November 12, 1957 |
St. Joseph, Michigan, United States
|Spouse(s)||Bill Tatum (1984-present)|
Karen Ziemba (born November 12, 1957) is an American actress, singer and dancer, best known for her work in musical theatre. In 2000, she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in Contact.
Ziemba was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, the daughter of Barbara Marie (Heidt) and Oscar Hugo Ziemba, an investment broker. Her grandmother, Winifred Heidt, was an opera singer. Ziemba attended the University of Akron (Ohio), where she studied dance. In 1977 she danced with the Ohio Ballet.
Her Broadway debut was in A Chorus Line as Diana Morales. Later, she played the lead of Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street. While appearing in 42nd Street, she was featured in the October 1984 issue of Playboy in the article "Babes of Broadway", in which she posed partially nude. Ziemba's other Broadway roles include Polly Baker in Crazy for You in 1992 as Polly Baker (replacement),Roxie Hart in Chicago (1998), and Belle Hagner in Teddy & Alice (1987).
Ziemba appeared Off-Broadway in the Kander and Ebb revue And The World Goes 'Round (1991) and won the Drama Desk Award. She received a Drama Desk Award nomination (Best Actress in a Musical) for I Do! I Do! (1996). The next year, she was nominated for the 1997 Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Actress in a Musical) and a 1997 Tony Award (Actress in a Musical) for her role in Steel Pier (1997).
In 2000, Ziemba won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in Susan Stroman's Contact. She played the role of "the timid, abused mafioso's wife." The CurtainUp reviewer wrote of the savvy casting "...especially Karen Ziemba, who is finally in a show that make s full use of her dual talents as an actress and dancer...Ziemba (in Did You Move?), brings an amazing female Walter Mitty vulnerability to a frustrated wife having dinner with a husband..."
She appeared in Much Ado About Nothing as Beatrice at the Hartford Stage (Connecticut) and then the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, DC) in November 2002 through January 5, 2003. In 2004 she received another Tony Award nomination (Best Featured Actress in a Musical) for Never Gonna Dance. In 2007, she portrayed the heartwarming lyricist Georgia Hendricks in Curtains, earning her fourth Tony Award nomination.
She performed with the New York City Opera in 110 in the Shade as Lizzie in 1992. The AP News reviewer wrote: "Ziemba's voice is clear and sweet, exactly what's needed for a song like Is It Really Me?." She performed the role of Cleo in the City Opera's production of The Most Happy Fella in 1991. The New York Times reviewer wrote: "...her voice had swagger, grainy brashness and brassy energy, undistracted by higher ambitions."
She and Bill Tatum were married in 1984.
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- Simonson, Robert; Gans, Andrew. "Ziemba Brings Her' Much Ado' to DC's Shakespeare Theatre, Nov. 5", Playbill, November 5, 2002
- Jones, Kenneth. "'Wife', 'Avenue Q', 'Assassins', 'Henry IV' Are 2004 Tony Award Winners; Mays, Menzel, Jackman, Rashad Golden" playbill.com, June 6, 2004
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- Collins, Glenn. "When Homeliness Is in the Eye of the Beholder" The New York Times (webcache.googleusercontent.com), July 30, 1992[dead link]
- "Karen Ziemba to Head 'Pajama Game' at Encores; Barrett Sought" playbill.com, January 28, 2002
- Gans, Andrew; Hernandez, Ernio. "Encores! 'Bye Bye Birdie' to Star Ziemba, Roberts, Bobbie and Jenkins" playbill.com, April 1, 2004
- Gans, Andrew. "Christine Baranski, Kelli Barrett, Walter Bobbie, Randy Skinner, Karen Ziemba Cast in Encores! 'On Your Toes'" playbill.com, April 15, 2013
- Gans, Andrew. "Tony Winner Karen Ziemba Is a Musical Matchmaker in Drury Lane Theatre's 'Hello, Dolly!', Opening Oct. 24" playbill.com, October 23, 2013
- Hetrick, Adam. "Karen Ziemba Joins Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'; Casting Now Complete" playbill.com, January 9, 2014
- Spaner, Whitney. "How Love Letters Kept Karen Ziemba and Bill Tatum's Long-Distance Romance Alive", Playbill, June 13, 2015