Danny Burstein

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Danny Burstein
Danny Burstein and Rebecca Luker.jpg
Burstein (left) and wife Rebecca Luker at a gala, December 2008
Born (1964-06-16) June 16, 1964 (age 50)
Mt. Kisco, New York
Spouse(s) Rebecca Luker (2000-present)

Danny Burstein (born June 16, 1964) is an American actor of stage and screen. A Grammy Award nominee and five-time Tony Award nominee, he won a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for playing Buddy Plummer in the 2011 Broadway revival of Follies.

Burstein made his Broadway debut in the 1992 revival of A Little Hotel on the Side, before going on to appear in the revivals of The Seagull (1992) and Saint Joan (1993). On television, he appeared in six episodes of the NBC drama series Law & Order (1995–2010), each time as a different character. Other screen work includes a feature length episode of the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (2002), the films Transamerica (2005) and Deception (2008), and the recurring part of Lolly Steinman in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire (2010–11). He received his first Tony Award nomination for the original Broadway production of the musical The Drowsy Chaperone (2006). His subsequent nominations were for South Pacific (2008), Follies (2012), Golden Boy (2013) and Cabaret (2014).

Life and career[edit]

Burstein was born in Mt. Kisco, New York, and was raised in New York City, the son of a painter and a professor of Greek philosophy.[1] His father is Jewish and his mother, who is from Costa Rica, is of Sephardic Spanish descent.[2][3] He attended the High School of the Performing Arts and Queens College in New York City. He received an MFA in Acting from the University of California, San Diego in 1990. Burstein's first acting job was in the chorus of The Music Man at the The Muny in St. Louis during college.[4]

On Broadway, Burstein's fifteen appearances, which have garnered him five Tony Award nominations, have included A Little Hotel on the Side (1992), Yakov in The Seagull (1992–93), in Saint Joan and Three Men on a Horse (both in 1993), Paul in Company (1995), 1st Officer William Murdoch in Titanic (1997–99), Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone (2006–07),[5] Luther Billis in South Pacific (2008–10),[6] Taxi Driver in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2010–11), Tokio in "Golden Boy" (2012-2013),[7] Max in the Sharr White play, The Snow Geese (2013).[8] and Herr Schultz in the 2014 revival of Cabaret (2014–15).

Burstein's Off-Broadway credits include Talley's Folly opposite Sarah Paulson at The Roundabout Theater Company for which he was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award and a Drama League Award; the world premieres of A. R. Gurney's Mrs. Farnsworth (2004), opposite Sigourney Weaver and John Lithgow, at The Flea Theater[9] and Psych (2001) at Playwrights Horizons.[10] He also starred in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (1996 and 2002) at the Westside Theatre;[11] as Ru/Floor Monitor/Pianist in Merrily We Roll Along (1994) at the York Theatre at St. Peter's Church;[12]All in the Timing at the Houseman; as Daniel in Alan Menken and David Spencer's Weird Romance at the WPA; as Solomon in The Rothschilds and Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, both at Circle in the Square; The United Way at Ensemble Studio Theater; and A Class Act at Manhattan Theater Club. He appeared in two concerts at Carnegie Hall: the Ira Gershwin centennial and as Steward in Sail Away, (1999).[13][14] He appeared in the Encores! (New York City Center) staged concert productions of DuBarry Was a Lady (1996), as Romeo Skragg in Li'l Abner (1998), as Tailor-Merchant in The Boys from Syracuse (1997) and as Mister Mister in The Cradle Will Rock (2013).[14][15] [16]

He played the role of Buddy Plummer in the Kennedy Center production of Follies, which ran from May 7, 2011 through June 19, 2011 at the Eisenhower Theater, co-starring with Bernadette Peters, Ron Raines, and Jan Maxwell.[17] He reprised that role in the Broadway engagement of Follies at the Marquis Theatre from August 7, 2011 (in previews) through January 22, 2012, and continued with the production in its engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California from May 3, 2012 through June 9, 2012.[18] He won the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical[19] and was nominated for the Tony Award, Best Actor in a Musical.[20]

Burstein can be heard on the cast recording of many of these musicals. Among his many recordings is the musical "Sweet Little Devil" in which he introduced three George Gershwin, Buddy DeSylva songs. The score originally went unrecorded in 1924 and was finally recorded by PS Classics, with Burstein playing the role of Sam in 2012.[21]

Burstein appeared in the films, "The Family Fang" opposite Nicole Kidman and directed by Jason Bateman (2015), "Liv", written & directed by Catherine Eaton, Blackhat, directed by Michael Mann (2015), "Trust, Greed, Bullets and Bourbon" (2013), Affluenza (2014), American Milkshake (2013),[22]Nor'easter, Construction (2012),[23]Duane Incarnate (2004) ,[24] Transamerica (2005),[25] Autumn Whispers and Deception (2008).[26] His many television credits include the BBC's Absolutely Fabulous (2002),[27] the FX series Louie (2010)[28] and HBO's Boardwalk Empire.

Discussing Boardwalk Empire on the Employee of the Month podcast, he said that director Martin Scorsese saw him in South Pacific and then called his agent. Though he auditioned for three different characters, he landed the part of Lolly Steinman.[29]

Burstein has lent his voice to a number of video games, including "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" and "Grand Theft Auto: IV".

He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Frosch in "Die Fledermaus" (2013-14 season).

Burstein serves on the Artists Committee of the Kennedy Center Honors and has been a guest lecturer teaching at many universities such as Yale, NYU, Juilliard, UCSD and Queens College.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Award Category Result
2006 The Drowsy Chaperone Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
2008 South Pacific Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
2012 Follies Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
2013 Golden Boy Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Nominated
2014 Cabaret Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
  • He is the 2014 recipient of the Hispanic Organization of Latino Actors' Jose Ferrer Tespis Award.
  • He was nominated for a 2012 Astaire Award for his performance in "Follies".
  • He was nominated for four Outer Critics Circle Awards winning twice for "South Pacific" and "Follies".

Personal life[edit]

Burstein is married to actress Rebecca Luker[30] and has two sons, Alexander (a filmmaker) and Zachary (a musician).[31][32]


  1. ^ Danny Burstein latimes.com, May 22, 2012
  2. ^ "Danny Burstein on the Golden Roles that Made Him One of Broadways MVPs" broadway.com
  3. ^ "Dannys Double Life" playbill.com
  4. ^ Panarello, Joseph F. "Behind the Stage Door with Danny Burstein" Broadway World.com, July 6, 2006
  5. ^ Murray, Matthew. "Review, 'The Drowsy Chaperone'" talkinbroadway.com, May 1, 2006
  6. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Sher to Discuss South Pacific at Vivian Beaumont March 26". Playbill.com, March 7, 2008
  7. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Starry 'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown' Opens on Broadway Nov. 4" Playbill.com, November 4, 2010
  8. ^ Purcell, Cary. "Danny Burstein, Victoria Clark, Christopher Innvar, Evan Jonigkeit Join Mary-Louise Parker in MTC's 'The Snow Geese'" playbill.com, August 26, 2013
  9. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review; Patrician Calm Can't Extinguish Embers of Pain" The New York Times, April 8, 2004
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Grad School is a Real Psych Out at Playwrights Horizons, Beginning Nov. 24" Playbill.com, November 24, 2001
  11. ^ Simonson, Robert "Perfect Casting: Danny Burstein Returns to Off-Broadway Revue" Playbill.com, April 16, 2002
  12. ^ " 'Merrily We Roll Along', 1994 York Theatre Company Production" SondheimGuide.com, accessed June 26, 2012
  13. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Review: 'Sail Away'" Variety, November 14, 1999
  14. ^ a b "BursteinBiography" BroadwayWorld.com, accessed June 27, 2012
  15. ^ "Encores! Previous Seasons" New York City Center, accessed June 26, 2012
  16. ^ "Danny Burstein Star File" Broadway.com
  17. ^ Gans, Andrew. "'Hats Off, Here They Come, Those Beautiful Girls': Starry Follies Begins Kennedy Center Run May 7", Playbill.com, May 7, 2011
  18. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 22, 2012). "Hey, L.A., We're Coming Your Way: 'Follies' Ends Broadway Run Jan. 22". Playbill. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew. "'Once', 'Tribes', 'Follies', 'Salesman', Audra McDonald, Danny Burstein and More Are Drama Desk Winners" Playbill.com, June 3, 2012
  20. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "'Once', 'Clybourne Park', 'Porgy and Bess', Audra McDonald, 'Salesman' Win Tony Awards" Playbill.com, June 10, 2012
  21. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Danny Burstein, Rebecca Luker, Philip Chaffin Will Sing Forgotten Gershwin Score of Sweet Little Devil on CD" Playbill.com, March 26, 2012
  22. ^ " Milkshake Listing" InternetMovieDatabase, accessed August 7, 2012
  23. ^ " 'Construction' Listing" imdb.com, accessed June 26, 2012
  24. ^ Scheib, Ronnie. "Review: 'Duane Incarnate', Tribeca" Variety, (webcache.googleusercontent.com), June 4, 2004
  25. ^ " 'Transamerica' Listing" AllMovie.com, accessed June 26, 2012
  26. ^ " 'Deception' Listing" imdb.com, accessed June 26, 2012
  27. ^ " 'Absolutely Fabulous', Season 4, Episode 7; 'Gay' (27 Dec. 2002)" imdb.com, accessed June 26, 2012
  28. ^ " 'Louie; Season 1, Episode 9; 'Bully' (17 Aug. 2010)" imdb.com, accessed June 26, 2012
  29. ^ Lazarus, Catie. "Danny Burstein on Auditioning for Martin Scorsese, or is it Marty...". Youtube. 
  30. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Madam Librarian! Actors Rebecca Luker and Danny Burstein Tie the Knot" Playbill.com, June 14, 2000
  31. ^ Nondorf, Tom. "The Leading Men: Burstein and Barrett" Playbill.com, December 3, 2009
  32. ^ "Fast chat: 'Follies' for Danny Burstein" Newsday.com, September 8, 2011

External links[edit]