Donna Lynne Champlin
Initial PGF Award: Theater Scholarship, 1992
DONNA LYNNE CHAMPLIN Actress/Singer/Writer A native of Rochester, New York, Princess Grace Grant and OBIE award winner Donna Lynne Champlin has been performing since her very first tap solo in a local variety show at the age of four.
Her childhood was a veritable whirlwind of lessons, community theatre productions, and national and international competitions in voice, piano, flute, theatre and dance. Having had the good fortune in her career to use these varied talents, she has deservedly earned the reputation for being a proverbial “triple threat.” Champlin graduated with high honors from the prestigious Musical Theatre Program at Carnegie Mellon University. She also received intensive training in Shakespeare and Chekhov at Oxford University on the Advanced Acting Scholarship and The Vira I. Heinz Grant to study abroad. While still in college, she received her Equity card playing “Dorothy” in The Wizard of Oz with the celebrated Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
Champlin made her New York Debut at Carnegie Hall in a concert version of Very Warm for May in the title role under the direction of acclaimed conductor John McGlinn, and her Broadway debut followed in James Joyce’s The Dead, in the role of “Mary Jane.” In her next Broadway turn, she earned enthusiastic reviews as the delightfully eccentric “Honoria Glossop” in the Alan Ayckbourn/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical By Jeeves. Next came the opportunity to work with Carol Burnett and Hal Prince in Hollywood Arms – the dramatization of Carol’s biography. National reviewers proclaimed Champlin a "show-stopping star in the making" and described her performance as "brilliant", "a triumph", and "a tour de force."
In her most recent Broadway appearance, Champlin played "Pirelli" (and the accordion, flute and piano) in the groundbreaking Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd where critics characterized her performance as both “hilarious” and “superb.” Her latest Off-Broadway performance was as "Cora Flood" in the production of The Dark At The Top of the Stairs and hailed by the NY press as “perfection“, “brilliant“ and “a privilege to watch.” This performance also earned her the prestigious 2007 Best Actress OBIE award.
Previous Off-Broadway appearances include First Lady Suite, My Life With Albertine, The Audience, Reunion, and City Center Encores! Bloomer Girl. Other roles include what critics called “a high octane performance” as legendary hoofer “Ruby Keeler” in the national tour of Jolson.
Throughout her career, Champlin has received numerous awards besides the OBIE, including the prestigious Princess Grace Award from The Princess Grace Foundation, the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Grant from The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and the title of National Tap Dance Champion for four consecutive years from the Dance Educators of America. In 2006 she was recognized as the ‘Outstanding Actress’ for her work in Flight of the Lawnchair Man at the New York Music Theatre Festival.
Her film credits include My Father's Will, The Audition, The Dark Half, By Jeeves, and Sweet Surrender. TV credits include 2000 and 2006 Annual Tony Awards on CBS, The View (guest star), Law And Order, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and Regis and Kelly and Emily Dickinson of the PBS Voices and Visions series.
Donna Lynne is involved in many new works and recently created the roles of "Boonah's Mother" in the new Henry Kreiger/Bill Russel musical Up In The Air at the Kennedy Center, "Irene Kerrigan" in the pre-Broadway workshop of The Molly Maguires, "The Mother" in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick at The Barrington Stage Company. She can be heard on the cast albums of Sweeney Todd, By Jeeves, 3hree, and Reunion as well as Our Heart Sings, The Lady and the Slipper and Have a Heart (as well as many voice-overs).
Champlin also continues to perform her critically acclaimed one-woman show Finishing The Hat in NYC (most recently SRO at both ARS NOVA and BIRDLAND) and across the country, along with teaching acting master classes at many prestigious colleges such as Carnegie Mellon University, Hartt and NYU. For more information please go to www.donnalynnechamplin.com.