Norbert Leo Butz is one of Broadway’s most versatile stars who can fit in any male leading role. He’s a two-time Tony Award winner whose notable credits include Rent, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Catch Me If You Can, Thou Shalt Not, and Wicked, among others. He is one of the only nine actors ever to have won the award twice as a lead actor.
Butz is also seen in a lot of shows, both in the small and big screen, including The Good Wife, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Bloodline, Blue Bloods, Mercy Street, Wonder Park, The English Teacher, Fair Game, and more.
Norbert Leo Butz (January 30, 1967) was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elaine and Norbert Butz, who are both devout Catholics. He was raised in a middle-class family and the seventh of the 11 children in his family. His first theater experience included playing the male leads at local all-girl high schools. Butz graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. He also gained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alabama.
Broadway and Theater Career
On his Broadway debut, Butz started as a replacement swing (a type of understudy) in Rent in 1996. The next year, he ultimately replaced Adam Pascal as Roger. He starred in Thou Shall Not in 2001, which he received a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination. In 2003, he played as the original Fiyero in the best-selling musical Wicked. He also starred in the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in 2003, for which he received a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Drama League Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award.
Off-Broadway, he also performed in The Last Five Years, Songs for a New World, Saved, and Juno and the Paycock. He also toured as an Emcee in Cabaret, and as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in the early 2000s.
In 2007, Butz starred in the world premiere of Mark Twain’s Is He Dead?, which opened at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre. The production received favorable reviews but closed after 105 performances.
Butz replaced Jeremy Piven in David Mamet’s play Speed-the-Plow after the latter suddenly dropped out of the play after experiencing health problems. He took over the part from December 2008 to January 2009 after William H. Macy assumed the role.
In 2010, Butz returned to the Broadway stage in Lucy Prebble’s ENRON. Despite its Tony Award nominations, the show lasted for only a month after struggling with ticket sales.
Butz pioneered the role of Agent Carl Hanratty in the musical Catch Me if You Can, which he played in Broadway tryouts in 2009. He played the role in the Broadway production that lasted from April to September 2011. He won his second Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and his second Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for his performance.
From 2012 to 2013, Butz appeared on Broadway in Theresa Rebeck’s Dead Accounts, along with big stars like Katie Holmes, Josh Hamilton, Judy Greer and Jayne Houdyshell. He starred in the Andrew Lippa musical Big Fish, which opened on Broadway in the Neil Simon Theater. He also played in a limited engagement revival of Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive in 2012.
In 2018, Butz starred in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady as Alfred Doolittle. For this performance, he received a nomination for Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. He also appeared in the original musical collaboration titled TWOHANDER with musical director Todd Almond, whom he shared the stage with for the musicals The Last Five Years and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Film and Television Career
Butz had roles in films such as Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God… Be Back by Five (1998), Noon Blue Apples (2002), and West of Here (2002). In 2007, he starred as Clay Burns in Dan in Real Life (2007) alongside Steve Carell, Dane Cook, and Juliette Binoche. In 2010-2011, he appeared in films Fair Game (2010), and Higher Ground (2011). In 2011, Butz starred in an indie drama film Higher Ground.
Butz also starred as Rowdy Kaiser in The Deep End, a legal drama that aired in ABC in 2010. In 2012, he appeared as himself in an episode of the NBC musical drama Smash. He also starred in the 2013 film Better Living Through Chemistry. He’s visible in Netflix too, as he played the role of Kevin Rayburn in the 2015 television show Bloodline. From 2016 to 2017, Butz starred as the main cast of the PBS medical drama Mercy Street, playing the character of Dr. Byron Hale.
In 2020, Butz will appear in the upcoming NBC drama series Debris to play the role of Craig Maddox.
- Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, Tony Award (2005) – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Drama Desk Award (2005) – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Distinguished Performance, Drama League Award (2005) – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Outer Critics Circle Award (2005) – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, Tony Award (2011) – Catch Me if You Can
- Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Drama Desk Award (2011) – Catch Me if You Can
- Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Outer Critics Circle Award (2018) – My Fair Lady