Debra Toscano, the actress known most as a supporting role character with a little comedy relief, is breaking both legs – so to speak – while on and off Broadway!
Born in Astoria, Queens, and raised on Long Island, Toscano caught the acting bug at age 5 and has been dancing, singing, playing the piano and accordion ever since. Her first acting role was as Betsy Ross in 1776. She says, “I was in the forth grade, so I started pretty young.”
Fast forward to 2013, Toscano has several projects that will be out at the same time and is constantly auditioning for more roles. She’s currently playing Aunt ToniAnn in My Big Gay Italian Wedding and My Big Gay Italian Funeral after auditioning in May and was called back and then offered the role. Gay Funeral opened on June 1, and Toscano took over the role for the wedding version on June 23, and both shows were extended from September to March 2014 at the St. Luke’s Theater in Manhattan.
Toscano explains, “I play the crazy Aunt ToniAnn who thinks she is smart and classy when in reality she is NOT so smart and NOT so classy! Big hair to go along with her big personality, she is over the top with her big hair, her clothes, her jewelry and her attitude. She says what she wants and really has no filter. She is the comedic relief just when things start to get serious, and she says and does crazy and outlandish things. ToniAnn is an essential part of the show because there is nobody like her. She is one of a kind.”
If anyone knows what a triple threat is, you’d consider Toscano one since she sings, acts and is a dancer who sincerely enjoys live theater. Toscano professes her love and tells why. “Anything can happen while you are on stage at any given moment, and there is nothing better than the rush of performing live and in the moment.”
Call her ambitious, but Toscano’s sights are set on the art of acting and is doing a lot of films and television as well.
She says, “It’s totally different yet the same. You have to be in the moment for film and TV as well but you get a second chance to do it over if something doesn’t come out well. If I had my way I would be filming either a movie or a sitcom during the week and then perform shows on the weekend. I would take either one of those three full time.”
Although My Gay Italian Wedding and Funeral plays debut many talented individuals, Toscano is most impressed by Anthony J. Wilkinson, the writer and the star of both shows, and feels fortunate to share the stage with him weekly. Another great talent that Toscano shares the stage with is Meagan Robar, an actress who plays three different characters in the Funeral version.
“She (Meagan Robar) is so talented and funny, sometimes I have to catch myself and not laugh at what she is doing or saying,” Toscano says. She adds, “Everyone does an amazing job at making these two shows a hit each week. I’m lucky to say I am surrounded by great talents.”
We asked Toscano if she is a supporter of gay and lesbian marriages. She answered very straight forward, saying, “I support gay and lesbian marriages 150 million percent! Love is love, and I don’t care who you chose to share your life with. If someone makes you happy, who cares who he or she is as long as you are committed, and if it’s a ‘works for us’ type of relationship, then more power to you!”
Coming in 2014, Debra will have the opportunity to be seen on the big screen in an indie film titled “Pain: A Revenge,” where her character Helen is an anger management coach, as well as new soap opera about a soap opera called “Tainted Dreams: The Series” as Melissa Rhodes, who is an assistant director of the soap slated for TV in January.
You can also purchase her CD on iTunes now called “My Angel,” an album infused with pop, rock, jazz and country music genre.
Follow Debra Toscano on Facebook (Debra Ann Toscano), Instagram @DebbieLala105 and Twitter @debbielala