May 12, 1991 |
White Plains, New York
|Years active||2006 -|
Jennifer Damiano (born May 12, 1991) is an American actress and singer, most known for originating the role of Natalie Goodman in Next to Normal on Broadway. She was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in that musical. She most recently appeared in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway as Mary Jane Watson; the musical opened officially on June 14, 2011.
Early life 
Damiano was born in Rye Brook, New York. When she was nine years old, she began taking voice lessons and joined a children's theatre, The Random Farms Kids' Theater, playing parts such as Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz", the title role in Cinderella, Gertrude in "Seussical" and Marion Paroo in "The Music Man". Her father, Mark, owns an amusement company, and her mother Nancy works at a hospital. Damiano is one of three children. Her brother Pat attends University of Tampa, and her sister Elizabeth graduated as an arts management major at Purchase College in May 2011. As Damiano began her acting career, she stayed enrolled in her hometown's public high school, where she graduated in 2009.
At the age of nine, Damiano made her professional debut in New York City playing Samantha and Josefina in a show based on the American Girl dolls. While continuing to participate in suburban community theater in shows such as "Oliver!", Damiano continued to perform professionally, in small professional roles in New York City. Off-Broadway, she appeared in Inner Voices: Solo Voices at the now-defunct Zipper Factory.
On December 10, 2006, at the age of 15, she joined the original cast of the musical "Spring Awakening" on Broadway as an ensemble member and understudy for the roles of Anna, Martha, Ilse and Thea. She was the youngest performer in the cast. Damiano was originally hired also to understudy a pre Glee star Lea Michele in the leading role, Wendla, but she was not legally able to cover the role because she was under 16 and the role requires brief nudity. She remained in the cast until December 2007, when she began rehearsals for the role of Natalie, the angsty teenage daughter of a woman with manic-depression in the musical "Next To Normal". She was cast in the role of Natalie for the show's Off-Broadway production at Second Stage Theater. The show later moved to Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. for an out of town tryout and eventually to Broadway at the Booth Theatre. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance. She left the production on July 18, 2010 (along with co-stars Alice Ripley and Brian d'Arcy James). She was replaced by original Natalie standby Meghann Fahy.
Following Next to Normal, Damiano originated the role of Mary Jane Watson in the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway. The show, which began previews on November 28, 2010 and - after a record-setting number of previews - opened officially on June 14, 2011, was originally directed by Julie Taymor and later by Philip William McKinley of The Boy from Oz. After almost a year with the show, Damiano played her final performance on November 6, 2011 and was succeeded by Rebecca Faulkenberry of Broadway's Rock of Ages, from Nov. 10.
Other appearances 
Damiano appeared on Gossip Girl in the episode entitled "It's a Wonderful Lie." She is also interviewed in the December/January 2010 issue of Teen Vogue talking about Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Reviews and awards 
Damiano was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for her performance in Next to Normal's Off-Broadway run. The next year, she was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical when the show moved to Broadway.
In his review in the New York Times following the 2009 Broadway opening, Ben Brantley observed, "The notion that personality is fragile, always on the edge of decomposition, is exquisitely reflected in Ms. Damiano’s astringent, poignant Natalie". Peter Marks of the Washington Post said she "locates a new depth of adolescent disdain and need."
Broadway credits 
N/A (Original Broadway Cast)
|Ensemble, Spring Awakening
December 10, 2006 – 2007
N/A (Originated Role)
|Natalie, Next to Normal
March 27, 2009 – July 18, 2010
N/A (Originated Role)
|Mary Jane, Spider-Man
Nov 28, 2010 – Nov 6, 2011
- "30 Under 30 - Jennifer Damiano". BroadwaySpace.com. 2011. "Age: 19 (5/12/1991)"
- Vinventelli, Elisabeth (2011-06-15). "Spidey's back! Finally, 'Dark' debut sees light of day". New York City, New York, USA: New York Post. Retrieved 2011-06-15. ""Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," the busy musical spectacle that opened last night..."
- "INTERVIEW: Jennifer Damiano". Broadway.com. April 9, 2009.
- "Spider-Man-Bound Jennifer Damiano to Depart Next to Normal". Playbill.com. June 8, 2010.
- "Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano, Patrick Page to Star in Spider-Man; Performances Begin in November". Playbill.com. August 10, 2010. Archived from the original on May 2, 2011.
- Jennifer Damiano's IMDB page
- Teen Vogue
- "Theater Review: 'Next to Normal'". New York Times. April 16, 2009.
- "Theater Review of 'Next to Normal' and 'Hair' on Broadway". Washington Post. April 16, 2009.
- Article on Damiano at RandomFarms.com