Michelle Federer

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Michelle Federer
Born (1973-12-05) December 5, 1973 (age 44)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materIthaca College
Years active2001-present
Norbert Leo Butz (m. 2007)

Michelle Federer (born December 5, 1973) is an American film and theatre actress.

Early life and education[edit]

Federer is the daughter of John and Claudia Federer. She grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio,[1] where she was a student of the Shaker Heights High School Theatre Arts Department under the direction of James Thornton,[2] and she gained early experience working in the University School Theater Program, where she first worked and became friends with future Wicked castmate Michael Seelbach. Federer's father was a math teacher in the Shaker Heights Public School System teaching at Byron Junior High School (now Shaker Heights Middle School) and currently teaches at the Mandel Jewish Day School. As a teen, Federer attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Camp, located in Loch Sheldrake, New York.[3] She graduated from Ithaca College, located in Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre.[1]



She understudied the role of Adele Rice in the 2002 Off-Broadway production of A Man of No Importance at Lincoln Center.[4]

In February 2003, she played the role of Thelma in the Hartford Stage (Hartford, Connecticut) production of The Trip to Bountiful.[5]

She made her Broadway debut as Nessarose in Wicked, a character she originated. The show opened October 30, 2003, starring Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.[6] Federer, who was the longest-running original principal cast member, left the production on January 8, 2006, and was succeeded by understudy Cristy Candler. Federer can be heard on the Wicked cast recording.

She was the understudy for Julia Roberts in the roles of Nan and Lina in the play Three Days of Rain, which ran on Broadway from March 26, 2006 (previews) to June 18, 2006.[7]

She appeared as Allison in the Atlantic Theatre Company's Off-Broadway production of Anon by Kate Robins in January to February 2007.[8]

On October 27, 2008, Federer took part in The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken, a fifth anniversary concert featuring a selection of scenes and songs cut from early drafts of Wicked. The concert starred former co-stars Shoshana Bean and Jennifer Laura Thompson. [9]

Federer returned to the role of Nessarose in Broadway's Wicked with performances beginning August 18, 2009, this time replacing Candler.[10] She ended her return engagement on January 10, 2010, and was replaced by Jenny Fellner.[11]

She appeared in The Cottage by Sandy Rustin at the Queens Theatre, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, New York in 2014. [12]

T.V. and Film[edit]

Federer has also appeared in various small film roles, including the biographical film Kinsey (2004) [13] and independent romance film Flannel Pajamas (2006).[14]

Federer appeared in a recurring role on NBC's Smash in which she plays Monica Swift, the wife of Michael (Will Chase) who has an affair with Debra Messing's character Julia.[15] The series also stars Megan Hilty, who starred on Broadway alongside Federer in Wicked.[16] Smash premiered in the United States on February 6, 2012.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Federer married her former Wicked co-star, Norbert Leo Butz in 2007. Their daughter, Georgia Teresa, was born on January 2, 2011. [18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Stevens, Beth. "Fresh Face Michelle Federer" broadway.com, January 2, 2004
  2. ^ Simakis, Andrea. "James Thornton, revered founder of Theatre Arts Department at Shaker Heights High School, dies" cleveland.com, March 21, 2012
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Stagedoor Manor — Inspiration for "Camp" Film — to Celebrate 30th Anniversary" Playbill, June 13, 2005
  4. ^ " 'A Man of No Importance' Listing" lortel.org, accessed July 9, 2016
  5. ^ Taylor, Markland. "Review: ‘The Trip to Bountiful’" Variety, February 27, 2003
  6. ^ "Michelle Federer Broadway" Playbill (vault), accessed July 9, 2016
  7. ^ " 'Three Days of Rain' Broadway" Playbill (vault), accessed July 9, 2016
  8. ^ "Federer, Blackwell, Etc. Set for Atlantic Theater's 'Anon'" broadwayworld.com, January 17, 2007
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Diva Talk Special: The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken" Playbill, October 28, 2008
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Federer Returns to Broadway's 'Wicked'" Playbill, August 18, 2009
  11. ^ Hernandez, Ernio and Gans, Andrew. "Clarke and Fellner Join 'Wicked' on Broadway" Playbill, January 14, 2010
  12. ^ Wichman, Maytal. Love, Lust & Laughter: Don’t Miss ‘The Cottage” at Queens Theatre" themamamaven.com, November 11, 2014
  13. ^ Kinsey at Rotten Tomatoes
  14. ^ Holden, Stephen. "Movie Review. 'Flannel Pajamas'" The New York Times, November 15, 2006
  15. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "The 'Smash' Report: Recapping Episode 3, Or, This Is a Fine Showmance" Playbill, February 21, 2012
  16. ^ Staff. "Inside the Emerald City: Wicked's Glinda" Playbill, October 25, 2013
  17. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "The "Smash" Report: Pilot — No People Like Show People, or Heaven on Earth" Playbill, January 23, 2012
  18. ^ " Wicked' Sweethearts Norbert Leo Butz and Michelle Federer Welcome Baby Girl Georgia" broadway.com, January 3, 2011

External links[edit]