Friday, August 24, 2007

Amazing Broadway Performer: Donna Murphy

Well, I’ve seen her on Law and Order and Spider-Man 2, which I think should count for something. One of these days, I’ll get to see her on stage. Until then, I get to hear her on CD.

One of the aspects of Donna Murphy that thrills me most is how she’s managed to become a Broadway star in today’s world. She’s done film and television, but it’s not like Kristin Chenoweth or Nathan Lane, who have done high profile Hollywood performances to draw people to her talent. Instead, she’s climbed the Broadway ladder the same way people used to do, by consistently giving awesome performances on stage.

I have seen Donna Murphy on the DVD of Passion. I love that show and what it has to say, but even if it’s not your thing, you have to admire the nuanced performance Murphy gives as Fosca. Personally, I never fall in love with Fosca watching that show, I only come to understand her and understand why Giorgio comes to love her. The fact that you see her obsessing over/stalking Giorgio in such a manner and don’t walk away hating her completely is a testament to Murphy’s phenomenal talent. She digs deep inside the character and shows us why we care about her.

My introduction to Donna Murphy, however, was on the revival cast recording of The King and I, another standout Murphy performance. After hearing her take ownership of all those great Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, I can’t imagine them not being taken on by someone without such a voice.

I was greatly saddened by having to miss Wonderful Town since that was one of the first CDs I ever checked out of the library back in high school and listened to “One Hundred Easy Ways” and “Conga!” a million times. I had always longed to see that show revived on Broadway. Right away I bought the revival cast recording (with Donna Murphy) and was thrilled to not have only a more contemporary presentation of the score but one with a talent not overshadowed by the original star. I love hearing Donna Murphy actually sing that role and give us an “Ohio” duet that both heartfelt and beautiful. More importantly, her success in that role is incredibly impressive because it is such a character performance. Is there anyone in Hollywood who can double on traditional acting roles and character roles? I don’t think so. But that’s just one of the reasons why Donna Murphy is so amazing.

Getting to Know You Interview:

the Broadway Mouth
August 24, 2007

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