Jennifer Laura Thompson (b. Southfield, MI, December 5, 1969) is an acclaimed American stage actress and singer, best known for her roles as Hope Cladwell in Urinetown (for which she was nominated for the 2002 Tony Award® as Best Actress in a Musical) and as Glinda in Wicked.
Thompson graduated from the University of Michigan in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre and moved to New York soon thereafter. She appeared in A Doll’s Life in 1994 at the York Theatre Company at St. Peter’s, had important roles in regional theatre productions, and worked extensively in national tours of Carousel, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, before making her Broadway debut in 1998 in the original cast of Footloose. Also in 1998, Thompson sang in the concert performance of Tip Toes in the Gershwin Festival at Carnegie Hall and made the first of her appearances with the City Center Encores! series in Strike up the Band!.
Footloose ran until midsummer of 2000, whereupon Thompson undertook to create the role of Hope Cladwell (a parody of the stereotypical musical-theatre ingenue) in Urinetown for the New York International Fringe Festival. The iconoclastic satire was such a success that it moved, first to the American Theatre for Actors, and then to Broadway – where its opening night, originally scheduled for September 13, 2001, had to be postponed for a week. Despite all jinxes, it won three Tony Awards® and five more nominations and ran for 965 performances. Jennifer Laura Thompson took two and a half months away from the show in early 2003 to play the lead role in Michael John LaChiusa’s barely successful one-act off-Broadway musical Little Fish. After returning to Urinetown, she left the cast permanantly in July. In 2004 Thompson replaced Kristin Chenoweth in the role of Glinda in the smash hit musical Wicked.
In 2002 Thompson made a guest appearance in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She has returned to the City Center Encores! series in 2004 in Pardon My English, in 2006 in Of Thee I Sing, and in 2008 in On the Town. In October 2008 she came back to the Gershwin Theatre to participate with old fellow cast members in a Special Benefit, The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken, a selection of scenes and songs cut from early drafts of Wicked. In Spring and Summer of 2010 she appeared as the soprano Diana in the Broadway revival of Lend Me a Tenor with Tony Shalhoub. She is currently on Broadway in the new musical Nice Work iIf You Can Get It with Judy Kaye and Kelli O’Hara.
Thompson is married and has a son.