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Stephanie Janette Block, born on September 19, 1972 in Brea, California, is a Tony Award-winning actress and Broadway favorite, perhaps best known for originating the titular role in The Cher Show on Broadway.
Block was educated at St. Angela Merici Parish School, Rosary High School, and the Orange County High School of the Arts and began her professional career working in regional theatre productions. Her early credits include Funny Girl, Crazy for You, Oliver!, James Joyce's The Dead, and Bells Are Ringing. In addition, she was also the original Belle in the Disneyland production of Beauty and the Beast.
Her big break in theatre came after being cast as Liza Minnelli in the 2003 Broadway premiere of The Boy from Oz, opposite Hugh Jackman, from October 2003 to September 2004. In March 2005, she originated the leading role of Elphaba in the national tour of Wicked, having previously read the role in the original workshops and serving as Idina Menzel's understudy for the 2003 San Francisco world premiere. She won a Helen Hayes Award for her performance and remained with the production until March 2006. She returned to Broadway in March 2007 as Grace O'Malley in the short-lived Broadway premiere of The Pirate Queen and then reprised the role of Elphaba, this time in the Broadway production of Wicked, from October 2007 to June 2008.
Her next Broadway outing was to originate the role of Judy Bernly in the 2009 Broadway premiere of 9 to 5, starring alongside Allison Janney and Megan Hilty and earing her first Drama Desk Award nomination for her performance. Following her performance as Grizabella in the Municipal Opera production of Cats in St. Louis in July 2010 and as Sonia Walsk in the Reprise Theatre Company's production of They're Playing Our Song in Los Angeles from September to October 2010, she would make her Off-Broadway debut as Gloria Mitchell in Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark for Second Stage Theater, which ran from April to June 2011 and resulted in a second Drama Desk Award nomination.
Block returned to Broadway in the role of Reno Sweeney in the 2011 revival of Anything Goes in November 2011 (covering for Sutton Foster) and returned to the role from March to July 2012 following Foster's departure. She was then cast in the lead role of Roundabout Theatre Company's 2012 Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, earning her a first Tony Award nomination (as well as another Drama Desk Award nomination) in 2013. From October to December 2013, she returned off Broadway to Second Stage Theater and played the role of Sheryl in Little Miss Sunshine, picking up a fourth Drama Desk Award nomination in 2014.
Block co-starred in the 2016 revival of William Finn and James Lapine's cult musical Falsettos in a show-stealing performance as Trina. Falsettos played a limited engagement from September 2016 to January 2017, resulting in Block's second Tony Award nomination and fifth Drama Desk nomination. She then appeared as Meg Brockie in New York City Center's 70th anniversary concert production of Lerner and Loewe's beloved musical Brigadoon.
Although primarily known for her work on stage, Block has also appeared on such hit television series as Homeland (as Patricia Cooper in 2013), Orange Is the New Black (as CO Francine Dennis in 2016), and Madam Secretary (as Abby Whitman in 2017). She was then seen as Patricia Saunders in NBC's musical-themed series Rise in 2018.
Block originated the leading role of Star in the world premiere of The Cher Show, based on the life and music of the iconic singer, at Chicago's Oriental Theatre from June 12 to July 15, 2018, and on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre from November 1, 2018 through August 18, 2019. She had her first Tony Award win in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical.
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