Claudia Shear

Claudia Shear (born September 12, 1962) is an American actress and playwright. She was nominated for the Tony Award, Best Play and Best Actress for her play Dirty Blonde.

Claudia Shear
Born (1962-09-12) September 12, 1962 (age 60)
  • Actor
  • Author
  • Playwright
Years active1993–present
Harry More Gordon
(m. 2004)
Parent(s)Julian D. Shear
Helaine Catoggio

Early lifeEdit

Shear was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 12, 1962, to Julian "Bud" and Helaine Catoggio. Her mother was a glamorous executive in the cosmetic industry, a talented amateur painter and collector of antiques. Her father, who was a Deputy Chief[1] in the New York City Fire Department at the time of her birth,[2] left her mother and her older sister Diane, soon after she was born [3] She attended the City University of New York.[4]


Shear came to prominence with her self-penned solo performance piece Blown Sideways Through Life (described by Frank Rich as an "autobiographical monologue"). The show premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in September 1993.[5] The show then opened at the Off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre on January 7, 1994, closing on July 17, 1994, after 221 performances.[6] Shear won an Obie Award, Special Citation[6] and a 1994 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance.[7][8] Shear's employment experiences as a member of the American work force - sixty-four jobs in all, including pastry chef, nude model, waitress, whorehouse receptionist, proofreader, and Italian translator - provided her a wealth of material for her piece. She adapted it for a 1995 presentation on the PBS series American Playhouse.[9]

Shear wrote the play Dirty Blonde, her exploration of the life and career of Mae West. The play premiered Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop, running from January 10, 2000, to February 13, 2000[10] and then opened on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theatre on April 14, 2000 (previews); both productions were directed by James Lapine.[11] She earned Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for both Best Play and Best Actress and won the Theatre World Award.[12]

Shear's acting credits include the films It Could Happen to You (1994) and Living Out Loud (1998)[13] and a guest appearance as "fake Monica" on the NBC sitcom Friends in 1995.[4] She has also written for such publications as The New York Times, Vogue, and Travel & Leisure, among others.[4]

Restoration, a new play written by her, premiered in June 2009 at La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California, commissioned by La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley[14][15] after an idea by Shear. In Restoration, Shear plays "Giulia, a down-on-her-luck art restorer from Brooklyn who receives what could possibly be a career-reviving job of 'refreshing' Michelangelo’s David in time for its quincentennial celebration in Florence."[16] Christopher Ashley, who staged the world premiere of Restoration at La Jolla Playhouse, directed the work for its New York debut. The play premiered Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop on April 30, 2010 (previews) and officially on May 19, 2010, through June 13, 2010.[16][17][18]

Shear appeared in the Broadway play by Michele Lowe, The Smell of the Kill, which had a brief run of 40 performances in 2002.[19]

Shear co-wrote the book for the new musical based on the book Tuck Everlasting, also titled Tuck Everlasting. The music and lyrics are written by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen with direction by Casey Nicholaw. The musical premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, from January 21, 2015, to February 22, 2015.[20][21] The musical opened on Broadway in previews on March 31, 2016, and officially in April 2016.[22][23][24]

In 2017 she starred in EVENING AT THE TALKHOUSE, written by Wallace Shawn, with Matthew Broderick at The New Group at the Signature Theatre in New York City.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
1994 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Solo Performance Blown Sideways Through Life Nominated
2000 Tony Award Best Actress in a Play Dirty Blonde Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Play Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Play Nominated
Theatre World Award Theatre World Award Won


  1. ^ "Ranks of the FDNY", accessed April 24, 2016
  2. ^ "Julian D. Shear Obituary in the Sun Sentinel", accessed April 24, 2016
  3. ^ "Dirty Blonde entry", accessed April 24, 2016
  4. ^ a b c "Claudia Shear Overview", accessed May 3, 2015
  5. ^ Rich, Frank. "Review/Theater: Blown Sideways Through Life; Fat and 64 Jobs Later, Misfit Finally Finds A Niche on the Stage" The New York Times, September 22, 1993
  6. ^ a b " Blown Sideways Through Life Listing" Archived June 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 3, 2015
  7. ^ "Awards, see 1994", accessed May 31, 2015
  8. ^ "Claudia Shear Awards", accessed May 31, 2015
  9. ^ " Blown Sideways Through Life Listing", accessed May 2, 2015
  10. ^ " Dirty Blonde Listing" Archived June 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 2, 2015
  11. ^ McBride, Murdoch. "Shear's 'Dirty Blonde' Begins Bway Previews At Helen Hayes April 14"[permanent dead link], April 14, 2000
  12. ^ " Dirty Blonde Broadway Production and Awards" Archived May 26, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 2, 2015
  13. ^ "Claudia Shear", accessed May 2, 2015
  14. ^ Raymond, Gerard. "Restoring Beauty: An Interview with Claudia Shear", June 1, 2010
  15. ^ Lipton, Brian Scott. Alan Mandell, Claudia Shear, Kate Shindle, et al. Set for La Jolla's "Restoration'", May 29, 2009
  16. ^ a b Hernandez, Ernio. "Off-Broadway Cast Complete for Claudia Shear's 'Restoration' at NYTW", April 9, 2010
  17. ^ Peter, Thomas. " 'Restoration': Claudia Shear Goes from 'Dirty Blonde' to Cleaning Up David", May 18, 2010
  18. ^ " Restoration New York Theatre Workshop" Archived November 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 31, 2015
  19. ^ Simonson, Robert. " 'Smell of the Kill' Closes on Broadway, April 28", April 28, 2002
  20. ^ Tuck Everlasting Archived May 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 31, 2015
  21. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Review: 'Tuck Everlasting' Swaps Out the Circle of Life for an Eternally Unspooling Ribbon" The New York Times, February 9, 2015
  22. ^ Gioia, Michael." 'Tuck Everlasting' Will Spread Magic On Broadway in 2016", May 13, 2015
  23. ^ "'Tuck Everlasting' Broadway Listing", accessed October 10, 2015
  24. ^ Viagas, Robert. " 'Tuck Everlasting' Opens on Broadway Tonight",, April 26, 2016.

External linksEdit