“I knew early on what I was destined to do.
And nothing was going to stop me.”
Shannon carries with her a contagious energy wherever she goes. The doe-eyed Broadway Star was born to perform and is living her dream by entertaining the world. She has been featured on Film, in Television and Commercials, on Stages nationwide, and as the longest running star role, Tracy Turnblad, in the hit Broadway show HAIRSPRAY.
Born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas, The triple threat entertainer grew up with an insatiable desire to inspire. Old classics like The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line, Annie and The Little Mermaid motivated her to begin dance classes at the Miller-Marley School of Dance and Voice when she was only Three years old. Before the age of Ten, she was chosen to be a part of a world touring dance troop The Miller Marley Entertainers. By age 12, Shannon was teaching dance classes and private dance lessons to make a money and further her grand plans.
Throughout high school Shannon made the trek to New York City in the summers and on breaks where she studied with award-winning instructors, Phil Black, Wes Veldink, all the while honing in her acting skills on such regional productions as, They’re Playing Our Song, Peter Pan, and Grease.
At the age of 18, determined to be on the big stage, Shannon packed her bags and moved to New York full time. She attended The American Musical Dramatic Academy (AMDA) for 2 years where she was able to flourish into a Broadway potential. Earning her way through school by waiting tables in the evenings and at nights after a full day of classes, Shannon was still able to find the time to train.
Just a few short months after graduating AMDA, a fateful glimpse at a newspaper article offered Shannon a roadmap to her success; an open casting call for the first National Tour of Hairspray stared back at her in black ink.
After standing in line for hours with over a thousand other prospects, Shannon finally got her chance to amaze. The producers and casting agents were so impressed by Shannon that she was immediately hired as Tracy Turnblad on Broadway. “I was overwhelmed that they wanted me on Broadway,” Shannon remarked. “It felt like I was living in a fairytale.”
New to the business and without representation, Shannon negotiated her own contracts and had her first conference call within days of the casting session. After years of disparaging comments and being told to lose weight, Shannon had now landed a dream job where the role she played mirrored in many ways her own life, as well as her triumphs in the face of adversity.
On August 12, 2003, Shannon Durig opened with her first professional gig and began her journey as Tracy Turnblad in a hit show on Broadway. And that was just the first dream to be checked off her long list.
After holding the record for the longest running Tracy Turnblad and performing in over 1,000 shows, Shannon knew it was time to spread her wings and make the argues leap into the Movie industry.
Despite her countless successes, Shannon continually battles with the idea of her external self-image in the form of her weight. Ridicule in her adolescent life and discouragement from friends who once tried to detour her from the entertainment path she had chosen still resonates with her today as she strives to overcome and achieve. Shannon puts it, “I knew early on what I was destined to do and nothing was going to stop me. That heartbreak only made me stronger. It made me work harder than ever to prove myself,” she said. “Body image was, and is such a huge factor in society, especially in the entertainment industry. I want young girls to value themselves and know that what’s on the inside matters more than what is on the outside. The only thing that can truly hold you back is yourself. Take me for example, I’m living my dream, forget the critics.”
Shannon has gone on to be a recurring role on the Disney Channel, on Jonas LA, and Handy Manny. She has also found success in many other areas of the entertainment industry; working as a dancer, singer, voice over artist, choreographer, dance competition judge, and as a passionate and inspirational teacher.
Now bicoastal, living in both New York and Los Angeles, she continues to pursue the next chapter of success in her life. “I love cities and I love the people in them. There is something so special about being around people who have the same passion as you and can share in that creative process together.” “You have to pick yourself up and keep on pushing,” she says. “I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.” night after night the sound of applause and seeing the crowd on their feet is a constant reminder that dreams really do come true. “I am so very blessed. I am grateful every day that I get to do this for a living. Because this is a blast and I am just taking off”