Stephanie D'Abruzzo is an American actress and puppeteer. She grew up near Pittsburgh and cannot remember a time when she was not preforming. She claims to have never gotton staight fright. In high school, she took science courses over the summer so she could take more humanties and theatre arts classes during the year. Stephanie attended Northwestern University, graduating in 1993 and majoring in Radio/Television/Film. While in college, Stephanie's worked on a puppet television show called "Freeform" and won the National College Emmy award for comedy. At Northwestern, she also played Mildred in the short film "The Ballad of Hank and Mildred" and herself in "The Glance." Throughout her young life, Stephanie has sang in her church folk groups, a girl's barbershop quartet, high school choirs, school musicals. a guitar duo in college and in Northwestern's University Singers.
Stephanie worked on Sesame Street for several years, playing various muppets. Her favorite role was a semi-recurring red-headed girl named Elizabeth, She had loud, nasal Queens/Brooklyn accented voice and Stephanie loved her because she was so different from your average little girl. She had been a fan of the show since childhood and watched it still in college. Stephanie never had any formal training with puppets - she taught herself everything she knows by watching Sesame Street. She still has many tapes of songs from the show, some of which she auctioned off for charity. Her idols include Jim Henson and Frank Oz (also Kevin Clash and Jerry Nelson). She has also done puppeteering and voice work as Uma in Ooobi (which was her favorite role of all time), Sheep in the Big City, The Book of Pooh, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss. In addition to this, she has appeared in many commericals and promos.
In 2003, Stephanie was cast as Kate Monster a loveable fuzzy Kindergarten teacher, and Lucy the Slut, a raunchy singer and actress, in the Broadway musical, Avenue Q. She says this was a fun experience for her because she got to play the good girl AND the bad girl - sometimes at the exact same time. (She admits that she related better to Kate than Lucy) The rest of the cast was made up largely of Sesame Street alum, some of whom Stephanie is still good friends with. The play opened off Broadway to rave reviews and opened on Broadway in the John Golden theatre on 7/31/2003. Stehpanie was nominated for a 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (which she lost to Idina Menzel). For her roles as Kate and Lucy, she also received a Drama Desk nomination, the Theatre World Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Special Ensemble Award. Stephanie preformed "Santa Baby" Actors' Fund Great Joy benefit in 2003 and "Sooner or Later" at the Stephen Sondheim 75th birthday celebration at the New Amsterdam in early 2004 using her Lucy T. Slut puppet.
Stephanie has also appeared in the theatre productions of Skitch Henderson's New Faces of 2004 at Carnegie Hall, Carnival, Encores! 10th Anniversary Bash, and Chess.
Stephanie is currently starring in the Off Broadway comedy I Love You Because playing at the Village Theatre in New York City. She has been married to Craig Shemin since 2000.