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Stephanie Ann D'Abruzzo Shemin (born December 7, 1971) is an American actress, voice actress, singer, and puppeteer. She has performed various Muppets in the TV program Sesame Street. She held starring roles on Oobi and The Book of Pooh. She was one of the original cast members of the stage musical Avenue Q, receiving a nomination for the 2004 Best Actress in a Musical.
Stephanie Ann D'Abruzzo
December 7, 1971
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, voice actress, singer, puppeteer|
Craig Shemin (m. 1995)
D'Abruzzo was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1971, and grew up in McMurray, a Pittsburgh suburb she has described as a "plastic bubble kind of town." She graduated from Peters Township High School in 1989 and attended the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, a summer program for gifted high school students.
D'Abruzzo is a 1993 graduate of the Radio/Television/Film program at Northwestern University. At the university's Communications Residential College (CRC), she could often be caught watching (and, as it turns out, studying) Sesame Street. She had a large collection of Muppet recordings, which she compiled into a mixtape that she auctioned off for dorm fundraisers.
Eventually, D'Abruzzo began to consider puppetry as a career, in part as a solution to finding acting roles after she "gained more than the Freshman 15 and [got] a bad perm." D'Abruzzo's production of a puppet television show called Freeform won the National College Emmy award for comedy.
D'Abruzzo's other roles at Northwestern included Mildred in the short film The Ballad of Hank and Mildred and as herself in The Glance. While in college, she also performed with a campus improvisational comedy troupe.
D'Abruzzo has spent much of her career performing as a puppeteer in children's television, but she is known for originating the roles of single schoolteacher Kate Monster and sultry chanteuse Lucy the Slut in 2003 in the Broadway musical Avenue Q. She garnered acclaim for her performance of the dual role, including a nomination for the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, a Drama Desk nomination, the Theatre World Award, and the 2003-2004 Outer Critics Circle Special Ensemble Award.
Other stage credits include I Love You Because (Off-Broadway) (2006), If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (Off-Broadway, TheaterworksUSA, 2006), Carnival (for City Center Encores!, 2002), Kiss and Makeup (New York City Fringe Festival, 2007), and Austentatious (New York Musical Theatre Festival) in 2007.
D'Abruzzo has performed in developmental readings of Avenue Q, I Love You Because, Oh, What a Lovely War! (2005), The $trip, The Medium at Large, and The Green Room. She has also been featured in several concerts and benefits, including Skitch Henderson's New Faces of 2004 at Carnegie Hall, Encores! 10th Anniversary Bash, Chess (for the Actors' Fund, 2003), Children and Art: Stephen Sondheim's 75th Birthday Gala (2005), and Stephen Sondheim's 75th: The Concert (at the Hollywood Bowl, 2005).
D'Abruzzo appears on the original cast recordings of Avenue Q and I Love You Because and performs the parts of "Sheldon" and "Deb" on the studio recording of Finding Nemo – The Musical, a musical production performed several times each day at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Since 1993, D'Abruzzo has performed as various Muppets in Sesame Street, including a notable performance singing with R.E.M. in a new version of their song "Shiny Happy People" called "Furry Happy Monsters". From 2000 to 2005, she appeared as Uma and Inka on the Nickelodeon series Oobi. D'Abruzzo worked on Oobi along with her husband, Craig Shemin, who was part of the show's writing staff.
Her other puppeteering and voice work includes appearances in Pinky Dinky Doo, Sheep in the Big City, The Book of Pooh, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1997), and Jack's Big Music Show, along with various commercials and promos. She guest starred in a musical episode of Scrubs titled "My Musical", as a patient with a mysterious ailment that caused her to interpret speech as Broadway-esque song and dance numbers. She sang in five of the nine songs. Four of the episode's songs were co-written by Avenue Q composers Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. She later appeared in a cameo in episode "My Finale", as series protagonist J.D. leaves Sacred Heart for the final time.
- The Varsity Cafe (TV, 1990) - Frieda
- Sesame Street (2000-present) - Prairie Dawn, Elizabeth, Lulu, Curly Bear, Additional Muppets
- Elmo Says BOO! (1997) - Narrator
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (TV, 1997) - Little Cat B, Annie DeLoo, Sue Snue, Additional Muppets
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999)  - Grizzy, Pestie
- The Book of Pooh: Stories from the Heart (TV, 2001)  - Kessie
- Animal Mechanicals - Unicorn
- Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map (2013) - Velma Dinkley and Shirley
- "Kate Monster interviews Stephanie". Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- "Stephanie D'Abruzzo". Broadway.com. March 24, 2004. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- Owen, Rob. "Q&A with Stephanie D'Abruzzo" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 14, 2007
- "Northwestern alumna and Sesame Street Master Puppeteer Breathes Life into Art" northwestern.edu, March 2, 2017
- "From Sesame Street to Broadway". Northwestern Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- "Ask a Star: Stephanie D'Abruzzo". Broadway.com. August 17, 2005. Retrieved September 12, 2007.
- "Northwestern grad's student project proved avenue to Broadway". WLS-TV. November 8, 2005. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- Gans, Andrew. "DIVA TALK: A Chat with Avenue Q's Stephanie D'Abruzzo Plus News of Egan, Holliday and MORE" Playbill, September 26, 2003
- "Stephanie D'Abruzzo Credits, Awards" Playbill Vault, retrieved September 3, 2018
- "Awards 2003-2004" outercritics.org, retrieved JUne 8, 2019
- Wilson, Gregory. "A CurtainUp Review. 'I Love You Because'" curtainup.com, February 13, 2006
- Suskin, Steven. " 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie & Other Story Books' " Variety, July 21, 2006
- Carnival! broadwayworld.com, retrieved September 3, 2018
- Gans, Andrew. " Kiss and Makeup, with D'Abruzzo, Jenkins and Sabella-Mills, Begins Fringe Run Aug. 20" Playbill, August 20, 2007
- Hetrick, Adam. "D'Abruzzo to Take Part in 'Austentatious' For New York Musical Theatre Festival" Playbill, August 7, 2007
- " Oh, What a Lovely War! Workshop" broadwayworld.com, retrieved September 3, 2018
- " Chess Actors Fund" ibdb.com, retrieved September 3, 2018
- Children and Art broadwayworld.com, retrieved September 3, 2018
- Gans, Andrew. "Burnett, Cook, Peters, McDonald, Stritch and More Salute Sondheim July 8 at Hollywood Bowl" Playbill, July 8, 2005
- Finding Nemo the Musical disneyworld.disney.go.com, retrieved April 26, 2019
- " 'Showbusiness: The Road to Broadway' Cast and Crew" allmovie.com, retrieved April 26, 2019
- "Stephanie D'Abruzzo Makes Cabaret Debut May 23 at Birdland". Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- "Stars on the Street - Celebrity Guests Rub Shoulders With Big Bird and Friends". Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- Gans, Andrew (September 26, 2003). "Diva Talk: A Chat with Avenue Q's Stephanie D'Abruzzo". Playbill. New York, NY: TotalTheater. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- "D'Abruzzio TV Credits" tvguide.com, retrieved September 3, 2018
- "Scrubbing Up". TheatreMania. January 3, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Stephanie D'Abruzzo Plus Spring Awakening on CD". Playbill.com. January 12, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- Watkins, Gwynne."How Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Puppeteer Made a Talking Backpack So Emotional" Vulture, June 12, 2018
- "Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Craig (sic) Shemin" The New York Times, September 17, 1995
- "D'Abruzzo Filmography" tcm.com, retrieved September 3, 2018
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss tvguide.com, retrieved September 3, 2018
- Lipp, Chaz (February 15, 2014). "DVD Review: Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map". The Morton Report. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
- The official website of Stephanie D’Abruzzo
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo at the Internet Broadway Database
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo on IMDb
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo and John Tartaglia - Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing.org
- THE Q INTERVIEW: Kate Monster interviews Stephanie
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo video interview parts 1 and 2 at the Scrubs Production Blog
- BroadwayWorld.com interview with Stephanie D'Abruzzo, June 13, 2007
| Performer of Prairie Dawn
2016 – present
| Curly Bear
2003 - present
| Performer of Mrs. Crustworthy
2016 – present