WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Happy Birthday to White Plains’ Jennifer Damiano!
Jennifer Damiano, who was born in White Plains, turns 23 on Monday.
Damiano, an actress and singer, most known for originating the role of Natalie Goodman in "Next to Normal" on Broadway, was born May 12, 1991.
On Dec.10, 2006, at the age of 15, she joined the original cast of the musical "Spring Awakening" on Broadway as an ensemble member and understudy for the roles of Anna, Martha, Ilse and Thea. She was the youngest performer in the cast. Damiano was originally hired also to understudy a pre-"Glee" star Lea Michele in the leading role, Wendla, but she was not legally able to cover the role because she was under 16 and the role requires brief nudity.
She remained in the cast until December 2007, when she began rehearsals for the role of Natalie, the angsty teenage daughter of a woman with manic-depression in the musical "Next To Normal".
Damiano was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for her performance in Next to Normal's Off-Broadway run. The next year, she was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical when the show moved to Broadway. In his review in The New York Times following the 2009 Broadway opening, Ben Brantley observed, "The notion that personality is fragile, always on the edge of decomposition, is exquisitely reflected in Ms. Damiano’s astringent, poignant Natalie.".Peter Marks of the Washington Post said she "locates a new depth of adolescent disdain and need.