program in Connecticut, when she was approached by the program's acting instructor, which led her to studying acting at Northwestern University.
In 2001, Rabe made her screen debut opposite her mother Jill Clayburgh in the film "Never Again." In 2002 Rabe made her professional stage debut, again opposite her mother, at the Gloucester Stage Company in Massachusetts in two one-act plays: Speaking Well of the Dead by Israel Horovitz and The Crazy Girl by Frank Pugliese. As a result of appearing in the plays, Rabe was able to get an Equity Card.In July 2003 Rabe returned to the Gloucester Stage Company to appear in a production of Proof by David Auburn. The same year she appeared in the film "Mona Lisa Smile." Rabe graduated from Northwestern in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Theatre.
After graduating, Rabe moved back to New York. On September 29 through to October 2, 2004 she appeared in White Jesus by Deirdre O’Connor, one of a series of one-act plays presented as The Democracy Project and organized by the Naked Angels theater company. On 21 January 2005 she took part in a workshop production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the Roundabout Theatre Company which was directed by Joe Mantello. She made her Broadway debut as Annelle in the 2005 revival of Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling, directed by Jason Moore. For her performance Rabe was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Rabe had been cast in the play Sisters of the Garden but had to drop out after being cast in Steel Magnolias. In September through to October she appeared in the American premiere of Colder Than Here by the English playwright Laura Wade at the MCC Theater. Jeremy McCarter in New York Magazine listed Rabe's performance as one of the best breakthroughs of 2005. In September to December 2006 Rabe played Ellie Dunn in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw.
In 2007 she appeared in the film No Reservations. In August 2007 she appeared in Crimes of the Heart at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in a production which marked the directorial debut of actress Kathleen Turner. In 2008 the production transferred Off-Broadway, presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company and staged at the Laura Pels Theatre, running from February 14 to April 13. During a rehearsal, a piece of the set fell on Rabe, leaving her with a fractured rib. Due to the injury, Rabe missed a week of preview performances and the opening night was moved a week back from February 7 to February 14. In August Rabe was cast in the HBO pilot Last of the Ninth, a drama set in the 1970's. Rabe played a plainclothes cop in the pilot, which was written by David Milch and directed by Carl Franklin. In December it was reported that HBO had decided not to pick the pilot to series. The same year she appeared in the films What Just Happened and The Toe Tactic, as well as two episodes of Medium. From January to March 2009 Rabe appeared in the Broadway premiere of Richard Greenberg's 1990 play The American Plan at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
2010–12 In 2010 Rabe made her first appearance at Shakespeare in the Park in a production of The Merchant of Venice, directed by Daniel J. Sullivan, that ran from June 30 to August 1. Rabe was cast as Portia, which she described as "one of the great female roles." She starred opposite Al Pacino as Shylock in a performance described as a "smashing break-out". The production transferred to Broadway at the Broadhurst Theater where it ran from October 19 to February 20, 2011. For her performance, Rabe was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in Play. In March Rabe was cast in the FOX drama pilot Exit Strategy in a role that would be recurring if the pilot was picked up. In July it was confirmed that FOX had passed on the pilot. Rabe appeared again at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in a production of A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen where she played the role of Nora. She played Nora Montgomery on the first season of the FX show American Horror Story, Murder House, followed by Sister Mary Eunice McKee on the second season, Asylum, and most recently, Misty Day on the third season, Coven. Rabe also appeared in the 2010 film All Good Things.
Rabe appeared at the Golden Theatre in the new Broadway play Seminar by Theresa Rebeck. It was directed by Sam Gold, and the cast included Alan Rickman, Jerry O'Connell, Hamish Linklater and Hettienne Park. It opened on November 20, 2011, and closed May 6, 2012. In May it was announced at the Cannes Film Festival that Rabe would play actress Mary Pickford in The First, a film based on the book Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood by Eileen Whitfield. She finished work in the Public Theater's production of As You Like It, part of the 50th Season of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theatre. She played the role of Rosalind in the production that opened on June 11, 2012 and closed on June 30, 2012. In October 2012, it was announced that Rabe would appear in We're Just Married, a film written by her father and directed by Rodrigo Garcia. Rabe will also be a producer of the film.
2013–present In May 2013, Rabe made her Los Angeles stage debut in a production of Miss Julie by August Strindberg that was adapted and directed by Neil LaBute. In September 2013, Rabe was announced to have been cast as Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, the final two installments of The Hunger Games film series based on the novels by Suzanne Collins. She was later replaced in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 due to a scheduling conflict. In October 2013, it was announced that Rabe had been cast in Pawn Sacrifice, a film biopic about chess player Bobby Fischer. Rabe plays his sister Joan Targ. On February 14 it was announced that Rabe would appear in Much Ado About Nothing as part of the 2014 Shakespeare in the Park season. The production will begin on June 3 running to July 6. On February 24, it was announced that Rabe will appear with Thomas Jane and Jessica Alba in horror film The Veil. The same day, it was also announced that Rabe was to star in The Whispers, a drama pilot for ABC.
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