Norbert Leo Butz

Norbert Leo Butz (born January 30, 1967) is an American actor and singer, best known for his work in Broadway theatre. He is a two-time winner of the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, and is one of only nine actors ever to have won the award twice as lead actor.

Norbert Leo Butz
Butz in 2011
Born (1967-01-30) January 30, 1967
ResidenceSeattle, Washington, U.S.
EducationWebster University (BFA)
University of Alabama (MFA)
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active1996–present
Michelle Federer (m. 2007)

Personal life

Butz was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elaine (née Bourisaw) and Norbert Butz.[1] He was raised in a middle-class family; his parents are devout Catholics.[2][3] He is the seventh of 11 children in his family and is named after his father.[4] Some of his first theatre roles included playing the male leads at local all-girl high schools, such as Cor Jesu Academy and Nerinx Hall. He graduated from Bishop DuBourg High School. Butz earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University and a Master of Fine Arts from The University of Alabama/Alabama Shakespeare Festival's Professional Actor Training Program.[5] He would later receive an honorary degree from Webster University in 2013.[6]

The murder of his sister, Teresa Butz, made national news when an assailant stabbed both her and her partner in her Seattle-area home on July 19, 2009.[7][8]

Butz's daughter Georgia Teresa was born on January 2, 2011. Butz has two older daughters, Clara and Maggie Davis, from a previous marriage.[9]


Butz made his Broadway debut as a replacement swing – a type of understudy – in Rent in 1996, after original swing David Driver was let go. Butz ultimately replaced Adam Pascal as Roger in 1997. Additional Broadway credits include Thou Shalt Not (Camille Raquin, 2001–2002), for which he received a Tony Award nomination; Wicked (the original Fiyero, 2003); and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Freddy) for which he received the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, a Drama League Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. His Off-Broadway credits include The Last Five Years (Jamie), Songs for a New World (Lead Male 2), Saved (Fred), and Juno and the Paycock (Jerry Devine), and he has toured as the Emcee in Cabaret and as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Butz's film roles have included Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five (Pawnbroker), Noon Blue Apples (Howard Philips), and West of Here (Josiah Blackwell).

Butz's projects include the film Dan in Real Life (with Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, and Dane Cook), released in October 2007, the world premiere of Is He Dead?, a hitherto unproduced Mark Twain play that opened at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre on December 9, 2007, and Fifty Words Off-Broadway with Elizebeth Marvel at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (2008).[10] In January 2008, he appeared as Captain Richard King in the miniseries adaptation of the Lonesome Dove prequel, Comanche Moon.

Starting December 23, 2008, Butz stepped in to replace Jeremy Piven in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow; Piven suddenly and unexpectedly dropped out of the play after he experienced health problems. Butz took over the part until January 13, 2009, when William H. Macy assumed the role for the remainder of the play's run.[11]

Butz taught at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey for the spring semester in 2008 in the drama department.[12][13]

He starred as Rowdy Kaiser in the ABC show The Deep End.

From April to May 9, 2010, he returned to the Broadway stage in ENRON as Jeffrey Skilling.[14] Despite Tony nominations, the play struggled with ticket sales.

Butz starred in the 2011 drama indie film Higher Ground with Vera Farmiga, who also directed it.[15]

Butz originated the role of Carl Hanratty in the musical Catch Me If You Can which played pre-Broadway tryouts at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington from July 28 through August 14, 2009.[16] Butz played the role of Carl Hanratty in the Broadway production of Catch Me if You Can, which opened on April 10, 2011[17] and closed in September 2011. For this role he won his second Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical[18] and his second Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.[19]

In April 2012, Butz appeared as himself in one episode of the NBC musical drama Smash. Butz played Hal Wilner in Greetings from Tim Buckley, a film on Tim and Jeff Buckley, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.[20][21]

From November 29, 2012 to January 6, 2013, Butz appeared on Broadway in Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts, opposite Katie Holmes, Jayne Houdyshell, Josh Hamilton, and Judy Greer.

In 2013 he starred in the new Andrew Lippa musical Big Fish, which premiered in Chicago in the spring and opened on Broadway in the Neil Simon Theatre in October, directed by Susan Stroman.[22]

In 2012, he played Uncle Peck in a limited engagement revival of Paula Vogel's play How I Learned to Drive. He also starred in the 2013 film Better Living Through Chemistry. He played Kevin Rayburn in the 2015 Netflix television show Bloodline.

He also starred in the 2018 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady as Alfred Doolittle, the father of the leading role, Eliza Doolittle. He earned a nomination for Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for the production.



1998Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by FivePawnbroker
2000Looking for an EchoVocals for Anthony Pirelli
2002Noon Blue ApplesHoward Phillips
West of HereJosiah Blackwell
2007Dan in Real LifeClay Burns
2010Fair GameSteve
2011Higher GroundPastor Bill
2012Greetings from Tim BuckleyHal Willner
2013The English TeacherVice Principal Phil Pelaski
2014Better Living Through ChemistryAgent Andrew Carp
2019LuceDan Towson
Wonder ParkPeanut (voice)
Good PostureNeil
TBAFlag DayFilming


2000Law & Order: Special Victims UnitJohn FenwickEpisode: "Misleader"
2007Playing ChickenJakeUnsold pilot
2008Comanche MoonRichard KingEpisode: "#1.2"
2009Law & Order: Criminal IntentArchie BeulissEpisode: "In Treatment"
2010The Deep EndRowdy Kaise7 episodes
CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationLarry LamotteEpisode: "Bump and Grind"
2011The Good WifeMr. MedinaEpisode: "Two Courts"
Late Show with David LettermanCarl HanrattyEpisode: "Dr. Phil/Chris Hemsworth/Catch Me If You Can"
Blue BloodsDetective KramerEpisode: "Moonlighting"
The Miraculous YearTerry SegalTelevision film
2012CountyBilly KrakowskiUnsold pilot
2015–2017BloodlineKevin RayburnMain cast; 33 episodes
2016–2017Mercy StreetDr. Byron HaleMain cast; 12 episodes
2018TrustGordon Getty3 episodes
The FirstMatthew Dawes2 episodes
2019Fosse/VerdonPaddy ChayefskyMiniseries


1997–2000RentRoger Davis
2000Juno and the PaycockJerry Levine
2001–02Thou Shalt NotCamille Raquin
2002The Last Five YearsJamie Wellerstein
CarouselJigger Craigin
2003BuicksBill Abeline
2003–04WickedFiyero Tigelaar
2005–06Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsFreddy Benson
2007–08Is He Dead?Jean-François Millet
2008–09Speed-the-PlowBobby Gould
2008Fifty WordsAdam
2010EnronJeffrey Skilling
2011Catch Me If You CanAgent Carl Hanratty
2012How I Learned to DriveUncle Peck
2012–13Dead AccountsJack
2013Big FishEdward Bloom
2017The WhirligigMichael
2018My Fair LadyAlfred P. Doolittle

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
2002 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Thou Shalt Not Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical The Last Five Years Nominated
2003 Outstanding Actor in a Play Buicks Nominated
2005 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
2011 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Catch Me if You Can Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Nominated
2018 Tony Award Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical My Fair Lady Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Won
2019 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album[23] Nominated


  • Memory and Mayhem: Live at 54 Below (2013)[24]
  • The Angel Band Project: An Evening With Norbert Leo Butz (2014)
  • Girls Girls Girls: Live at 54 Below (2016)[25]


  1. "Norbert Leo Butz Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  2. "Eagle Hurst Ranch provides a real family vacation | St. Louis Review". Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  3. "Norbert Leo Butz and the Root of Evil - Interview Magazine". Interview Magazine. 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  4. Nancy Rosati. "Spotlight On Norbert Leo Butz". Talkin' Broadway. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  5. Laura Graesser (March 28, 2013). "Norbert Leo Butz Q&A". Ladue News. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  6. "Honorary Degrees at Webster University". Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  7. Hetrick, Adam (July 22, 2009). "Catch Me If You Can Previews Cancelled Through July 26". Playbill. Archived from the original on July 25, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  8. Green, Jesse (September 22, 2013). "Big Fish Star Norbert Leo Butz on How Tragedy Changed His Life and Career". Vulture. New York Magazine. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  9. "'Wicked' Sweethearts Norbert Leo Butz and Michelle Federer Welcome Baby Girl Georgia". January 3, 2011.
  10. "'Fifty Words' Listing" Archived 2012-10-23 at the Wayback Machine Internet Off-Broadway database, accessed November 20, 2011
  11. "Jeremy Piven Abruptly Abandons Broadway Play" People Magazine, December 18, 2008
  12. Robert Wnorowski (30 November 2007). "Broadway performer to teach at Drew". The Acorn. Drew University. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2008.
  13. Stacie MacLaughlin (22 February 2008). "Curtain rises for Broadway star's arrival". The Acorn. Drew University. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
  14. Tony-Winner Norbert Leo Butz to Star in ENRON on Broadway, January 7, 2010
  15. Listing Internet MovieDatabase
  16. "Tveit and Butz Reveal 'CATCH ME' Casting, Musical Premieres at Seattle's 5th Ave 7/23-8/14"
  17. "Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit, Kerry Butler and Tom Wopat Set for Broadway's 'Catch Me If You Can' " Archived 2010-11-12 at the Wayback Machine
  18. Drama Desk Awards Go to Book of Mormon, Normal Heart, War Horse, Sutton Foster, Norbert Leo Butz Archived 2011-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  19. Jones, Kenneth "War Horse, Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, Normal Heart Win 2011 Tony Awards", June 12, 2011
  20. "Tony Winners Norbert Leo Butz and Frank Wood Join Penn Badgley in Greetings from Tim Buckley". August 22, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  21. Kurchak, Sarah (August 15, 2012). "TIFF 2012 Adds Greetings From Tim Buckley, Spike Lee's Bad 25 Michael Jackson Doc, Skrillex Soundtrack". Spinner. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  22. Simonson, Robert. "PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 1-7: Hal David, Willy Wonka, Flashdance on Broadway" Archived 2012-09-18 at the Wayback Machine, September 7, 2012
  23. Desk, TV News. "THE BAND'S VISIT, CAROUSEL & More Nominated for 2019 GRAMMY AWARDS". Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  24. "Norbert Leo Butz Shares Memory & Mayhem at CD Signing". Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  25. Tamanini, Matt (April 8, 2015). "BWW Interview: Norbert Leo Butz Discusses Working with his Idol on Netflix's BLOODLINE, His New Album, More". Broadway World. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
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