Born in St Born in St. Joseph, Michigan, northeast of Chicago. Attended North Farmington High School, in Michigan, and graduated with a BA in dance from the University of Akron, in Ohio.
(click on the little pictures to enlarge them)
Grandmother was famed mezzo-soprano Winifred Heidt, one of the stars of the New York City Opera), who was known for playing the role of Carmen all over the world. Later on, Ms. Heidt played Mrs. Mullin in the 1956 New York City Center revival of CAROUSEL, with Barbara Cook (as Carrie) and Jo Sullivan (as Julie)—in the same theater where Karen would eventually star in productions for Encores! at City Center. Karen would perform with her grandmother’s old company, starring in New York City Opera productions including the first New York revival of 110 IN THE SHADE.
First major New York job was as one of the three leading ladies in the 50TH Anniversary Celebration of RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL. KZ was backed up by the Rockettes for the first time;she would perform with them again some years later in the PBS Great Performances telecast when she sang the song "I Wanna Be a Rockette."
Appeared in FUNNY FACE at Goodspeed Opera House, adapted by Alfred Uhry and directed by Will Mackenzie, who would later direct KZ in I DO! I DO!
KZ joined national company of A CHORUS LINE, playing Maggie. Also appeared in the roles of Cassie, Diana and Bebe.First Broadway show is A Chorus Line, at New York’s Shubert Theatre, as Diana Morales. She was privileged to appear in the show’s record breaking performance celebration, staged by Michael Bennett, the night it became Broadway’s longest running musical.
While rehearsing for the A CHORUS LINE spectacular, Karen took over the leading role of Peggy Sawyer in David Merrick’s original production of 42ND STREET, playing opposite Jerry Orbach and James Brennan.
Karen stars in Rodgers and Hart’s Babes in Arms, directed by Ginger Rogers, at The Music Hall, in Tarrytown, NY
Appears as Alice Roosevelt in Broadway’s Teddy and Alice, opposite Len Cariou and Ron Raines.
Karen is featured in the Mitchell Parrish revue, Stardust, at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C.
Appears in Nunsense as Sisters Hubert, Leo and Amnesia at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre Off-Broadway.
Appears in Some Enchanted Evening, a tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein at the State Theatre of New Jersey, with Mary Rodgers, Bill Hammerstein, Barbara Cook and Marilyn Horne.
Makes her New York City Opera debut as Gladys in The Pajama Game, and plays one of the Pink Sheep in Candide later that season.
KZ wins the Drama Desk Award as Best Featured Actress in a Musical for this John Kander/Fred Ebb revue, marking her first collaboration with Susan Stroman, Scott Ellis, David Thompson and Kander & Ebb. The show is recorded for RCA.
And The World Goes ‘Round: During the run of AND THE WORLD GOES' ROUND, KZ simultaneously plays Cleo in the NYC Opera production of THE MOST HAPPY FELLA at the New York State Theatre as chronicled in Marty Bell's book BROADWAY STORIES.
Makes her Carnegie Hall debut performing in Cole Porter’s 100th birthday celebration.
Appears in FIFTY MILLION FRENCHMEN, Cole Porter's 1929 musical, in a special concert for the Alliance Francaise. (Recorded on New World Records)
Appears opposite Bill Irwin in Stephen Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall for PBS.
Receives rave reviews and New York City Opera’s DIVA award from the Princess Grace Foundation, for her performance as Lizzie Curry in NYC Opera’s production of 110 in the Shade, directed by Scott Ellis, and choreographed by Susan Stroman. 110…marks her first collaboration with that show’s songwriting team, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, who would later ask her to play Agnes in the revival of their show I Do! I Do!
Appears in A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING, the hit Rodgers & Hammerstein revue, at Rockefeller Center's Rainbows and Stars, directed by Walter Bobbie.
Stars in national tour of the Gershwin musical hit CRAZY FOR YOU (directed by Mike Ockrent and choreographed by Susan Stroman), for which KZ won Chicago's prestigious Joseph Jefferson (JEFF) Award and was nominated for the LA Drama Critics Circle Award.
Appears in Rodgers & Hammerstein's ALLEGRO during the inaugural season of Encores! At City Center.
Plays Miss Benson in a concert version of Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing, directed by Kathleen Marshall, at the State Theatre in New Jersey.
Appears in PBS Evening at Pops: Tribute to George Gershwin.
Stars in the revival of I DO! I DO! with David Garrison. Directed by Will Mackenzie and marking KZ's second collaboration with Jones & Schmidt. Received Drama Desk Award nomination for her performance. (Recorded for Varese Sarabande)
Appears in PBS' Great Performances telecast, Ira Gershwin at 100
Stars in STEEL PIER, playing Rita Racine, the role created for her by her long-time collaborators Scott Ellis, David Thompson, Susan Stroman and the show’s composer and lyricist John Kander & Fred Ebb. KZ receives her first Tony nomination for her performance. (Recorded for RCA/BMG Classics)
On NBC’s Law and Order, she guests as forensics expert, Detective Tarvis, playing opposite her former 42nd Street leading man Jerry Orbach…now starring as Detective Lenny Briscoe.
Appears in ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1936 for Encores! At City Center (recorded on CD for Decca Broadway).
Contact, created by Susan Stroman and John Weidman, opens at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theatre, to rave reviews. In a few months, it moves upstairs to the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, for an extended run. During the run of Contact, Karen stars as Nellie Forbush in a Lincoln Center Theatre concert performance of South Pacific, opposite George Hearn, directed by Jerry Zaks.
Karen Ziemba receives the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance as The Wife in CONTACT
Appears in The Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Angela Lansbury, in Washington, D.C., telecast on CBS
Stars at Rochester’s GeVa Theatre in the East Coast premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s dual comedies, HOUSE and GARDEN.
Sings for the Juilliard School gala honoring Richard Rodgers’ centennial, and former Juilliard Chairman Mary Rodgers Guettel.
Plays Lucy Brown in the all-star production of The Three Penny Opera at the Williamstown Theatre Festival…
…Later that summer, appears in Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party, Oldcastle Theatre, Bennington, Vermont.
On Broadway, plays Mabel, in the Jerome Kern musical, Never Gonna Dance for which she wins the Outer Critics Circle Award, and also her third Tony award nomination).
Plays Kevin Tighe’s girlfriend, Isabel, in LAW AND ORDER: CrIminal Intent.
Stars as Rosie, in Bye, Bye Birdie, with Dan Jenkins and Doris Roberts for Encores! at City Center
Appears, in the musical, The Opposite of Sex, at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, and wins the Bay Area Theatre Critics Award.
Sings in Dorothy’s Side of the Street: the Dorothy Fields Centennial Celebration, for Lyrics and Lyricists, at the 92nd Street Y.
Plays Sabina in the workshop of Kander and Ebb’s musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth at the McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
Stars in Ken Ludwig’s comedy Leading Ladies, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Is one of Broadway’s leading ladies who perform a tribute for honoree Julie Harris, for The Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. telecast on CBS.
Appears in public reading of Deborah Grace Winer’s play, Big Important Issues, part of Artistic Director Joanne Woodward’s “Funny Mondays” new works series at the Westport Country Playhouse.
Featured as an “Opening Nighter” in The Producers movie.
Plays Brian Dennehy’s physician, Dr. Gould, on LAW AND ORDER : SVU.
Winifred Heidt in "SAMSON & DELILAH" / Nelly's NYC
Winifred Heidt as CARMEN / Bruno of Hollywood
The Rockettes / Joseph Sinnot
JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY / Carol Rosegg
THE PAJAMA GAME / Sara Krulwich - NY TIMES
Tony Award / Patrick McMullen
CHICAGO with Ernie Sabella / Carol Rosegg
Rita Racine in STEEL PIER / Joan Marcus
ENCORES at Radio City Music HAll / LeMoine
THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND / Joan Marcus