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Debbie Shapiro

Debbie Shapiro

Debbie Gravitte has had a varied career, taking her from the Broadway stage to the Symphony Hall and points in between. She won the prestigious Tony Award® for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, along with a Drama Desk Award Nomination as well as the New York Showstopper Award.

Born in Los Angeles as Debbie Shapiro, she made her Broadway debut in the original cast of They’re Playing Our Song (1979) – the musical by Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager, and Neil Simon – and went on to appear in Perfectly Frank (Drama Desk Award Nomination), Blues in the Night, Ain’t Broadway Grand, Zorba, Chicago, and Les Misérables. Gravitte has also appeared in the Encores! series productions of The Boys from Syracuse, Tenderloin, and Carnival at New York’s City Center.

In addition to her work in musical theater, Gravitte has performed a nightclub act worldwide – from New York City’s Rainbow and Stars, to London’s Pizza on the Park, to Atlantic City, where she has performed with such talents as Jay Leno, Harry Anderson, and the legendary George Burns.

Gravitte has sung with numerous symphony orchestras, including the National Symphony (with Marvin Hamlisch), Boston Pops, Cleveland Orchestra, and the Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Utah, St. Louis, Houston, and San Diego symphonies. Overseas, she has sung with the London and Birmingham symphony orchestras, the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra (Denmark), Stockholm Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, among others.

On television, Gravitte costarred on the CBS series Trial and Error and NBC’s Pursuit of Happiness and starred in several specials for PBS, including Live from the Kennedy Center, Boston Pops Celebrate Bernstein, Rodgers and Hart for Great Performances, and Ira Gershwin’s 100th Birthday Celebration (from London’s Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall). She returned to Carnegie Hall with Skitch Henderson and New York Pops.

Among the recordings on which Gravitte appears is the recent Sony collection Broadway Scene StealersThe Women, which features her rendition of the long-neglected Irving Berlin number “Mr. Monotony.” Originally dropped from both Hollywood’s Easter Parade and Broadway’s Call Me Madam, “Mr. Monotony” turned up years later in the retrospective Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, where it finally found the audience it always deserved. Gravitte can also be heard on the full original Broadway cast recording of Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.

Gravitte recently debuted with the New York City Ballet singing in Peter Martin’s Thou Swell at Lincoln Center. She appeared with Bette Midler in the film Isn’t She Great? (playing Eydie Gormé in a biopic of the novelist Jacqueline Susann) and can be heard as one of the voices in The Little Mermaid.