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Debra Monk

Debra Monk

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 27, 1949 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Middletown, Ohio, USA Profession: singer, actor, playwright, director, waitress, secretary

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An attractive, honey blonde actress and singer, Debra Monk first garnered attention in theatrical circles as one of the co-writers and co-stars of the cult musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes". While working as a waitress in NYC, the Maryland native began keeping a journal and together with Mark Hardwick, Cass Morgan, Jim Wann, John Foley and John Schimmel formed a band out of which grew the stage show about sisters who operate a roadside diner and the grease monkeys next-door. Featuring a country-pop score, "Pump Boys and Dinettes" moved from off-off-Broadway to off-Broadway to Broadway, where it received a Tony nomination as the Best Musical of 1982 and was filmed for NBC as "Pump Boys and Dinettes on Television" (1983). As sometimes can happen when an actor becomes closely identified with a role, Monk was perceived in NYC theater circles as a rockabilly singer. Intent on proving her capabilities, she decamped to the Actors Theatre of Louisville where she spent three seasons performing in dramatic and comic roles. Returning to NYC, she and Hardwick (along with Mary Murfitt and Mike Carver) co-wrote and appeared in "Oil City Symphony", a 1987 Off-Broadway musical about a reunion concert of four...

An attractive, honey blonde actress and singer, Debra Monk first garnered attention in theatrical circles as one of the co-writers and co-stars of the cult musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes". While working as a waitress in NYC, the Maryland native began keeping a journal and together with Mark Hardwick, Cass Morgan, Jim Wann, John Foley and John Schimmel formed a band out of which grew the stage show about sisters who operate a roadside diner and the grease monkeys next-door. Featuring a country-pop score, "Pump Boys and Dinettes" moved from off-off-Broadway to off-Broadway to Broadway, where it received a Tony nomination as the Best Musical of 1982 and was filmed for NBC as "Pump Boys and Dinettes on Television" (1983). As sometimes can happen when an actor becomes closely identified with a role, Monk was perceived in NYC theater circles as a rockabilly singer. Intent on proving her capabilities, she decamped to the Actors Theatre of Louisville where she spent three seasons performing in dramatic and comic roles. Returning to NYC, she and Hardwick (along with Mary Murfitt and Mike Carver) co-wrote and appeared in "Oil City Symphony", a 1987 Off-Broadway musical about a reunion concert of four Midwestern musicians. While Monk could easily have fallen prey to being pigeonholed yet again, she had already become established as a powerful stage actress. Director Norman Rene tapped her to play a housewife in Craig Lucas' superb fable "Prelude to a Kiss" (1990) before she created the flaky Sara Jane Moore, a woman who set out to kill US President Gerald Ford, in the dark Stephen Sondheim musical "Assassins" (1990-91). In 1993, Monk won a Tony Award for her featured turn as the sardonic aunt of an Amerasian girl seeking information on her parents in the Pacific Northwest in Lanford Wilson's "Redwood Curtain". The following year, she displayed her versatility as the spinster schoolteacher in a Broadway revival of "Picnic", for which she netted her second Tony nomination. A third nod came for her brassy burlesque performer (and the showstopping "Everybody's Girl") in the Kander & Ebb musical "Steel Pier" (1997).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
3.
4.
 Other Woman, The (2009)
6.
 Savages, The (2007)
7.
 Dark Water (2005)
8.
 Producers, The (2005) Cast
9.
 Palindromes (2004) Mama Sunshine
10.
 Music Man, The (2003) Mrs. Paroo
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Maryland
:
After completing graduate studies at Southern Methodist University, moved to NYC
:
While working as a waitress, began keeping diary; later used her experiences as basis for stage musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes"
1978:
Was member of the acting company at the Colonnades Theatre Laboratory in NYC
:
Spent one season with the Arena Stage in Washington, DC
1981:
Breakthrough stage role as Prudie Cupp in "Pump Boys and Dinettes"; also co-wrote; show transferred to Broadway in 1982
1983:
TV debut recreating Prudie in "Pump Boys and Dinettes on Television" (NBC)
:
Was guest artist at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky
:
Co-wrote and co-starred in "Oil City Symphony"
1990:
Co-starred in the stage play "Prelude to a Kiss"
:
Played Sarah Jane Moore, one of the women who attempted to shoot US President Gerald Ford, in the controversial Stephen Sondheim musical "Assassins"
1992:
Feature film debut as Aunt Dorothy in the film version of "Prelude to a Kiss"
:
Appeared as the sardonic aunt of a piano prodigy in Lanford Wilson's "Redwood Curtain"; won Tony Award
1994:
Earned second Tony nomination as the spinster Rosemary Snyder in "Picnic"
1995:
Played a formidable analyst in the Woody Allen one-act "Central Park West", performed under the umbrella title of "Death Defying Acts"
1995:
Recreated her award-winning role as a lumber company owner in "Redwood Curtain" (ABC)
1995:
Offered a stinging turn as Joanne in the Roundabout Theater revival of the George Furth-Stephen Sondheim musical "Company"; delivered a fine interpretation of the song "The Ladies Who Lunch"
1996:
Cast as the former wife of Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) on "NYPD Blue"
1996:
Played Christian Slater's mother in "Bed of Roses"
1997:
Garnered a third Tony nomination as the brassy burlesque singer participating in a dance marathon in "Steel Pier"; performed the showstopping "Everybody's Girl"
1997:
Co-starred as one of the title character's nasty aunts in "Ellen Foster" (CBS)
1998:
Appeared as the senator's secretary in "Bulworth"
:
Reprised role as Katie Sipowicz on "NYPD Blue"; received an Emmy Award
2000:
Returned to the New York stage as star of a revival of Arthur Laurents' "The Time of the Cuckoo"
2000:
Played an overbearing stage mother in "Center Stage"
2001:
Appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival's staging of "The Seagull" in Central Park; directed by Mike Nichols (July-August)
2005:
Starred opposite Troy Garity in "Milwaukee, Minnesota"
2005:
Played the Little Old Lady Investor in "The Producers," the film based on the Tony-winning musical by Mel Brooks
2007:
Co-starred with David Hyde Pierce in the Broadway musical, "Curtains"; earned a Tony nomination
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Frostburg State College: Frostburg , Maryland -
Southern Methodist University: Dallas , Texas -

Notes

"Every show I've been in seems to bite the dust--I'm beginning to take it personally. It's so frustrating. . . ." --Debra Monk quoted in INTHEATER, March 20, 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
John Miller. Music coordinator. Divorced.

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