A native of Rochester, New York, OBIE and Drama Desk 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 “quadruple threat.”
Even before beginning her professional career (and graduating college) DL had won 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, The Anna Sosenko Trust, The Charlie Willard Memorial Grant and the title of National Tap Dance Champion for four consecutive years from the Dance Educators of America.
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 starring as “May” in a concert version of Very Warm for May under the direction of acclaimed conductor John McGlinn. Her Broadway debut followed in James Joyce’s The Dead, in the role of “Mary Jane” and 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 in which Champlin played the iconic comedienne. 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 2006 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. In 2009 she joined the Broadway company of BILLY ELLIOT as “Lesley” and simultaneously self-produced her solo debut CD “Old Friends” which was voted “One of the Best Ten Albums of 2009” and was hailed by critics as “brilliant”, “a masterpiece” and “breath taking”. She can also be heard on many cast albums including See Rock City, Sweeney Todd, By Jeeves, 3hree, My Life With Albertine,Reunion as well as Our Heart Sings, The Lady and the Slipper and Have a Heart (as well as many voice-overs).
Off Broadway, her performance as "Cora Flood" in the production of The Dark At The Top of the Stairs, hailed by the NY press as “perfection“, “brilliant“ and “a privilege to watch”, earned her the prestigious 2007 OBIE award. DL went on to win the 2013 Drama Desk Award for her performance as “Woman #3” in Working, The Musical at the Prospect Theatre and the NYMF Award for “Outstanding Performance” in not one but three productions namely as “Gracie” in Flight of the Lawnchair Man, “Kate” in the daring and brave new musical about child abuse, Love Jerry in and as “Jane Austen” in the innovative take on a beloved classic Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Other favorite Off-Broadway credits include “Audrey” opposite Oliver Platt’s “Touchstone” in Shakespeare In The Park’s As You Like It, Terrence McNally’s world premiere of And Away We Go, The Transport Group’s Almost Maine, See Rock City, Bury The Dead, First Lady Suite, Playwrights Horizon’s My Life With Albertine, The Audience, Reunion, and City Center Encores! Bloomer Girl. National Tour roles include what critics called “a high octane performance” as legendary hoofer “Ruby Keeler” in the national tour of Jolson.
No stranger to concert work, DL has sung as a soloist with some of the most illustrious orchestras in the world including the London Symphony and the Rochester Philharmonic. She has received rave notices for her many concerts with the Town Hall Series, her “Sophie” in Master Class opposite Edie Falco at the Broadhurst produced by the Metropolitan Opera and performed alongside the legendary Len Cariou in the Simply Sondheim inaugural concert celebrating the opening of the new Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.
Her film credits include Birdman, My Father's Will, The Audition, The Dark Half,By Jeeves, and Sweet Surrender. And while her TV credits include The Good Wife,Mother’s Day, Law And Order, Law and Order SVU, The Annual Tony Awards on CBS, The View (guest star), The Rosie O'Donnell Show,Regis and Kelly and Emily Dickinson of the PBS Voices and Visions series, she is perhaps most well known for her work as the caustic “Kim Gifford’ on the hit web-series Submissions Only.
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. Also of particular importance to Champlin is her regular participation in many benefits for three of her favorite charitable organizations, BCEFA, the ALSA and The Actors’ Fund.
Offstage, Champlin’s life is as colorful and as versatile as the characters she brings to life onstage. In addition to being an accomplished performer, director, writer, stand-up comedienne, pianist, composer, musical director and choreographer, she enjoys an eclectic array of hobbies and special interests including metaphysics, mystic history and philosophy. A free-lance writer for Comedy Central, she is currently working on two books; a humorous non-fiction book inspired by her (mis)adventures in the theatre and the other a ‘how-to of comedy’. DLC lives in New York City with her husband, actor Andrew Arrow (www.andrewarrow.net) and her son, Charlie. For more information please go to www.donnalynnechamplin.com.
DLC AWARDS AND HONORS
2013 Drama Desk Award for WORKING THE MUSICAL
2007 OBIE award for "Cora" in THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS
NYMF 2011 "Outstanding Individual Performance" Award
NYMF 2008 "Excellence Award" for Acting
NYMF 2011 "Excellence Award" for Acting
DL's solo debut album OLD FRIENDS is voted "One of the Top Ten Vocal Albums of 2009"
The Anna Sosenko Assist Trust 2010
NYMF 2008 "Outstanding Individual Performance" Award
CITY Spirit Award 2009
NYMF 2008 "Outstanding Acting Ensemble" Award
2006 NYMF "Excellence Award" for Acting
Princess Grace Grant Recipient for Theatre
Shakespeare and Chekhov Scholarship at Oxford University
2006 "Special Citation"
Charles Williard Memorial Award
"Best Leading Actress" Award
2006 "Best Revival (Musical)" Tony Award Nomination
2006 "Best Musical Revival" Drama Desk Award
2000 "Best Musical" Tony Award Nomination
2006 "Best Revival (Musical)" Drama League Award
Presidential Scholar in the ARTS
Zonta Club Dorothy Stickney Grant
4 time- National DEA Tap Champion
NFAA-ARTS Level 1 Grant
Endorsed by Donna Lynne Champlin and The Talent House. COPYRIGHT (c) 2007. All Rights Reserved.