An attractive, honey blonde actress and singer, Debra Monk first garnered attention in theatrical circles as one of the co-writers and co-stars of the cult musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes. " While working as a waitress in NYC, the Maryland native began keeping a journal and together with Mark Hardwick, Cass Morgan, Jim Wann, John Foley and John Schimmel formed a band out of which grew the stage show about sisters who operate a roadside diner and the grease monkeys next-door. Featuring a country-pop score, "Pump Boys and Dinettes" moved from off-off-Broadway to off-Broadway to Broadway, where it received a Tony nomination as the Best Musical of 1982 and was filmed for NBC as "Pump Boys and Dinettes on Television" (1983). As sometimes can happen when an actor becomes closely identified with a role, Monk was perceived in NYC theater circles as a rockabilly singer. Intent on proving her capabilities, she decamped to the Actors Theatre of Louisville where she spent three seasons performing in dramatic and comic roles. Returning to NYC, she and Hardwick (along with Mary Murfitt and Mike Carver) co-wrote and appeared in "Oil City Symphony," a 1987 Off-Broadway musical about a reunion concert of four Midwestern musicians. While Monk could easily have fallen prey to being pigeonholed yet again, she had already become established as a powerful stage actress. Director Norman Rene tapped her to play a housewife in Craig Lucas' superb fable "Prelude to a Kiss" (1990) before she created the flaky Sara Jane Moore, a woman who set out to kill US President Gerald Ford, in the dark Stephen Sondheim musical "Assassins" (1990-91). In 1993, Monk won a Tony Award for her featured turn as the sardonic aunt of an Amerasian girl seeking information on her parents in the Pacific Northwest in Lanford Wilson's "Redwood Curtain." The following year, she displayed her versatility as the spinster schoolteacher in a Broadway revival of "Picnic," for which she netted her second Tony nomination. A third nod came for her brassy burlesque performer (and the showstopping "Everybody's Girl") in the Kander & Ebb musical "Steel Pier" (1997).