Stephanie Janette Block (born September 19, 1972) is an American actress and singer, known for her work in Broadway musicals. A two-time Tony Award nominee, she was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 2013, and for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Falsettos in 2017. She is also a five-time Drama Desk Award nominee and has appeared on numerous cast recordings. In 2009, she released a solo album, This Place I Know.
Block began her professional musical career in regional theater and by playing Belle in the Disneyland production of Beauty and the Beast in 1992. She made her Broadway debut in the 2003 original production of The Boy from Oz, playing Liza Minnelli. Having read the part of Elphaba in the first reading of Wicked in 2000, she was the first actress to play the role in the US touring production from 2005–06, winning the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress in a Non-Resident production. She later reprised the role on Broadway from 2007–08. She received Drama Desk nominations for the Off-Broadway productions of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (2011) and Little Miss Sunshine (2013), and for the Broadway productions of 9 to 5 (2009), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) and Falsettos (2016).
Block was born on September 19, 1972, in Brea, California, and has one sister, Renée. Her mother, Rosemarie (Garritano), worked for the local school district, and her father, Steven Block, was a welfare fraud investigator. She was raised Catholic, and is of German and Italian descent. Block grew up in Brea, where she attended St. Angela Merici School. Later she attended an all-girls Catholic private school, Rosary High School in Fullerton, California, for her secondary education. She finished up her high school years at the Orange County High School of the Arts. Block married actor Sebastian Arcelus on October 25, 2007. Arcelus starred alongside Block in the First National Tour of Wicked as the Fiyero replacement from January to October 2006 and again on Broadway from October to December 2007. They have a dog named Macaco. On August 4, 2014, it was announced that Block and Arcelus are expecting their first child, a girl. Stephanie gave birth to their daughter Vivienne Heléna on January 19, 2015.
Wicked on Tour – Defying Gravity PROSHOT (Stephanie J Block)
Block started her professional musical theater career with regional theater, appearing in many productions including Funny Girl, Crazy for You, Oliver!, James Joyce’s The Dead and Bells Are Ringing. Block was additionally the original Belle in the Disneyland production of Beauty and the Beast and did voice work for numerous commercials, including the singing voice of Barbie.
In early 2000 Block read the part of Elphaba in the first reading of the new musical Wicked. After a few months of reading, she was replaced by Idina Menzel, a decision that left Block devastated, but accepting of the decision that had been made to cast a more experienced performer in the role. She was Menzel’s understudy in the San Francisco world premiere in 2003 but left the show prior to opening on Broadway when she was offered a lead role in a new Broadway musical based on the life of Peter Allen, The Boy from Oz. Block debuted on Broadway in 2003, playing the role of Liza Minnelli opposite Hugh Jackman’s Peter Allen in the show. The show received mixed reviews but proved to be a hit with audiences playing on Broadway for close to a year. The musical received several Tony Award nominations, including a nomination for Best Musical.
Stephanie J Block with Stephen Oremus, with whom she worked in Wicked.
In spring 2005, Block originated the role of Elphaba in the first national tour of Wicked. She was awarded both the 2006 Helen Hayes Award and the 2007 Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Non-Resident Production for this role. Block received great reviews for a show-stopping performance. After performing with the tour for a year Block left the production in March 2006 and was replaced by Julia Murney.
In 2007 Block was seen in the title role of the new Broadway musical The Pirate Queen. The music was written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. Block was praised by critics, such as Ben Brantley from The New York Times, for giving a “truly felt, realistic, performance”. She also received a nomination for a Drama League Award for her performance. Plagued by insufficient ticket sales and harsh reviews, the show opened in April and barely played for two months at the Hilton Theatre, closing in June. Later that year Block reprised the role of Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway beginning October 9, 2007, where she replaced Julia Murney. She left the production after eight months on June 15, 2008, and was succeeded by Kerry Ellis.
Block starred alongside Allison Janney, Megan Hilty, and Marc Kudisch in the new musical adaptation of the 1980 film 9 to 5. The production was directed by Joe Mantello, with music written by Dolly Parton. The show opened on Broadway in April 2009 at the Marquis Theatre and closed in September 2009. Block starred as Judy Bernly, the frazzled divorcée, the role played by Jane Fonda in the film. For this role Block was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
In 2009, Block released her debut album through PS Classics entitled This Place I Know. Although the album failed to chart, it was a hit with critics with some hailing it as the best album that has come out of the Broadway community in some time. More recently she has done concert work in London’s several West End. In February 2010 she performed live at the New Players Theatre, London.
Block was seen as Grizabella in the Municipal Opera Production production of Cats, which ran from July 19–25, 2010. Block also starred as Sonia Walsk alongside Jason Alexander in the Reprise Theatre Company’s production of They’re Playing Our Song, which played at the UCLA Freud Playhouse for two weeks from September 28–October 10, 2010.
Block made her off-Broadway debut as Gloria Mitchell in the play By The Way, Meet Vera Stark by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage alongside Karen Olivo, and David Garrison. By the Way, Meet Vera Stark played at Second Stage Theatre through June 12, 2011. Entertainment Weekly wrote that Block’s performance in the show was, “terrifically over-the-top”. She received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.
Block starred as Reno Sweeney in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes first playing the role for three weeks in November 2011 while Sutton Foster was away filming a pilot episode. Block performed with co-star Colin Donnell on the 2011 CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade. Block returned to the role on March 15, 2012, as Foster left the production permanently on March 11. She remained with the show until its closure on July 8, 2012.
Block performed the lead role in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which ran from November 13, 2012, to March 10, 2013. For this role, she was nominated for another Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
From November 14 to December 15, 2013, Block appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Little Miss Sunshine at Second Stage Theatre as Sheryl Hoover.For this role, she received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.
On March 31, 2016, it was announced that Block will play Trina in the Broadway revival of Falsettos directed by James Lapine. She was joined by Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells who played Marvin and Whizzer, respectively. The musical began previews on September 29, 2016, and opened officially on October 27, 2016. The limited run ended on January 8, 2017. For her performance, Block received rave reviews, with the New York Times saying this was her career best performance. She received nominations for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.
Falsettos as Trina (2016–2017)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood as Edwin Drood/Alice Nutting (2012–2013)
Anything Goes as Reno Sweeney (2011–2012)
9 to 5 as Judy Bernly (2009)
Wicked as Elphaba (2007–2008)
The Pirate Queen as Grace O’Malley (2007)
The Boy from Oz as Liza Minnelli (2003–2004)
Little Miss Sunshine (2013)
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (2011)
Last Ship (2013)
My American Family (2010)
9 to 5 as Judy Bernly (2007)
Bye Bye Birdie as Rosie Alvarez (2007)
How the Nurse Feels (2006)
In This House (2006)
Wicked as Elphaba (2000)
Wicked as Elphaba (2005–2006)
They’re Playing Our Song as Sonia Walsk (2010)
Cats as Grizabella (2010)
9 to 5 as Judy Bernly (2008)
The Pirate Queen as Grace O’Malley (2006)
Wicked as Elphaba u/s (2003)
Godspell as Robin (2002)
Crazy for You as Polly (2002)
Oliver! as Nancy (2001)
Fiddler on the Roof as Tzeitel (2001)
Funny Girl as Fanny Brice (2000)
James Joyce’s The Dead as Mary Jane (2000)
Bells Are Ringing as Gwynne (1999)
Bye Bye Birdie as Rosie (1999)
Damn Yankees as Gloria Thorpe (1997)
Grease as Rizzo
Haven as Ruth Gruber
Mary Poppins as Mary Poppins
Let Me Sing as Molly
I Love a Piano as Ginger
The Grass Harp as Baby Love
Triumph of Love as Corine
Call Me Madam as Sally Adams (understudy)
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as Narrator
Pygmalion: the True Story as Aphrodite
Guys and Dolls as Sarah Brown
The Will Rogers Follies as Betty Blake (understudy)
South Pacific as Nellie Forbush
Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey
Concerts“Tapestry of Song” and “Voices of Youth” (The Indianapolis Children’s Choir and Youth Chorale) with Henry Leck, Josh Pedde and Cheryl West (2014)
Do You Hear the People Sing? with Peter Lockyer, Terrence Mann, Lea Salonga, Marie Zamora, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Choir (2011)
Broadway on the Beach with Doug LaBrecque and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra (2011)
Pops on the River: Summer Lovin’ with Doug LaBrecque and the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra (2011)
Broadway & the American Songbook (Wicked Divas) with Julia Murney and the Boston Pops (2011)
Broadway Voices solo concert in Garner, NC (2011)
Wicked Divas with Julia Murney and the Utah Symphony Orchestra (2011)
Wicked Divas with Julia Murney and the Odgen Symphony Ballet (2011)
Marvin Hamlisch: Broadway’s Greatest Moments at The Krannert Center (2011)
Solo concert presented by the Austin Cabaret Theatre (2011)
Wicked Divas with Erin Mackey and the Cleveland Pops (2010)
The Best of Broadway with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra (2010)
Wicked Divas with Julia Murney and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (2010)
Don’t Stop Believing at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA (2010)
Broadway Comes to Tampa (2010)
Stephanie J. Block in Concert at The New Players Theatre (2010)
xoxoXMAS at Birdland (2009)
Scott Alan: Just Me…And Them at the Leicester Square Theatre (2009)
True Colors Cabaret (2009)
Nothing Like a Dame at New World Stages (2009)
Visa Signature Tony Awards Preview Concert at the Hudson Theatre (2009)
Defying Inequality at the Gershwin Theatre (2009)
Yellow Brick Road Not Taken at the Gershwin Theatre (2008)
Mr. Green’s Opus at Birdland (2008)
Block Party at Birdland (2007)
Billy Stritch and the Girls at Birdland (2007)
The Broadway Musicals of 1925 (2007)
An Evening with Andrew Lippa (2006)
Block Party at Birdland (2006)
Broadway Comes to Tampa (2006)
Valentine at Birdland (2005)
All Smiles at Birdland (2004)
Television and Film
Orange Is The New Black as Francine Max CO (2016) 3 episodes
Homeland as Patricia Cooper (2013) 1 episode
67th Tony Awards as Herself (2013) TV special event
CBS Thanksgiving Day Parade as Herself (2011) TV special event
63rd Tony Awards as Herself (2009) TV special event
Good Day New York as Herself (2009) 1 episode
The Visa Signature Tony Awards Season Celebration as Herself (2009) TV special event
The View as Herself (2009) 1 episode
CMT Insider as Herself (2008) 1 episode
Entertainment Tonight as Herself (2008) 1 episode
James Marshall’s Cinderella as Narrator (2006) Voice role