Messing can be seen on the NBC hit show “Smash”. Messing plays Julia Houston, a songwriter and lyricist developing her brainchild Marilyn: The Musical. The drama is executive produced by Steven Spielberg with and co-stars Katharine McPhee and Anjelica Huston.
Raised in a quiet community outside Providence, Rhode Island, Messing devoted much of her childhood to musical theatre, She received her liberal arts education at Brandeis University, where she majored in Theatre Arts. Messing spent half of her junior year studying in London's prestigious B.E.S.G.L. program. Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from Brandeis University, she was accepted into NYU's elite Graduate Acting Program and received her M.F.A. three years later.
Messing garnered much excitement in New York over her portrayal of Harper Pitt in the pre-Broadway workshop of Tony Kushner's Tony Award-winning play “Angels in America: Perestroika.” She then left New York for Seattle to star as Cecily in “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Intiman Theatre. Upon her return, she was cast as both Mary-Louise Parker's and Polly Draper's understudy in the New York premiere of John Patrick Shanley's critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play, “Four Dogs and a Bone,” at the Manhattan Theatre Club. She next went on to co-star in Paul Rudnick's Off-Broadway play “The Naked Truth.”
Messing also co-starred onstage with Maria Tucci in the two-woman, highly acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Donald Margulies' “Collected Stories,” which premiered at The Manhattan Theatre Club and was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
After “Will & Grace” ended its 8 year run, Messing starred in USA Network's six-hour television event, "The Starter Wife," with Judy Davis and Joe Mantegna. It picked up 10 Emmy nominations, including Messing’s for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. She also earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television. Because of this highly successful run, Messing reprised her role as Molly Kagan in a new “The Starter Wife" series on USA. Debra received a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for her work on the series.
Messing’s film credits include: Nothing Like the Holidays alongside John Leguizamo, Freddy Rodriguez, Alfred Molina and Elizabeth Peña; The Women, a re-make of the classic film where Messing commandeered the role of Edith Potter alongside Hollywood powerhouses Annette Bening, Meg Ryan, Jada Pinkett Smith, Eva Mendes, Cloris Leachman and Candice Bergen; Messing also co-starred along side Ed Burns in his film Purple Violets, with Selma Blair and Patrick Wilson; Messing also starred in the romantic comedies, The Wedding Date, opposite Dermot Mulroney, and the box office hit Along Came Polly, with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston; Messing co-starred in Woody Allen's comedy, Hollywood Ending, opposite Allen and Tea Leoni, and The Mothman Prophecies, opposite Richard Gere and Laura Linney.
Messing portrayed Mary Magdalene in the four-hour CBS miniseries "Jesus," directed co-starring Gary Oldman. She starred as a young bio-anthropologist in the 1998 ABC thriller series "Prey" and displayed her comedic skills for two seasons as Stacey in the FOX comedy "Ned and Stacey," which also starred Thomas Haden Church. Additional credits include recurring roles on the hit television series "NYPD Blue" and "Seinfeld."