Ivy Austin (born Ivy Lynn Epstein; January 19, 1958 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American actress, singer, and voice-over artist. Best known for her performances on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion and her Sesame Street voices, Ivy Austin also starred on Broadway in Raggedy Ann.
Early life and education:
Ivy Austin is a graduate of the High School of Performing Arts and Colgate University.
Austin's stage career began with national tours of Hair (as Crissy) in 1976 and They're Playing Our Song (Alter Ego) in 1979. She made her New York City Opera debut in 1982's Candide (Pink Sheep) and remained on the guest artist roster through 1989. Other NYCO credits include Naughty Marietta (Lisette), The Merry Widow (Zozo), The Music Man (Ethel Toffelmier), The New Moon, The Desert Song, South Pacific, and Sweeney Todd (Beggar Woman). Austin's Broadway debut in 1986 was as the starring role in the Joe Raposo/William Gibson musical Raggedy Ann, directed by Patricia Birch.
In 1989, Austin performed "The Story of Gloria" on American Radio Company (now known as A Prairie Home Companion). According to Time Magazine, "The show's funniest sketch, a serial, produced a new star, actress Ivy Austin." She also played the crusty-voiced French lady Babette, and sang with Rob Fisher and The Coffee Club Orchestra.
Austin has recorded countless songs for Sesame Street, and is the voice of Sesame Street characters Cereal Girl, Hammy Swinette, Sublime Miss M, Soo-ey Oinker of The Oinker Sisters, and Gloria Esta-worm. As writer/producer, Ivy Austin created holiday programs for National Public Radio and a long-running concert series at The World Financial Center. Ivy Austin appeared in numerous television commercials and has an impressive list of theatrical and concert credits.
Austin is in her sixth year as a contributing lyricist and performer in The Thalia Follies, a political satire in on New York's Upper West Side.
Austin performs regularly at Symphony Space on WNYC radio broadcasts of Selected Shorts and Bloomsday, and has participated in years of "Wall-to-Wall" music marathons. She appeared in Wall-to-Wall Broadway singing "Adelaide's Lament". She has performed several plays with the Night Kitchen Radio Theater for XM Satellite Radio.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license