July 25, 1971
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Actor, Comedian, Singer
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Few performers ever get to recreate a signature stage role on film, but Miriam Shor was among the lucky ones when she was tapped to play the Croatian-born aspiring drag queen Yitzhak in the feature film "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (2001). As with her acclaimed stage take on the part, many were duped into believing that this attractive brunette was really a man. Although born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Miriam Shor spent her formative years in Italy where her academic father was teaching and studying. Even after her parents' divorce, she divided her time between Detroit, Michigan (where her mother settled) and Venice, Italy (where her father was living). Around age 12, Shor watched her older sister in a high school production of "Hello, Dolly!" and found her calling. Active in the arts in high school, she was among the first people in the newly formed BFA theater program at the University of Michigan. Even before her junior year, Shor scored her union card when she was cast in an Equity production of "A Man for All Seasons" in Connecticut. Like many, she headed for the Big Apple after graduating college. Unlike most struggling actors, Shor didn't have to fall back on waiting tables; in fact, within days of her arrival in NYC, she landed a spot in the chorus of a touring edition of "Fiddler on the Roof" starring Theodore Bikel. In 1994, she hooked up with composer Stephen Trask and actor John Cameron Mitchell and debuted as Yitzhak in workshops of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Playing a male with desires to be a drag queen who ends up married to the titular frontwoman for a rock band, Shor landed a gift of a part. Most audience members who saw the show in its various incarnations could not believe that it was actually a woman playing the long-haired, bearded, embittered roadie/backup singer. She remained with the project through its various incarnations, including a triumphal 1998 Off-Broadway opening and the 2001 feature adaptation. As if to prove she wasn't just a one-character wonder, though, Shor found work in films and TV. She offered a fine comic turn as the leading lady's college roommate in the Sundance-screened "Let It Snow/Snow Day" (2000) and made her TV series debut as the irreverent sidekick to a woman involved with a much younger man in the short-lived ABC sitcom "Then Came You" (also 2000). Shor was cast as a sultry hostess in the remake of "Bedazzled" and made a second attempt at TV stardom as the title character's confidante and potential love interest in "Inside Schwartz" (NBC, 2001). Despite mixed reviews (most of which praised the actress' work), that series was cancelled after only nine airings. Undoubtedly, Shor would eventually find a role equal to that of Yitzhak, whether it be on stage or screen.