Familiar to Broadway aficionados as the Swedish bombshell Ulla in The Producers, Cady Huffman has had a busy career in musical theater as well as on film and television, where she had a recurring role as herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Born in Santa Barbara, California, Huffman graduated from San Marcos High School and was drawn to the theater early on, performing in local productions as a child and studying ballet. She had made her way to the East Coast by 1985, when she stepped in to play Angelique in the Broadway hit musical La Cage aux Folles. The following year she was a dancer in the original ensemble for Bob Fosse’s Big Deal, a Tony®-winning song-and-dance musical based on the movie Big Deal on Madonna Street.
By 1991 she was cast as Ziegfeld’s Favorite in The Will Rogers Follies, which won several Tonys®, including Best Musical and Best Musical Score. But her breakthrough role was in the mega-hit Mel Brooks musical The Producers (2001), in which she played the sexy Swede Ulla – a role more developed in the show than in the movie that inspired the musical. In addition to her big number, “When You Got It, Flaunt It,” Huffman sings in several ensemble pieces, including a duet with Matthew Broderick, “That Face,” all included on the original Broadway cast recording. The irreverent musical – about a musical romanticizing Hitler – played for a staggering 2,502 performances and won twelve Tonys®, including Best Musical and Best Original Score, with Huffman receiving one for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
In 2004 Huffman and her performance as Ulla eventually became a plot element in Larry David’s television series Curb Your Enthusiasm, when David prepares to take over the role of Max in The Producers and hopes to enjoy carnal relations with his shapely costar. Huffman’s other television credits include The George Carlin Show, Pig Sty, Mad About You, Vows of Deception (TV movie), Columbo, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Frasier, Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and One Life to Live. Movies in which she has appeared include Sunday on the Rocks, Billy’s Dad Is a Fudge-Packer, Romance & Cigarettes, Twenty Dollar Drinks (starring with Sandra Bernhard), Itty Bitty Titty Committee, and The Nanny Diaries.
Although Huffman is best known for her work in musical theater, in 2007 she had a dramatic role in David Epstein’s play Surface to Air, an off-Broadway production directed by James Naughton, about a family suffering from the loss of one of its members in Vietnam.