Broadway leading man Steve Kazee earned a Tony Award for his performance in the 2012 production of Once, which led to roles on television series like "Shameless" (Showtime, 2011-). Born Steven Michael Kazee in Ashland, Kentucky, he was an underperforming student but found an outlet in singing, which he indulged at inopportune moments, like the middle of classes at Fairview High School, which earned him a trip to the principal's office, but also brought him to the attention of the chorus teacher, who helped to further develop his talent. Upon graduation, he enrolled at a local community college but flunked out due to a combination of frustration and restlessness. He gave education a final shot at Morehead State University, where he tagged along with a friend at an audition for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and ended up with a role in the production. He pursued more roles, both at school and later, after dropping out, in summer stock, before returning to Ashland to help care for his mother after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. When her illness went into remission, Kazee re-enrolled at Morehouse before winning entrance to the graduate acting program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He began his professional stage career in productions for the New York Shakespeare Festival before making his Broadway debut in 2005 as an understudy for Seascape. His television career also launched during this period with guest appearances on "Medium" (CBS, 2005-2011), but the New York stage remained his most prominent and successful showcase, with starring roles on Broadway in a revival of 110 in the Shade (2007) and To Be Or Not to Be (2008) preceding his star-making turn in Once. The musical, adapted from the feature film of the same name, earned Kazee a Tony Award in 2012, and he shared a Grammy that same year with the cast for Best Musical Theater Album. The success of Once led to more work on television, including recurring roles on the TNT thriller series "Legends" (2014-15) and bassist Gus Pfender, whom Emmy Rossum's Fiona marries on a whim in the fifth season of "Shameless." In 2018, Kazee returned to Broadway to star in a musical adaptation of "Pretty Woman." Cast as the businessman played by Richard Gere in the 1991 film, Kazee appeared in the 2018 Chicago premiere, but departed the show for personal reasons prior to its Broadway bow that same year.