Mexican singer/actress Susana Zabaleta found success in a variety of mediums, including music as well as cinema, television, theater, and opera. Often characterized as a sensual vamp, Zabaleta is a multi-talented performer whose musical output is as varied as her overall career, though she tends to favor interpretations of popular songs and show tunes. Born Susana Zabaleta Ramos on September 30, 1964, in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico, she attended Escuela Superior de Musica de Monterrey, Mexico, and also studied opera in Florence, Italy. She established herself professionally with performances in the operas La Traviata, Elixir de Amor, and Dido y Aeneas. During the mid-'80s, she switched from opera to musical theater and performed in a series of productions: Barnum (1986), El Violinista en el Tejado (1986), Magnolias de Acero (1988), Mi Vida Es Mi Vida (1988), Don Quijote de la Mancha (1988), Sorpresas (1989), and Qué Plantón (1989).
In 1991 Zabaleta was cast in a star-making role as Jellylorum in the Spanish-language adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats staged in Mexico City. Also in 1991, she appeared in the telenovelas Al Filo de la Muerte, Milagro y Magia, and Cadenas de Amargura. In 1992 she recorded her debut solo album, ¿...O Fue un Sueño?, in Madrid with producer Luis Carlos Esteban. Eventually released in 1994 by BMG, the album spawned a few singles ("Ella y El," "Traéte Tu Almohada," "Algo Grande") for which videos were filmed. In 1995 she was featured on a soundtrack recording for the Spanish-language adaptation of Disney's Pocahontas, singing the central theme song "Colores en el Viento" ("Colors of the Wind").
In 1996 Zabaleta starred in the award-winning horror film Sobrenatural (released with English subtitles as All of Them Witches), directed by her husband, Daniel Gruener, and also appeared in the telenovela La Sombra del Otro. In 1997 she released her second album, Desde el Baño, and appeared in the film Elisa Antes del Fin del Mundo. In 1998 she returned to television with a starring role in the telenovela Una Luz en el Camino. In 1999 she appeared in the celebrated film Sexo, Pudor y Lágrimas (released with English subtitles as Sex, Shame & Tears), for which she won an Ariel Award for Best Actress; overall, the critically acclaimed comedic drama won six Ariel Awards and was nominated for seven others. In 2000 she appeared in the musical El Hombre de la Mancha and the telenovela Mi Destino Eres Tú.
In 2001 Zabaleta starred in the romantic comedy Vivir Mata. In 2002 she released a pair of albums (El Pasado Nos Vuelve a Pasar and Navidad) and starred in the Spanish-language adaptation of The Vagina Monologues (Los Monólogos de la Vagina). In 2003 she voiced the role of Marina in the Spanish-language adaptation of Disney's Sinbad. In 2004 she released the album Quiero Sentir Bonito, followed in 2005 by Para Darle Cuerda al Mundo. In 2006 she released De la A a la Z, a double-CD/DVD live performance with legendary Mexican composer/pianist Armando Manzanero. In 2007 she released the album Te Busqué, a collection of popular song interpretations, and starred in the TV series Sexo y Otros Secretos, a Televisa show modeled after the popular American series Sex in the City and Desperate Housewives. ~ Jason Birchmeier