Stephanie J. Block

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Stephanie J. Block
Stephanie J Block 10092008.jpg
Block in 2008
Born
Stephanie Janette Block

(1972-09-19) September 19, 1972 (age 46)
OccupationActress, singer
Spouse(s)
Children1
WebsiteOfficial website

Stephanie Janette Block (born September 19, 1972) is an American actress and singer, known for her work in Broadway musicals. She won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for The Cher Show. A three-time Tony Award nominee and six-time Drama Desk Award nominee, she also received Tony nominations for Best Actress in a Musical for The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 2013 and Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Falsettos in 2017. She has also appeared on numerous cast recordings and released a solo album, This Place I Know in 2009. Her television credits include recurring roles on Madam Secretary (2017) and Rise (2018).

Block began her professional musical career in regional theater and by playing Belle in the Disneyland production of Beauty and the Beast in 1992. She made her Broadway debut in the 2003 original production of The Boy from Oz, playing Liza Minnelli. Having read the part of Elphaba in the first reading of Wicked in 2000, she was the first actress to play the role in the US touring production from 2005 to 2006, and later reprised the role on Broadway in 2007. She received Drama Desk nominations for the Off-Broadway productions of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (2011) and Little Miss Sunshine (2013), and for the Broadway productions of 9 to 5 (2009), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) and Falsettos (2016), before winning a Tony and Drama Desk Award for her portrayal of Star in the Broadway production of the The Cher Show (2018).

Early life[edit]

Block was born on September 19, 1972, in Brea, California, and has one sister, Renée. Her mother, Rosemarie (Garritano), worked for the local school district, and her father, Steven Block, was a welfare fraud investigator.[1][2] She was raised Catholic,[3] and is of German and Italian descent.[4] Block grew up in Brea, where she attended St. Angela Merici Parish School. Later she attended an all-girls Catholic private school, Rosary High School in Fullerton, California, for her secondary education. She finished up her high school years at the Orange County High School of the Arts.

Career[edit]

Block started her professional musical theater career with regional theater, appearing in many productions including Funny Girl, Crazy for You, Oliver!, James Joyce's The Dead and Bells Are Ringing. Block was additionally the original Belle in the Disneyland production of Beauty and the Beast and did voice work for numerous commercials, including the singing voice of Barbie.

In early 2000 Block read the part of Elphaba in the first reading of the new musical Wicked. After a few months of reading, she was replaced by Idina Menzel, a decision that left Block devastated, but accepting of the decision that had been made to cast a more experienced performer in the role. She was Menzel's understudy in the San Francisco world premiere in 2003 but left the show prior to opening on Broadway when she was offered a lead role in a new Broadway musical based on the life of Peter Allen, The Boy from Oz. Block debuted on Broadway in 2003, playing the role of Liza Minnelli opposite Hugh Jackman's Peter Allen in the show. The show received mixed reviews but proved to be a hit with audiences playing on Broadway for close to a year. The musical received several Tony Award nominations, including a nomination for Best Musical.[5]

Stephanie J Block with Stephen Oremus, with whom she worked in Wicked.

In spring 2005, Block originated the role of Elphaba in the first national tour of Wicked. She was awarded both the 2006 Helen Hayes Award and the 2007 Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Non-Resident Production for this role. Block received great reviews for a show-stopping performance. After performing with the tour for a year Block left the production in March 2006 and was replaced by Julia Murney.

In 2007 Block was seen in the title role of the new Broadway musical The Pirate Queen. The music was written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. Block was praised by critics, such as Ben Brantley from The New York Times, for giving a "truly felt, realistic, performance". She also received a nomination for a Drama League Award for her performance. Plagued by insufficient ticket sales and harsh reviews, the show opened in April and barely played for two months at the Hilton Theatre, closing in June.[6] Later that year Block reprised the role of Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway beginning October 9, 2007, where she replaced Julia Murney. She left the production after eight months on June 15, 2008, and was succeeded by Kerry Ellis.[7]

Block starred alongside Allison Janney, Megan Hilty, and Marc Kudisch in the new musical adaptation of the 1980 film 9 to 5. The production was directed by Joe Mantello, with music written by Dolly Parton. The show opened on Broadway in April 2009 at the Marquis Theatre and closed in September 2009. Block starred as Judy Bernly, the frazzled divorcée, the role played by Jane Fonda in the film. For this role Block was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.[8]

In 2009, Block released her debut album through PS Classics entitled This Place I Know. Although the album failed to chart, it was a hit with critics with some hailing it as the best album that has come out of the Broadway community in some time.[9] More recently she has done concert work in London's West End. In February 2010 she performed live at the New Players Theatre, London.[10]

Block was seen as Grizabella in the Municipal Opera Production production of Cats, which ran from July 19–25, 2010.[11] Block also starred as Sonia Walsk alongside Jason Alexander in the Reprise Theatre Company's production of They're Playing Our Song, which played at the UCLA Freud Playhouse for two weeks from September 28–October 10, 2010.[12]

Block made her off-Broadway debut as Gloria Mitchell in the play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage alongside Karen Olivo, and David Garrison. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark played at Second Stage Theatre through June 12, 2011.[13][14] Entertainment Weekly wrote that Block's performance in the show was, "terrifically over-the-top".[15] She received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.[16]

Block starred as Reno Sweeney in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes first playing the role for three weeks in November 2011 while Sutton Foster was away filming a pilot episode.[17][18] Block performed with co-star Colin Donnell on the 2011 CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade.[19] Block returned to the role on March 15, 2012, as Foster left the production permanently on March 11.[20] She remained with the show until its closure on July 8, 2012.[21]

Block performed the lead role in Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which ran from November 13, 2012, to March 10, 2013. For this role, she was nominated for another Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.[22][23]

From November 14 to December 15, 2013, Block appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Little Miss Sunshine at Second Stage Theatre as Sheryl Hoover.[24] For this role, she received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.[25]

Block played Trina in the 2016 Broadway revival of Falsettos directed by James Lapine. She was joined by Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells who played Marvin and Whizzer, respectively.[26] The musical began previews on September 29, 2016,[27] and opened officially on October 27, 2016. The limited run ended on January 8, 2017. For her performance, Block received rave reviews, with The New York Times writing that she is "better here than ever".[28] She received nominations for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.

Block had a recurring role in the NBC series Rise, playing Patricia, a devout Catholic who ends up at odds with her husband over their son’s involvement in a controversial high school play.[29]

Block plays singer Cher in the biomusical, The Cher Show. The musical played an out-of-town tryout in Chicago at the Oriental Theatre, beginning on June 12, 2018 and running through July 15. The production opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre in December 2018.[30] For this performance, she won the 2019 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.[31] She also won an Outer Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a Drama League Award.

Personal life[edit]

Block married actor, Sebastian Arcelus, on October 25, 2007. Arcelus starred alongside Block in the first national tour of Wicked as the Fiyero replacement from January to October 2006 and again on Broadway from October to December 2007.[32] They have one daughter, Vivienne Helena Arcelus, who was born January 19, 2015.[33]

Credits[edit]

Broadway[edit]

Year Play Role Notes
2003–04 The Boy from Oz Liza Minnelli Broadway debut
2007 The Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley
2007–08 Wicked Elphaba
2009 9 to 5 Judy Bernly
2011–12 Anything Goes Reno Sweeney Replacement for Sutton Foster
2012–13 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Edwin Drood/Alice Nutting Tony Award nomination
2016–17 Falsettos Trina Tony Award nomination
2018–19 The Cher Show Star (Cher) Tony Award Winner

Out-of-town tryouts[edit]

Year Play Role Location Notes
2003 Wicked Elphaba (u/s) San Francisco Did not continue to Broadway
2006 The Pirate Queen Grace O'Malley Chicago
2008 9 to 5 Judy Bernly Los Angeles
2018 The Cher Show Star (Cher) Chicago

Off-Broadway[edit]

Year Play Role
2011 By the Way, Meet Vera Stark Gloria Mitchell
2013 Little Miss Sunshine Sheryl Hoover
2017 Brigadoon Meg Brockie

National tours[edit]

Year Play Role
2005–06 Wicked Elphaba

Readings[edit]

Year Play Role
2000 Wicked Elphaba
2006 In This House N/A
How the Nurse Feels N/A
2007 Bye Bye Birdie Rosie Alvarez
9 to 5 Judy Bernly
2010 My American Family N/A
2011 The Last Ship N/A

Regional[edit]

Year Play Role Notes
N/A Little Shop of Horrors Audrey
N/A The Will Rogers Follies Betty Blake (understudy)
N/A Guys and Dolls Sarah Brown
N/A Pygmalion: the True Story Aphrodite
N/A Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Narrator
N/A Call Me Madam Sally Adams (understudy)
N/A Triumph of Love Corine
N/A The Grass Harp Baby Love
N/A I Love a Piano Ginger
N/A Let Me Sing Molly
N/A Mary Poppins Mary Poppins
N/A Grease Rizzo
1997 Damn Yankees Gloria Thorpe
South Pacific Nellie Forbush
1999 Bye Bye Birdie Rosie
Bells Are Ringing Gwynne
2000 James Joyce's The Dead Mary Jane Morkan
Funny Girl Fanny Brice
2001 Fiddler on the Roof Tzeitel
Oliver! Nancy
Haven Ruth Gruber
2002 Crazy for You Polly
Godspell Robin
2010 Cats Grizabella The Muny
They're Playing Our Song Sonia Walsk Reprise Theatre Company (Los Angeles)

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Herself
2006 James Marshall's Cinderella Narrator Voice role
2008 Entertainment Tonight Herself Promotion for 9 to 5
2009 CMT Insider
The View
The Visa Signature Tony Awards Season Celebration
Good Day New York
63rd Tony Awards
2011 CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade TV special event
2013 67th Tony Awards Nominee
Homeland Patricia Cooper 1 episode
2016 Orange Is The New Black CO Francine Dennis 3 episodes
2017 Madam Secretary Abby Whitman 4 episodes
2018 Rise Patricia Saunders Recurring role, 8 episodes

Concerts[edit]

  • "Broadway Stands Up for Freedom: We The People" at Town Hall with many others (2018)
  • "The Pros and Con-cert" at The Cabaret in Indianapolis (2018)
  • "Stephanie J. Block Live at Lincoln Center" filmed for PBS (2018)
  • "It's Christmastime In The City" with Brian D'Arcy James and the New York Pops (2015)
  • "On Broadway" with Andrew Rannells and the New York Pops (2014)
  • "Tapestry of Song" and "Voices of Youth" (The Indianapolis Children's Choir) with Henry Leck, Josh Pedde and Cheryl West (2014)
  • Do You Hear the People Sing? with Peter Lockyer, Terrence Mann, Lea Salonga, Marie Zamora, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Choir (2011)
  • Broadway on the Beach with Doug LaBrecque and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra (2011)
  • Pops on the River: Summer Lovin' with Doug LaBrecque and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra (2011)
  • Broadway & the American Songbook (Wicked Divas) with Julia Murney and the Boston Pops (2011)
  • Broadway Voices solo concert in Garner, NC (2011)
  • Wicked Divas with Julia Murney and the Utah Symphony Orchestra (2011)
  • Wicked Divas with Julia Murney and the Odgen Symphony Ballet (2011)
  • Marvin Hamlisch: Broadway's Greatest Moments at The Krannert Center (2011)
  • Solo concert presented by the Austin Cabaret Theatre (2011)
  • Wicked Divas with Erin Mackey and the Cleveland Pops (2010)
  • The Best of Broadway with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra (2010)
  • Wicked Divas with Julia Murney and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (2010)
  • Don't Stop Believing at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA (2010)
  • Broadway Comes to Tampa (2010)
  • Stephanie J. Block in Concert at The New Players Theatre (2010)
  • xoxoXMAS at Birdland (2009)
  • Scott Alan: Just Me...And Them at the Leicester Square Theatre (2009)
  • True Colors Cabaret (2009)
  • Nothing Like a Dame at New World Stages (2009)
  • Visa Signature Tony Awards Preview Concert at the Hudson Theatre (2009)
  • Defying Inequality at the Gershwin Theatre (2009)
  • The Yellow Brick Road Not Taken at the Gershwin Theatre (2008)
  • Mr. Green's Opus at Birdland (2008)
  • Block Party at Birdland (2007)
  • Billy Stritch and the Girls at Birdland (2007)
  • The Broadway Musicals of 1925 (2007)
  • An Evening with Andrew Lippa (2006)
  • Block Party at Birdland (2006)
  • Broadway Comes to Tampa (2006)
  • Valentine at Birdland (2005)
  • All Smiles at Birdland (2004)

Discography[edit]

Cast recordings
  • The Cher Show - Original Broadway Cast Recording (2019)
  • Falsettos - 2016 Broadway Cast Recording (2016)
  • The Mystery Of Edwin Drood - New 2013 Broadway Cast Recording (2013)
  • 9 to 5: The Musical - Original Broadway Cast Recording (2009)
  • The Pirate Queen - Original Broadway Cast Recording (2007)
  • The Boy from Oz - Original Broadway Cast Recording (2003)
Collaborative projects
  • [Sorta] Love Songs (2010)
  • Chasing the Day (2010)
  • Wicked: 5th Anniversary Cast Recording (2008)
  • The Broadway Musicals Cut-Outs (2007)
  • Dreaming Wide Awake (2007)
  • Broadway Unplugged 2004 (2004)
  • A Joyful Christmas (2004)
  • Thankful (2004)
  • The Broadway Musicals of 1925 (2003)
Solo albums
  • This Place I Know (2009)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Show Result
2000 LA Robby Award Best Actress Funny Girl Won
2001 Critics Table Award Best Actress Oliver! Won
2002 LA Ovation Award Best Actress Crazy for You Nominated
LA Robby Award Best Supporting Actress Triumph of Love Won
2006 Helen Hayes Award Best Actress in a Non-Resident Production Wicked Won
2007 Drama League Award Distinguished Performance The Pirate Queen Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Diva Performance Nominated
Carbonell Award Best Actress in a Non-Resident Production Wicked Won
2008 Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Female Replacement Nominated
2009 Favorite Diva Performance 9 to 5 Nominated
Favorite Actress in a Musical Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
2011 Kevin Kline Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Cats Nominated
LA Ovation Award Best Actress They're Playing Our Song Nominated
2012 Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Female Replacement Anything Goes Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark Nominated
2013 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Diva Performance Won
Favorite Actress in a Musical Nominated
2014 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Little Miss Sunshine Nominated
2017 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Falsettos Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Diva Performance Nominated
Favorite Funny Performance Nominated
Favorite Featured Actress in a Musical Nominated
2019 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical The Cher Show Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Won
Broadway.com Audience Awards[34] Favorite Diva Performance Nominated
Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Conversation with Actor: Stephanie J. Block - Roundabout Theatre Company Official Blog". blog.roundabouttheatre.org. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  2. ^ "Person Page". thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  3. ^ Michelson, Noah (2009-06-16). "Fast & Furious with 9 to 5's Stephanie J. Block". Out. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Stephanie J. Block on Bonding with Claire Danes & Playing 'Momma Hen' in Little Miss Sunshine". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  5. ^ "USATODAY.com - List of nominees for 2004 Tony Awards". www.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  6. ^ Broadway's Pirate Queen Rolls Up Her Sails June 17 Retrieved June 9, 2014
  7. ^ Ellis Makes Broadway Debut in Wicked June 17; Houdyshell Returns Archived 2009-12-22 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved June 9, 2014
  8. ^ Drama Desk Nominees Announced; 9 to 5 Garners Record-Breaking 15 Noms Archived 2014-06-01 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved April 29, 2013
  9. ^ [1] BWW's Mid-Summer CD Review Roundup Special!, August 8, 2009
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam."9 to 5's Block to Offer London Concerts in 2010" Archived 2009-12-27 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, December 24, 2009
  11. ^ 2010 Muny Season To Feature Gary Beach, Stephanie J. Block, et al.
  12. ^ "Stephanie J. Block Will Join Jason Alexander for Reprise Song; New Tune Added" Archived 2010-08-29 at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com
  13. ^ Stephanie J. Block, Karen Olivo and Daniel Breaker Cast in Second Stage's Meet Vera Stark Archived 2011-01-19 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "'By the Way, Meet Vera' Stark Gets Extra Two Weeks in NYC Archived 2011-05-16 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  15. ^ "Stage Review 'By the Way, Meet Vera' Stark ew.com
  16. ^ "Drama Desk Nominations Announced; 'Death Takes a Holiday' and 'Follies' Lead the Pack" Archived 2014-08-09 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  17. ^ Sutton Foster Takes ANYTHING GOES Hiatus in Nov. for TV Pilot; Stephanie J. Block Steps in
  18. ^ "Stephanie J. Block Will Fill in for Sutton Foster in Broadway's Anything Goes Starting Nov. 4", playbill.com
  19. ^ Stephanie J. Block & ANYTHING GOES to Perform at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
  20. ^ She's 'De-Lovely' and She's Coming Back! Stephanie J. Block to Return to ANYTHING GOES March 15th
  21. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Jones, Kenneth. "Tony-Winning Revival of Anything Goes, With Stephanie J. Block and Joel Grey, Sails Into the Sunset July 8" playbill.com, July 8, 2012
  22. ^ Nominations Announced for 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards; Giant and Hands on a Hardbody Lead the Pack Archived June 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved April 29, 2013
  23. ^ "Nominations Announced for 67th Annual Tony Awards; Kinky Boots Earns 13 Nominations" Archived May 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine; retrieved April 30, 2013.
  24. ^ Hannah Rose Nordberg, Will Swenson and Stephanie J. Block Hit the Road in Little Miss Sunshine, Opening Off-Broadway Nov. 14 Archived 2013-12-20 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved December 19, 2013
  25. ^ 2014 Drama Desk Award Nominations - GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE Leads with 12; Followed by BRIDGES, FUN HOME, ALADDIN, ROCKY & More broadwayworld, retrieved April 25, 2014
  26. ^ Paulson, Michael. "‘Falsettos’ Revival Casts Its Leads: Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells and Stephanie J. Block" nytimes.com, March 31, 2016
  27. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Marvin’s Back with Whizzer, as 'Falsettos' Revival Begins" Playbill, September 29, 2016
  28. ^ Isherwood, Charles (October 27, 2016). "Review: 'Falsettos,' a Perfect Musical, an Imperfect Family". The New York Times.
  29. ^ ‘Rise’: Stephanie J. Block & Mark Tallman Set To Recur In NBC Drama Series Deadline, Retrieved August 31, 2017
  30. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie. "Stephanie J. Block Will Play Cher in the Upcoming 'Cher Show' " Playbill, March 27, 2018
  31. ^ 2019 Tony Awards Nominees - Complete List! HADESTOWN Leads with 14 Nominations Broadway World, May 1, 2019
  32. ^ "Broadway Pets Special! Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus on Their 'Humping Casanova' Doggy". Broadway World. July 9, 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  33. ^ "It's a Girl! Stephanie J. Block and Sebastian Arcelus Welcome Baby". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  34. ^ Wontorek, Paul (May 7, 2019). "Fan-Picked 2019 Broadway.com Audience Choice Award Nominations Announced; Be More Chill Leads With 12". Broadway.com.

External links[edit]