Actor Danny Burstein

Danny Burstein (born June 16, 1964) is an American actor and singer, most known for his work on the Broadway stage.

Burstein is a seven-time Tony Award nominee; for The Drowsy Chaperone (2006), South Pacific (2008), Follies (2012), Golden Boy (2013), Cabaret (2014), Fiddler on the Roof (2016), and Moulin Rouge! (2020). He has also won two Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, and received three Grammy Award nominations. Burstein’s performance as Harold Zidler in the stage adaptation of Moulin Rouge! on Broadway earned him the 2020 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. His other Broadway credits include The Seagull (1992), Saint Joan (1993), and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2010).

Burstein’s television work includes a feature-length episode of the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (2002) and a Staten Island father in the first season of Louie (2010). He appeared as different characters in six episodes of the original NBC drama series Law & Order (1995–2015), and also recurred as Lolly Steinman on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire (2010–11) and as D.A. Lewis Cormier on the CBS series Evil. His film appearances include Transamerica (2005), Deception (2008), The Family Fang (2015), and Indignation (2016).

Early life and education

Burstein was born in Mt. Kisco, New York, and was raised in New York City. Danny’s parents separated when he was two months old. He was raised by his mother, Virginia (Vega), a painter, and his stepfather, Harvey Burstein, a professor of Greek philosophy. His mother, who is from Costa Rica, is Catholic and of Spanish descent, and his stepfather is Jewish. He was not raised in any particular faith and celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays.

Burstein attended the High School of the Performing Arts. While in high school, he performed in community theatre and summer stock in New Hampshire for which he was paid $200 for the entire season. He graduated from Queens College in New York City, during which time he obtained his first professional acting job in the chorus of The Music Man at The Muny in St. Louis. He received an MFA from the graduate acting program at the University of California, San Diego in 1990. During his time in drama school at UCSD, he appeared in Macbeth at La Jolla Playhouse.


On Broadway, Burstein’s eighteen appearances, which have garnered him seven Tony Award nominations, have included A Little Hotel on the Side (1992), Yakov in The Seagull (1992–93), in Saint Joan and Three Men on a Horse (both in 1993), Paul in Company (1995), 1st Officer William Murdoch in Titanic (1997–99), Aldolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone (2006–07), Luther Billis in South Pacific (2008–10), Taxi Driver in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2010–11), Tokio in Golden Boy (2012–2013), Max in the Sharr White play The Snow Geese (2013), Herr Schultz in the 2014 revival of Cabaret (2014–15) and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (2015–2016).

Burstein’s Off-Broadway credits include Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night at the Atlantic Theater Company; Talley’s Folly opposite Sarah Paulson at The Roundabout Theater Company for which he was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award and a Drama League Award; the world premieres of A. R. Gurney’s Mrs. Farnsworth (2004), opposite Sigourney Weaver and John Lithgow, at The Flea Theater and Psych (2001) at Playwrights Horizons. He also starred in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (1996 and 2002) at the Westside Theatre; as Ru/Floor Monitor/Pianist in Merrily We Roll Along (1994) at the York Theatre at St. Peter’s Church; All in the Timing at the Houseman; as Daniel in Alan Menken and David Spencer’s Weird Romance at the WPA; as Solomon in The Rothschilds and Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, both at Circle in the Square; The United Way at Ensemble Studio Theater; and A Class Act at Manhattan Theatre Club. He appeared in four concerts at Carnegie Hall including: the Ira Gershwin centennial, as Steward in Sail Away (1999) and in Candide (operetta) (2018). He appeared in the Encores! (New York City Center) staged concert productions of DuBarry Was a Lady (1996), as Romeo Skragg in Li’l Abner (1998), as Tailor-Merchant in The Boys from Syracuse (1997) and as Mister Mister in The Cradle Will Rock (2013).

He played the role of Buddy Plummer in the Kennedy Center production of Follies, which ran from May 7, 2011 through June 19, 2011 at the Eisenhower Theater, co-starring with Bernadette Peters, Ron Raines, and Jan Maxwell. He reprised that role in the Broadway engagement of Follies at the Marquis Theatre from August 7, 2011 (in previews) through January 22, 2012, and continued with the production in its engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California from May 3, 2012 through June 9, 2012. He won the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and was nominated for the Tony Award, Best Actor in a Musical.

Burstein can be heard on the cast recording of many of these musicals. Among his many recordings is the musical Sweet Little Devil in which he introduced three George Gershwin, Buddy DeSylva songs. The score originally went unrecorded in 1924 and was finally recorded by PS Classics, with Burstein playing the role of Sam in 2012.

Burstein’s film roles include Duane Incarnate (2004), Transamerica (2005), Deception (2008), Nor’easter (2013), Trust, Greed, Bullets and Bourbon (2013), American Milkshake (2013), Autumn Whispers (2013), Affluenza (2014), Blackhat (2015), directed by Michael Mann, The Family Fang (2015), opposite Nicole Kidman and directed by Jason Bateman, Construction (2015), Indignation (2016), written and directed by James Schamus, and The Sounding, written & directed by Catherine Eaton. His many television credits include recurring on The Good Fight, recurring on Dr. Death, recurring as D.A. Lewis Cormier on Evil (TV series), guest starring on the animated series, Central Park (TV series) as Dick Flake, guest starring on Tales of the City (2019), Fosse/Verdon (2019), The Blacklist (2019), Madam Secretary (2018), NCIS: New Orleans (2018), Instinct (2018), Elementary (2017), all the Law & Order series, the BBC’s Absolutely Fabulous (2002), the FX series Louie (2010), and The Good Wife (2015). He was cast in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire after director Martin Scorsese saw him in South Pacific, and after auditioning for three different characters, he landed the part of Lolly Steinman.

Burstein has lent his voice in a number of video games, including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Manhunt 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Neverwinter Nights 2.

He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Frosch in Die Fledermaus (2013–14 season).

Burstein serves on the Artists Committee of the Kennedy Center Honors and has been a guest lecturer teaching at many universities such as Yale, NYU, Juilliard, UCSD and Queens College.

Burstein played the role of Tevye in the 2015 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof, at the Broadway Theatre, directed by Bartlett Sher. The revival began in previews on November 20, 2015 and officially opened on December 20, 2015 and closed on December 31st, 2016.

In the summer of 2017, he played the role of Nick Bottom in the New York Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

He appeared as Alfred P. Doolittle in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady at Lincoln Center Theater from January 8, 2019. He also originated the on-stage role of Harold Zidler on Broadway in Moulin Rouge! in 2019. Moulin Rouge! played its pre-Broadway performances at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in Boston from July 10, 2018 to August 19, 2018.

In October 2020, Burstein received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the role. This marks his seventh Tony nomination.

In 2021 he was nominated for an Audie Award for his narration of Stephen King’s “If It Bleeds”.

Personal life

Burstein was married to actress Rebecca Luker from June 2000 until her death on December 23, 2020. He has two sons, Alexander and Zachary, from a previous marriage, and lives in Morningside Heights, Manhattan.

In March 2020, following the shutdown of all Broadway theatrical productions including Moulin Rouge!, in which he was starring, Burstein, along with several other cast members, contracted COVID-19. He was subsequently hospitalized at St. Luke’s in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan and recovered. Burstein discussed his experience with the disease in a column published in The Hollywood Reporter. He wrote in August 2020 of continued challenges with his post-COVID recovery while caring for his wife, who had ALS.



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Giant Robo: The Animation Professor Franken Von Vogler (voice) English version
1997 Jungle Emperor Leo Minus (voice) English version
2003 SW 2.5 (The Pitch Wars) George Lucas / Rob Reiner / Kevin Smith / Mike W. / Pixar Director Short film
2004 Duane Incarnate George
2005 Transamerica Dr. Spikowsky
2006 Spectropia Ball Guest
2008 Deception Clute Controller
2012 Nor’easter Paul Moore
2013 American Milkshake Coach
2013 Autumn Whispers Gordon Murkle Short film
2013 Trust, Greed, Bullets & Bourbon Hector
2014 Russian Broadway Shut Down Luther Billis Short film
2014 Affluenza Ira Miller
2015 Blackhat Associate Warden Jeffries
2015 The Family Fang Eric Wilcox
2015 Construction Jay
2015 Bad Dads Unknown role Short film
2016 Indignation Max Messner
2017 The Sounding Anderson
2018 Lucy in the Sky Dan Short film


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Law & Order Joe Garvey Episode: “Cruel and Unusual”
1998 Law & Order Howe Episode: “Burden”
1999 Third Watch Medic #2 Episode: “Welcome to Camelot”
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mr. Brookfield Episode: “Honor”
2001 Santa, Baby! Unknown role (voice) Television movie
2001 Law & Order Assistant District Attorney Lester Rosenfeld Episode: “Teenage Wasteland”
2002 Ed Johnny Luggozzo Episode: “Human Nature”
2002 Absolutely Fabulous Martin Episode: “Gay”
2002 Law & Order Peter Episode: “Oxymoron”
2004 Shura no Toki: Age of Chaos Takuan Osho (voice) Episode: “A Fighter Without Peer”
English version
2004 Phoenix Sarutahiko / Dr. Saruta / Azaumi-no-muraji Saruta (voice) Series regular (13 episodes)
English version
2004 Hope & Faith Moderator Episode: “Just-In Time”
2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Luke Vinton Episode: “Shrink-Wrapped”
2006 Conviction Unknown role Episode: “Savasana”
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Leo Bernardi Episode: “Seeds”
2009 Law & Order Surrogate Murray Episode: “Lucky Stiff”
2010 Law & Order Judge Sam Murray Episode: “Blackmail”
2010 Louie Mike Episode: “Bully”
2010 Live from Lincoln Center Luther Billis Episode: “South Pacific”
2010–2011 Boardwalk Empire Lolly Steinman Recurring role (5 episodes)
2011 Submissions Only Jerry Labove Episode: “Mean Like Me”
2015 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Eric Parker Episode: “Transgender Bridge”
2015 The Good Wife Dr. Ian Caine Episode: “Bond”
2017 Elementary Ted Winthrop Episode: “Fly Into a Rage, Make a Bad Landing”
2018 Deception Indar Danek Episode: “Transposition”
2018 NCIS: New Orleans Doctor Vincent Welles Episode: “Pound of Flesh”
2019 Madam Secretary Natan Dworsky Episode: “Proxy War”
2019 The Blacklist Mossad DC Station Chief Episode: “The Osterman Umbrella Company (No. 6)”
2019 Fosse/Verdon OB / GYN Episode: “Nowadays”
2019 Tales of the City Bradshaw Episode: “Next Level Sh*t”
2019–present Evil D. A. Lewis Cormier 4 episodes
2020 Central Park Dick Flake (voice) Episode: “A Fish Called Snakehead”


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Benjamin St. Louis Municipal Opera
1992 A Little Hotel on the Side Porter, Constable Broadway
1992–93 The Seagull Yakov Broadway
1993 Saint Joan Page to Dunois Broadway
Three Men on a Horse Delivery Boy Broadway
1994 The Flowering Peach Japheth (Standby) Broadway
1995 Company Paul Broadway
1996 DuBarry Was a Lady Ensemble Encores!/New York City Center
1997 The Boys from Syracuse Tailor-Merchant
1997–99 Titanic William Murdoch/Passenger Broadway
1998 Li’l Abner Romeo Skragg Encores!/New York City Center
2001 A Class Act Ed, Lehman (Standby) Broadway
2006–07 The Drowsy Chaperone Aldolpho Broadway
2008–10 South Pacific Luther Billis Broadway
2010–11 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Taxi Driver Broadway
2011 Follies Buddy Plummer Washington, D.C./Pre-Broadway
2011–12 Broadway
2012 Los Angeles/Regional
2012–13 Golden Boy Tokio Broadway
2013 The Cradle Will Rock Mister Mister Encores!/New York City Center
Snow Geese Max Hohmann Broadway
2014–15 Cabaret Herr Schultz Broadway
2015–16 Fiddler on the Roof Tevye Broadway
2017 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Nick Bottom Shakespeare in the Park
2018 Moulin Rouge! Harold Zidler Boston/Pre-Broadway
2019 My Fair Lady Alfred P. Doolittle Broadway
2019–20 Moulin Rouge! Harold Zidler Broadway

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Darius Fontaine – Talk Radio / Radio Commercial (voice)
2006 Neverwinter Nights 2 Khulmar Ironfist / Sir Grayson / Donler / Haeromos (voice)
2007 Manhunt 2 The Legion (voice)
2008 Grand Theft Auto V Middle Aged Gay Man (voice)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2006 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical The Drowsy Chaperone Nominated
2008 South Pacific Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
2012 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Follies Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Astaire Award Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show Nominated
2013 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Golden Boy Nominated
2014 Best Featured Actor in a Musical Cabaret Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
2016 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Fiddler on the Roof Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
2017 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated
2019 IRNE Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Moulin Rouge! Won
2020 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Pending
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Honoree
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Nominated

External Links

Actor Danny Burstein – Wikipedia

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