Emily Skinner

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Emily Skinner (also known as Emily Scott Skinner) (born June 29, 1967) is an American musical theatre actress and singer. She has played leading roles in such Broadway productions as Side Show, James Joyce's The Dead, The Full Monty, Dinner at Eight, Billy Elliot, as well as the acclaimed Actor's Fund Broadway concerts of Dreamgirls and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She has sung on concert stages around the world and on numerous recordings.


Born in Richmond, Virginia, Skinner spent some of her teenage years at the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community and later attended college at Carnegie Mellon University. She moved to New York in 1992 and originated roles in various workshops, including Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll and Hyde, Stephen Schwartz's show "Snapshots", Polly Pen's "The Night Governess" and the Marvin Hamlisch/Craig Carnelia/Nora Ephron musical "Imaginary Friends". A few years later, she created the role of "Emily" (young Scrooge's love interest) in the 1994 musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol at the Paramount Theatre at Madison Square Garden.[1]

In 1997, Skinner joined the original Broadway cast of Jekyll and Hyde as an ensemble member and understudy for the leads of Emma and Lucy. During previews, Linda Eder, who played Lucy, developed laryngitis, and Skinner sang some of Lucy's songs from backstage, while Eder acted and sang some songs onstage.[2] Other Broadway credits include "Side Show" (1997), James Joyce's The Dead (1999; with Christopher Walken), The Full Monty (2001), Dinner at Eight, the Encores! stagings of the Gershwin musical Pardon My English, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn "Fiorello!", and "No Strings", all at New York City Center, and Broadway Actor's Fund benefit concert performances of Dreamgirls and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Skinner has appeared Off-Broadway in numerous productions and workshops at The WPA Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout Theatre, Manhattan Theater Club, and the York Theatre. She has also directed and performed in a large number of concerts in the "Broadway By the Year" series at the legendary Town Hall in New York City, where she has become a favorite. She was also in the American premiere at Carnegie Hall of Jerry Springer: The Opera (with Harvey Keitel) in 2008.[3]

Skinner's role as one half of a pair of Siamese twins in Side Show earned her critical acclaim and a Tony Award nomination shared with co-star Alice Ripley. It was the first time in Tony history that two performers were co-nominated as a team for the Best Actress award.[4] Variety noted that "If Ripley and Skinner should win, it would be the first time since 1975 that a pair of actors shared a single Tony. That year John Kani and Winston Ntshona, two South African actors, won a nod for the Athol Fugard double bill "Sizwe Banzi Is Dead" and "The Island."[5] (Other joint nominations for the Tony include Donal Donnelly and Patrick Bedford for Philadelphia, Here I Come! in 1966; the children playing the seven Von Trapp children were nominated for best featured actress in a musical in 1960.[6])

Skinner played the role of "Mrs. Wilkinson" in Billy Elliot in Chicago, starting in March 2010,[7] and then went on the play the same role in the Broadway production until it closed two years later.[8]

Recordings and concerts

Skinner and Ripley have collaborated on three recordings: Duets, Unsuspecting Hearts, and Raw at Town Hall, taped live during their October 21, 2006 concert.[9] Skinner also recorded an excellent self-titled solo album, which was released in 2001. She toured the U.S. in 2004 and 2005 in the Disney revue On the Record.[10] She has also sung with orchestras around the world, including the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, The Virginia Symphony, and The Sydney Pops and was the original Ursula in The Little Mermaid demo recordings and workshop (though she was replaced by Sherie Renee Scott for the resulting Broadway production).

Regional theatre

At the Kennedy Center she appeared in Merrily We Roll Along and Company during the 2002 Sondheim Celebration,[11] played Agnes Gooch in Mame (2006),[12] was in their production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2004), and has performed in concert there in the Barbara Cook Spotlight Series twice.[13] She has also appeared in leading roles at The Long Wharf Theatre, Old Globe in San Diego, Ford's Theatre, St. Louis MUNY, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Bucks County Playhouse, Hangar Theatre, The White River Theater Festival, and Virginia Repertory Theatre.

Skinner has appeared at the Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia, in the U.S. premiere of The Witches of Eastwick in 2007,[14] and in the new musical Ace in 2008.[15] She played the title role in Dirty Blonde at the Hangar Theatre, Ithaca, New York, in June 2009,[16] and was in the same play at Signature Theatre later that year.[17] She then went on to play Mrs. Lovett in a well-received production of Sweeney Todd at the Lyric Theatre in Oklahoma.[18]

Most recently she originated the starring role of Adelaide in Julie Andrew's The Great American Mousical at the Norma Terris/Goodspeed Theatre. She also created the role of Monique McCandless in Stephen King/John Mellencamp's show The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at both the Alliance Theatre and on a national 21-city rock-n-roll concert tour.

Work (selected)[edit]

  • 1994-95: A Christmas Carol - Emily, notable for: "A Place Called Home"; World premiere
  • 1997: Jekyll & Hyde - u/s Emma, u/s Lucy (performed)
  • 1997-98: Side Show - Daisy Hilton, Tony Nomination (with Alice Ripley)
  • 1999-2000: James Joyce's The Dead - Off-Broadway and Transfer to Broadway
  • 2000: The Full Monty - World Premiere; 2001: The Full Monty Broadway premiere
  • 2004: Breakfast at Tiffany's - as Mag, New Production, The Muny, St. Louis, World Premiere[19]
  • 2004: On the Record - World Premiere / National Tour
  • 2007: The Witches of Eastwick - United States Premiere, Arlington Virginia
  • 2010: Billy Elliot - as Mrs. Wilkinson Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, Chicago, Illinois and Broadway
  • 2010: "Ten Stories Tall" (film) -as Claire
  • 2012: Ghost Brothers of Darkland County - as Monique, Alliance Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2014: Mame (musical) as Mame, Virginia Repertory Theatre, Richmond, Virginia


  1. ^ Gerard, Jeremy. "A Christmas Carol", Variety, December 5, 1994 – December 11, 1994, Legit Reviews; Non-Broadway; p. 80
  2. ^ "The People: The Artists who have Contributed to Jekyll". Jekyll-hyde.com, accessed March 31, 2011
  3. ^ Brantley, Ben. "And Blessed Are the Singing, Pole-Dancing Fetishists". The New York Times, January 31, 2008
  4. ^ "Facts & Trivia, Together Forever" tonyawards.com, accessed March 31, 2011
  5. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Tony Lift: Play's The Thing", Variety, May 11, 1998 - May 17, 1998, p. 173
  6. ^ Sommers, Michael. "Tony Trivia", The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), June 7, 1998, p. 10
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. Billy Elliot Opens in Chicago April 11". Playbill.com, April 11, 2010
  8. ^ Lewis, Jessica. "BWW Interviews: BILLY's Emily Skinner". Broadwayworld.com, November 8, 2010
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley's "Raw at Town Hall" Hits Stores Dec. 19". Playbill.com, December 19, 2006
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Disney's On the Record — with Emily Skinner — Officially Opens Nov. 19," November 19, 2004
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew."Merrily We Roll Along Begins Kennedy Center Previews July 12," July 12, 2002
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Emily Skinner Cast in Kennedy Center's Mame," September 27, 2005
  13. ^ "Tennessee Williams Explored: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof'". kennedy-center.org, accessed March 31, 2011
  14. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Witches of Eastwick—Skinner, Noll & Donovan—Sing in Revised U.S. Staging of Onetime London Musical". Playbill.com, June 15, 2007
  15. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Broadway-Bound Ace Musical Takes Wing in VA; Noll, Scott, Skinner, Paice, Stanek, Lacey Star". Playbill.com, September 3, 2008
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew. Emily Skinner Is a Dirty Blonde for Ithaca's Hangar Theatre Starting June 3". Playbill.com, June 4, 2009
  17. ^ [1] sig-online.org
  18. ^ Probst, Andy. "Jeff McCarthy and Emily Skinner to Star in Lyric Theatre 'Sweeney Todd'". Theatermania.com, October 20, 2009
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Side Show's Kennedy and Skinner to Star in Muny's Breakfast at Tiffany's; Summer Season Announced". Playbill.com, May 21, 2004

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