Photo Credit: Gino DomenicoStephanie D'Abruzzo is a Tony Award nominee who shines brightly in every venture she takes from theatre to television to concerts. Stephanie received her Tony Award nomination and Theatre World Award for originating the role of "Kate Monster/Lucy The Slut" in the Tony Award winning Broadway musical "Avenue Q." Her other NY stage credits include "Tomfoolery," "The Mad Show," "It Must Be Him," "Stuffed and Unstrung," "Don’t Say Another Word," "Plaisir D’Amour," "Austentatious," "Kiss and Makeup," "I Love You Because," "Carnival"(Encores!), "Encores! 10th Anniversary Bash," and the Theatreworks/USA limited NYC run of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Other Story Books." Outside of New York, Stephanie has lit up the stage in "[title of show]" at St. Louis Rep, two benefit performa"nces of "The Guys" in Lakeland, FL, and the world-premiere of "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical at the Kennedy Center, where she originated the role of the pre-verbal toddler "Trixie."

Stephanie made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops in Skitch Henderson’s "New Faces of 2004," and has performed in two star-studded concerts honoring Stephen Sondheim’s 75th birthday in 2005: "Children and Art: Stephen Sondheim’s 75th Birthday Gala" and "Stephen Sondheim’s 75th: the Concert" at the Hollywood Bowl. Additionally, Stephanie made her solo cabaret debut at NYC's famed jazz club Birdland in 2005, and has performed at Caroline’s, Town Hall, and a number of Broadway and New York area theatres for countless benefits and concerts, including "Sondheim Unplugged," "the Atrainplays XXI and XXII," "More Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds," and the Actor’s Fund concert of "Chess." She has also appeared more than a dozen times in "Gravid Water" at Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre.

A scene from the musical episode of Scrubs (© Chris Haston, NBC Universal Inc.)Stephanie made her prime-time television debut as the guest star of the much-hyped musical episode of the NBC series "Scrubs," and can be heard on the iTunes exclusive soundtrack. She returned to "Scrubs" twice during its brief ABC run, as a cameo in "My Finale," and as a Muppet patient in "My ABC's" that featured characters from "Sesame Street."

For 19 seasons, Stephanie has been a Muppet Performer on the Emmy-winning "Sesame Street," where she currently lends her talents to "Curly Bear," as well as a myriad of walk-on characters on the street, and also brings life to countless inanimate objects on "Elmo's World." She can also be heard in many animated and Muppet inserts on "Sesame Street," including "30 Rocks," "Preschool Musical," and "G!" (the Glee parody) and her vocal performance with R.E.M. on their "Furry Happy Monsters" is featured on the "Songs From the Street: 35 Years of Music" box set.

Now Stephanie is back on stage in Summer Shorts 2012, the sixth annual festival of new American short plays from established and emerging writers presented at 59E59 Theaters in NYC from August 2-September 1. Stephanie is specifically in the short musical "Love and Real Estate," part of Series B. 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street. Click here for tickets!

For more on Stephanie be sure to visit http://www.stephaniedabruzzo.com!

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I have no idea. I just always loved to perform in one way or another.  When I was little, I would sing while I was on my swing set and do plays in my backyard. There was never a revelatory moment where I saw a show or film and thought, "I want to do that," nor was there any person who ever told me, "you should do that." In fact, growing up, it was the last thing I thought I'd ever actually do for a living. For me, it was always just fun that gradually became an addiction.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Pretty much everyone I haven't worked with. I'm serious.

3. What attracted you to "Love and Real Estate" in the Summer Shorts Festival at 59E59 Theaters? They asked me to do it and I wasn't doing anything else. I continue to be serious.

4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing this short? Everything they could ever want in life. But I'll settle for them feeling like they got their money's worth.

5. What do you identify most with about your character? She happens to look exactly like me. (I hesitate to reveal too much about the characters, lest I give away too much about the show).

6. What excites you most about being part of the Summer Short Festival? It's only a 15 minute walk to the theatre from my apartment!

Plus, I love the producers, John McCormack and J.J. Kandel, and how they manage to put together two great evenings of unique, eclectic short works. I've done two other Summer Shorts festivals (in 2008 and 2009) and not only enjoyed performing in them, but I've also enjoyed watching all the other pieces.

7. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where is your favorite place to rehearse on your own? My favorite moment of the rehearsal process is when everything finally starts to click and you get out of your own head - you stop thinking about when to pick up that prop or put down the other prop because you just do it naturally.

When it comes to rehearsing on my own, I must say that the laundry room in the basement of my building is a good place to work things out in my head and sing a few bars, muffled by the sound of the machines.

Stephanie D'Abruzzo as "Kate Monster" in "Avenue Q", Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg8. In addition to theatre, you have puppeteering on Sesame Street for 19 Seasons. What do you enjoy most about puppeteering and what was the best part about getting to combine your love of theatre and puppeteering in "Avenue Q"? I love being a Muppet Performer because I get to play dozens and dozens of wildly different characters, I get to sing, and I get to do wonderful comedy all via this incredibly specialized skill, and I am constantly surrounded by an amazing ensemble of talented, seasoned pros that I am lucky enough to also call my friends. And in the case of "Sesame Street," I also get to hang out with that legendary cast of human characters (like Bob!) and our fabulous crew...who are all equally dear to me.

The best part about getting to combine my love of theatre and puppeteering in "Avenue Q" was getting to combine my love of theatre and puppeteering...on a Broadway stage.

9. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I will never be as thin as all the other performers.

10. What's the best advice you've ever received? Exfoliate.

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? The entire cast of "Downton Abbey." Elegant setting, beautiful clothes, lovely voices...wouldn't that make for a rather pleasant and quite soothing night's sleep?

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. Favorite way to spend your day off? Cuddling with the hubby and watching "Community" or "Parks and Recreation" or "Mad Men" or "Raising Hope" or "New Girl" or anything on TCM.

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? You are implying that I am in shape. That is kind of you.

14. Favorite skin care product? I am very serious about skin care products and there is no way I could pick just one favorite. I have recently fallen in love with Amore Pacific’s Treatment Enzyme Peel and SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence, but I swear by Elizabeth Arden Prevage’s SPF 30 Day Anti-Aging Moisturizer and Roc's SPF 30 retinol formula. I eat a lot of peanut butter to offset the cost.

15. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? To metabolize faster than the speed of light.

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