Burstein (left) and wife Rebecca Luker at a gala, December 2008
June 16, 1964 |
Mt. Kisco, New York
|Spouse(s)||Rebecca Luker (2000-present)|
Burstein made his Broadway debut in the 1992 revival of A Little Hotel on the Side, before going 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) and the films Transamerica (2005) and Deception (2008). He received his first Tony Award nomination for his role in the 2005 original Broadway production of the musical The Drowsy Chaperone and a second for the 2008 revival of the musical South Pacific. From 2010-2011, he played the recurring role of Lolly Steinman in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. His work in the 2011 revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, won him the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and earned him a Grammy Award nomination and a third Tony Award nomination. His subsequent Tony nominations were for the 2012 revival of the play Golden Boy and the 2013 revival of the musical Cabaret.
Life and career
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. His father is Jewish and his mother, who is from Costa Rica, is of Spanish descent. 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.
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), Luther Billis in South Pacific (2008–10), Taxi Driver in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2010–11), Tokio in "Golden Boy" (2012-2013), Herr" Schultz in the 2014 revival of "Cabaret" and Max in the Sharr White play, The Snow Geese (2013).
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 and Psych (2001) at Playwrights Horizons. He also starred in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (1996 and 2002) at the Westside Theatre; as Ru/Floor Monitor/Pianist in Merrily We Roll Along (1994) at the York Theatre at St. Peter's Church;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). 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). 
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. 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. He won the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Actor in a Musical and was nominated for the Tony Award, Best Actor in a Musical.
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.
Burstein appeared in the films, "The Family Fang" opposite Nicole Kidman and directed by Jason Bateman (2015), "Blackhat", directed by Michael Mann (2015), "Trust, Greed, Bullets and Bourbon" (2013), ''Affluenza'' (2014), American Milkshake (2013),Nor'easter, Construction (2012),Duane Incarnate (2004) , Transamerica (2005),Autumn Whispers and Deception (2008). His many television credits include the BBC's Absolutely Fabulous (2002), the FX series Louie (2010) and for HBO, he has the recurring role of Lolly Steinman in "Boardwalk Empire", directed by Martin Scorsese. 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, UCSD and Queens College.
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