Norbert Leo Butz

Norbert Leo Butz
Born (1967-01-30) January 30, 1967
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active 1996–present
Spouse(s) Michelle Federer (m. 2007)
Children 3

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.

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]

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.[6][7]

Butz's daughter, Georgia Teresa, was born on January 2, 2011. Butz has two additional daughters, Clara and Maggie Davis, from a previous marriage.[8]


Butz made his Broadway debut as a replacement swing – a type of understudy – in Rent in 1996, after original swing David Driver was fired. 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).[9] 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 claimed to be experiencing health problems related to high mercury levels in his blood. Butz took over the part until January 13, 2009, when William H. Macy assumed the role for the remainder of the play's run.[10]

Butz taught at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey for the spring semester in 2008 in the drama department.[11][12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] Butz played the role of Carl Hanratty in the Broadway production of Catch Me if You Can, which opened on April 10, 2011[16] and closed in September 2011. For this role he won his second Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical[17] and his second Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.[18]

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.[19][20]

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.[21]

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 plays Kevin Rayburn in the 2015 Netflix television show Bloodline.



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five Pawnbroker
2000 Looking for an Echo Vocals for Anthony Pirelli
2002 Noon Blue Apples Howard Phillips
West of Here Josiah Blackwell
2007 Dan in Real Life Clay Burns
2010 Fair Game Steve
2011 Higher Ground Pastor Bill
2012 Greetings from Tim Buckley Hal Willner
Disconnect Peter
2013 The English Teacher Vice Principal Phil Pelaski
2014 Better Living Through Chemistry Agent Andrew Carp


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit John Fenwick Episode: "Misleader"
2007 Playing Chicken Jake Unsold pilot
2008 Comanche Moon Richard King Episode: "#1.2"
2009 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Archie Beuliss Episode: "In Treatment"
2010 The Deep End Rowdy Kaise 7 episodes
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Larry Lamotte Episode: "Bump and Grind"
2011 The Good Wife Mr. Medina Episode: "Two Courts"
The Late Show with David Letterman Carl Hanratty Episode: "Dr. Phil/Chris Hemsworth/Catch Me If You Can"
Blue Bloods Detective Kramer Episode: "Moonlighting"
The Miraculous Year Terry Segal Television film
2012 County Billy Krakowski Unsold pilot
2015–present Bloodline Kevin Rayburn Main cast
2016 Mercy Street Dr. Byron Hale Main cast


Year Title Role Notes
1996–2008 Rent Roger Davis
2000 Juno and the Paycock Jerry Levine
2001–02 Thou Shalt Not Camille Raquin
2002 The Last Five Years Jamie Wellerstein
Carousel Jigger Craigin
2003 Buicks Bill Abeline
2003–04 Wicked Fiyero Tigelaar
2005–06 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Freddy Benson
2007–08 Is He Dead? Jean-François Millet
2008–09 Speed-the-Plow Bobby Gould
2008 Fifty Words Adam
2010 Enron Jeffrey Skilling
2011 Catch Me If You Can Agent Carl Hanratty
2012–13 Dead Accounts Jack
2012 How I Learned to Drive Uncle Peck
2013 Big Fish Edward Bloom

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
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 Drama Desk Award 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



  1. "Norbert Leo Butz Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  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. Hetrick, Adam (July 22, 2009). "Catch Me If You Can Previews Cancelled Through July 26". Playbill.
  7. 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.
  8. "'Wicked' Sweethearts Norbert Leo Butz and Michelle Federer Welcome Baby Girl Georgia". January 3, 2011.
  9. "'Fifty Words' Listing" Internet Off-Broadway database, accessed November 20, 2011
  10. "Jeremy Piven Abruptly Abandons Broadway Play" People Magazine, December 18, 2008
  11. Robert Wnorowski (30 November 2007). "Broadway performer to teach at Drew". The Acorn. Drew University. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  12. Stacie MacLaughlin (22 February 2008). "Curtain rises for Broadway star's arrival". The Acorn. Drew University. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
  13. Tony-Winner Norbert Leo Butz to Star in ENRON on Broadway, January 7, 2010
  14. Listing Internet MovieDatabase
  15. "Tveit and Butz Reveal 'CATCH ME' Casting, Musical Premieres at Seattle's 5th Ave 7/23-8/14"
  16. "Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit, Kerry Butler and Tom Wopat Set for Broadway's 'Catch Me If You Can' "
  17. Drama Desk Awards Go to Book of Mormon, Normal Heart, War Horse, Sutton Foster, Norbert Leo Butz
  18. Jones, Kenneth "War Horse, Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, Normal Heart Win 2011 Tony Awards", June 12, 2011
  19. "Tony Winners Norbert Leo Butz and Frank Wood Join Penn Badgley in Greetings from Tim Buckley". August 22, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  20. 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.
  21. Simonson, Robert. "PLAYBILL THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Sept. 1-7: Hal David, Willy Wonka, Flashdance on Broadway", September 7, 2012
  23. 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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