Melissa Errico (born March 23, 1970) is an American actress, singer and recording artist. While she is best known for her work on Broadway, she has increasingly begun to establish herself on television and film.
Born in Manhattan, Errico moved to Manhasset on Long Island at an early age. Her mother was a public school teacher in Harlem, and her father an orthopedic surgeon. Her parents supported her early interest in ballet, and gymnastics, and Melissa competed nationally as a gymnast. Her passion for theater was sparked when she appeared in a Girl Scouts production and was cemented by many summers spent at an arts camp where her unique acrobatic skill and natural singing voice immediately won her comedic roles in musicals. This may explain why, later in her career, even Stephen Sondheim encouraged her to do cartwheels in "Sunday In The Park With George" at The Kennedy Center. Melissa's childhood idols were Bernadette Peters, Robert Lindsey, Angela Lansbury and Juliette Binoche.
During her freshman year at Yale College, Errico was cast as Cosette in the first national touring company of Les Misérables. She interrupted her studies for three semesters but eventually went back to New Haven and received her degrees in art history and philosophy with honors. From there she went to Oxford to study acting in programs dedicated to Shakespeare and Chekhov. She returned to the Yale School of Drama but withdrew to make her Broadway debut in a musical adaptation of Anna Karenina at Circle in the Square in 1992.
Additional stage credits include the 1993 revival of My Fair Lady (starring Richard Chamberlain ), High Society, Amour (Tony Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical), Dracula, the Musical and White Christmas. In 2004, she starred in the lauded hit production of Finian's Rainbow, winning the moniker "the voice of enchantment!" at the Irish Repertory Theater, where she also starred in "The Importance of Being Earnest," "Major Barbara" and "Candida," earning nominations for each. She was selected by Stephen Sondheim to star in "Sunday In The Park With George" at The Kennedy Center, and became a favorite at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles where she starred in "My Fair Lady" (John Lithgow), "Camelot" (Jeremy Irons), and "The Sound of Music" (Marni Nixon/John Schneider). She co-starred with Lili Taylor in Wally Shawn's hit revival of "Aunt Dan and Lemon".
Errico has worked twice with Darren Star, both as a series regular on his 1995 television series Central Park West and Miss Match. She played Ed's recurring ex-wife on Edhad a strong guest role on Law & Order, and appeared on "Six Degrees," "Gifted Man" and others. She has been cast to star in television pilots by Spike Lee, Kelsey Grammar, Jon Favreau, Larry Charles and Ed Burns. Melissa has worked in many independent films including Patrimony with Robert Vaughn, Loose Women, and Bury The Evidence. Her mainstream movies with leading roles include Life or Something Like It starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns, Frequency starring Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid and Loverboy opposite Kyra Sedgwick, directed by Kevin Bacon.
Errico has a close working relationship with film/jazz/pop composer Michel Legrand, with whom she collaborated on "Legrand Affair," her third CD, produced by Phil Ramone which debuted to rave reviews on October 18, 2011 on Ghostlight Records. Her acclaimed debut solo release on EMI, Blue Like That, released in 2003, was produced by Arif Mardin. Errico's second CD is titled Lullabies and Wildflowers and was released on April 29, 2008. As described by the USA Today the work was "inspired by her daughter and her fellow Moms, Errico's pure, clear voice sparkles with soulful and unmannered intimacy." The CD includes "Gentle Child", Errico's first recording of one of her own songs. Lullabies and Wildflowers was produced by Rob Mathes and was released by Velour/Universal Records. Errico has appeared in concert at Joe's Pub, the Kennedy Center, and Avery Fisher Hall, and extensively throughout the country with symphonies. In 2008, she made an acclaimed London concert debut at the Palladium with Angela Lansbury and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the 2009-2010 New York theater season, Errico made a welcome return to the stage since having three daughters. Her twins were 8-months old, and she had a three-year old for whom she bought a Barbie Dreamhouse and put it in her dressing room at The Marquis Theater where she was starring in the Broadway musical White Christmas playing Betty, the role immortalized on film by Rosemary Clooney. This Broadway turn was immediately followed by an acclaimed performance off-Broadway in the title role in George Bernard Shaw's Candida for which she was called "commanding" (Time Out), "beguiling and enigmatic" (Associated Press) and "gorgeous...a delight to behold" (New York Times), earning her a Drama Desk nomination and filmed for Lincoln Center. She went on to star that spring in the film Patrimony opposite Robert Vaughn, premiering at the Boston Film Festival in 2011 and the NY International Shorts Festival in May 2012. Errico played Fiona in Brigadoon for a one-night all-star staged benefit concert on Broadway in June 2010, which the New York Times called "exquisite". She followed in June 2011 with a revival of Camelot with her friend and mentor Jeremy Irons and in 2012 by a sensational "Oliver!" leading Hal Prince to write her a memorable letter. The most demanding and emotional role Errico ever played was as Helen the wife opposite Alec Baldwin (as Edward, her intense playwright husband) in the US premiere of the violent Peter Shaffer drama The Gift of The Gorgon at The Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York, a role previously played in London by Judi Dench. Errico worked closely with Mr. Shaffer during a short rehearsal period for this production and found the role overwhelming, as did Ms. Dench in her recollection in her biography "And Furthermore."
On the concert stage, Errico filled in for Barbara Cook in a major fundraiser concert guested on the CBS drama "A Gifted Man," and her new CD "Legrand Affair" was released. Her writing of a published essay called Musing explains the scope of the project, the countries travelled and her memories of the six years making the recording. She also appeared in a workshop of Regina Spektor's musical Beauty written and directed by Tina Landau. In the spring of 2012, Melissa "blew the roof off" Joe's Pub http://broadwayworld.com/article/Photo-Coverage-Melissa-Errico-Back-at-Joes-Pub-20120418 with her second sold-out concert of the season at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater; followed that autumn by a week-long engagement at 54 Below which garnered raves ("Errico can take a soaring Broadway ballad to the moon and back!" - NY Times and "I'd forgotten how FUNNY she can be!!"- NY Post). She has done two one-woman shows at 54 Below, sharing anecdotes about juggling motherhood with a career and a marriage. Her 2014 show was titled "At The Corner of 54th and Crazy."
In 2013, Errico played Clara in the acclaimed New York revival of "Passion" directed by John Doyle winning raves such as "I have never seen or heard a better Clara" (Wall Street Journal),"Errico's lush soprano is a seduction in itself" (The Village Voice) and "Errico has ripened into nuanced maturity and brings texture and dimension to Clara who isn't, in this version, all surface" (The New York Times), and earning a 2013 Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. She was selected by Stephen Soderbergh to portray a recurring character on his groundbreaking historical Cinemax television series "The Knick" starring Clive Owen and set in the year 1900 in New York City. Season One began in July 2014 and was widely praised and admired. After shooting completed, Melissa was cast to star as Annie Savoy in the World Premiere of "Bull Durham," a new musical based on the wildly popular baseball film originally starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. The show premiered at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta and the Variety review stated "As the titillating tutor, Errico lands and decisively delivers one of the best roles of her career. She gingerly keeps Annie’s aims noble, not slutty, and her embrace of “the church of baseball” is sweetly heartfelt, kooky and naive." The pop-rock musical style of Bull Durham by singer-songwriter Susan Werner was a new direction for Melissa and The New York Times noted "As the sexually liberated, philosophically inclined Annie, Ms. Errico enhances her polished soprano with a down-home twang. Her solo, “A Little Time to Myself,” a ballad in which she sings of the pleasures of independence, is among the show’s more successful attempts to flesh out the story by deepening the characters." On November 19th, 2014, Errico was united on stage with Susan Sarandon who hosted the Annual Gala for the renowned Silver Hill Hospital and Drug Rehabilitation Center for which Melissa will provide the solo musical entertainment with her band. In 2015, Errico reprises her role of Maria opposite Jonathan Cake in a two-week stint of "More Between Heaven and Earth," a play about the love affair and epistolary romance of Thomas Jefferson and Maria Cosway, narrated by Kathleen Chalfant. Errico has played the role on and off at special events for three years, previously with Matthew Modine and Campbell Scott as Jefferson.
Errico will be heard as the voice on a beautiful new soundtrack written by Michel Legrand for an upcoming film starring Jerry Lewis called "Max Rose." The song is called "Hurry Home" with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman.NY Times USA Today Brantley, Ben."Theater Talkback: One Night Only, 'Brigadoon'"The New York Times, June 16, 2010 "Melissa Errico Steps in for Barbara Cook" broadwayworld.com, November 3, 2011 Gans, Andrew."It's a "Legrand Affair" for Melissa Errico: New CD Due in Stores Oct. 18" playbill.com, October 18, 2011 "Melissa Erricos Musings" playbill.com
Errico's brother Mike is a singer-songwriter. Her younger sister, Melanie Errico, is a fashion designer. She married her childhood sweetheart, tennis pro Patrick McEnroe, on December 19, 1998 and became the sister-in-law of John McEnroe. Errico and McEnroe have three daughters: Victoria Penny, born 2006 and twins Juliette and Diana, born in 2008.
She is the founder of Bowery Babes, a mothers support group with a membership of over 2,500 families, focusing on improving life in downtown Manhattan and lending support to charities such as "Cookies For Cancer" and Bette Midler's NY Restoration Project, as well as offering educational programs, parties, depression counseling and playgroups for new parents. The enterprise sprang from a yoga class, and became "wildly popular". It was founded in 2005, became a NY non-profit in 2009 and then in 2010, Melissa launched a new website at www.bowerybabes.com with subgroups supporting Special Needs parenting, as well as single moms, adoption, community service and much more. In 2011, she began applying for significant grant monies for parks improvements and is currently working with Bowery Babes staff members and City Council for the renovation of DeSalvio Playground.Patrick McEnroe and Melissa Errico Have Twins! Celebrity Baby Blog, February 1, 2009 http://www.bowerybabes.com My Fair Mommy, New York Observer.