September 12, 1962 |
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Harry More Gordon (m. 2004)|
|Parent(s)||Julian D. Shear
Shear was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 12, 1962 to Julian "Bud" and Helaine Catoggio. Her mother was a glamorous executive in the cosmetic industry, a talented amateur painter and collector of antiques. Her father, who was a Deputy Chief in the New York City Fire Department at the time of her birth, left her mother and her older sister Diane, soon after she was born  She attended the City University of New York.
Shear first came to prominence with her self-penned solo performance piece Blown Sideways Through Life (described by Frank Rich as an "autobiographical monologue"). The show premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in September 1993. The show then opened at the Off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre on January 7, 1994, closing on July 17, 1994 after 221 performances. Shear won an Obie Award, Special Citation and a 1994 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance. Shear's employment experiences as a member of the American work force - sixty-four jobs in all, including pastry chef, nude model, waitress, whorehouse receptionist, proofreader, and Italian translator - provided her with a wealth of material for her piece. She adapted it for a 1995 presentation on the PBS series American Playhouse.
Shear wrote the play Dirty Blonde, her exploration of the life and career of Mae West. The play premiered Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop, running from January 10, 2000 to February 13, 2000 and then opened on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre on April 14, 2000 (previews); both productions were directed by James Lapine. She earned Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for both Best Play and Best Actress and won the Theatre World Award.
Shear's acting credits include the films It Could Happen to You (1994) and Living Out Loud (1998) and a guest appearance as the "fake Monica" on the NBC sitcom Friends in 1994. She has also written for such publications as The New York Times, Vogue, and Travel & Leisure, among others.
Restoration, a new play written by her, premiered in June 2009 at La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California, commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley after an idea by Shear. In Restoration, Shear plays "Giulia, a down-on-her-luck art restorer from Brooklyn who receives what could possibly be a career-reviving job of 'refreshing' Michelangelo’s David in time for its quincentennial celebration in Florence." Christopher Ashley, who staged the world premiere of Restoration at La Jolla Playhouse, directed the work for its New York debut. The play premiered Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop on April 30, 2010 (previews) and officially on May 19, 2010 through June 13, 2010.
Shear co-wrote the book for the new musical based on the book Tuck Everlasting, also titled Tuck Everlasting. The music and lyrics are written by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen with direction by Casey Nicholaw. The musical premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, from January 21, 2015 to February 22, 2015. The musical opened on Broadway in previews on March 31, 2016, and officially on April 2016.
In 2017 she starred in EVENING AT THE TALKHOUSE, written by Wallace Shawn, with Matthew Broderick at The New Group at the Signature Theatre in New York City.
Awards and nominations
|1994||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Solo Performance||Blown Sideways Through Life||Nominated|
|2000||Tony Award||Best Actress in a Play||Dirty Blonde||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Play||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Play||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Theatre World Award||Won|
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- Peter, Thomas. " 'Restoration': Claudia Shear Goes from 'Dirty Blonde' to Cleaning Up David" playbill.com, May 18, 2010
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- Simonson, Robert. " 'Smell of the Kill' Closes on Broadway, April 28" playbill.com, April 28, 2002
- Tuck Everlasting alliancetheatre.org, accessed May 31, 2015
- Isherwood, Charles. "Review: 'Tuck Everlasting' Swaps Out the Circle of Life for an Eternally Unspooling Ribbon" The New York Times, February 9, 2015
- Gioia, Michael." 'Tuck Everlasting' Will Spread Magic On Broadway in 2016" playbill.com, May 13, 2015
- "'Tuck Everlasting' Broadway Listing" ibdb.com, accessed October 10, 2015
- Viagas, Robert. " 'Tuck Everlasting' Opens on Broadway Tonight", playbill.com, April 26, 2016.