OBIE and Drama Desk winner Donna Lynne Champlin graduated with high honors from Carnegie Mellon University in 1993. A Princess Grace Foundation award winner and a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, 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 starring as “Dorothy” in The Wizard of Oz with the celebrated Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.
Champlin made her New York Debut in 1994 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 in 2000 as “Mary Jane” in James Joyce’s The Dead was quickly followed by another Broadway turn as “Honoria Glossop” in the Alan Ayckbourn/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical By Jeeves in 2001. In 2002, came the opportunity to work with Carol Burnett and Hal Prince in Broadway’s Hollywood Arms – the dramatization of Carol’s biography One More Time, in which Champlin played the iconic comedienne. Critics across the country proclaimed Champlin a “show-stopping star in the making” and described her performance as “brilliant”, “a triumph”, and “a tour de force.”
Next on Broadway, Champlin played “Pirelli” (and the accordion, flute and piano) in the groundbreaking 2005 revival of Sweeney Todd where the press called her both “hilarious” and “superb”. She then joined the Broadway company of Billy Elliot as “Lesley” in 2009 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 numerous cast albums including See Rock City, Sweeney Todd, By Jeeves, three and My Life With Albertine as well as many voice-overs.
Her film credits include Birdman, A Secret Promise, The Audition, The Dark Half, By Jeeves, and Sweet Surrender. And while her TV credits include The Good Wife, Law And Order, Mother’s Day, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 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.
Off Broadway, her performance as “Cora Flood” in the 2009 production of The Dark At The Top of the Stairs at The Transport Group (hailed by the NY press as “perfection”, “brilliant” and “a privilege to watch”), earned her the prestigious 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” for not one but three separate productions including as “Jane Austen” in 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 and “Sophie” in Master Class opposite Edie Falco at the Broadhurst produced by the Metropolitan Opera.
Champlin also continues to perform her critically acclaimed one-woman show Finishing The Hat in NYC (SRO at Birdland, Ars Nova and The Laurie Beechman Theatres) and across the country while teaching master classes in acting at many prestigious colleges such as CMU, Hartt and NYU. Also of particular importance to Champlin is her fundraising for three of her favorite charitable organizations, BC-EFA, the ALSA and The Actors’ Fund.
In addition to being an actress, Donna Lynne also works as a director, writer, stand-up comedienne, pianist, composer, musical director and choreographer. 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’.
Donna Lynne lives in New York City with her husband, actor Andrew Arrow and her son, Charlie.
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