Stage actress known for her various performances in Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, she gained mainstream prominence after originating the role of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel in the hit musical Fun Home. The role earned her a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
Her first part in a musical was playing the title role of Annie in high school. She began studying musical theatre at Loretto Heights College but the school was shut down while she was studying there. At first, she decided not to continue her studies, since she was finding work without a degree. But in 1996 she not only finished her degree at University of Northern Colorado but also went on to get her Masters at UC Irvine in 2000. She moved to New York City at the age of 21, hoping to find work. She ended up moving to Aspen, Colorado, where she received many roles and got her Equity card. Later she moved to Sherman Oaks, California, to star in a variety of television commercials. Her first Off-Broadway show was in Bingo: A Winning New Musical in 2005. Her Broadway debut followed in 2006 in Ring of Fire.
In Fun Home she plays the first butch and openly lesbian character to star in the main role of a Broadway musical and she says she has learned a lot about representation and the difficulties women who are grouped under that label deal with.
She identifies as an open lesbian and married music technician, Rochelle Schoppert.
She originated the role of the present-day and oldest version of Alison Bechdel in Fun Home. There are two, younger versions of Alison in the musical, which were originated by Sydney Lucas and Emily Skeggs.