Name: Michaela Murphy
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Education: Rising Junior at Yale University
Select Credits: At Yale: Serena in Under, Amelia in original student work Devil’s Dictionary, Rosie in Cabaret, Phantom in Rocky Horror, Jellaby in Arcadia. Pre-university: Kim in Bye Bye Birdie, Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, Annie in Annie
Why theater?: Theatre is an opportunity for a raw look at the human condition, and the live audience creates such a relationship that any other method of entertainment does not. I love books for their stories, and theatre is storytelling at it’s finest.
Who do you play in Under?: A Yale student named Serena who navigates the ups and downs of manic episodes over her time at school.
Tell us about Under: Under is a beginning I hope to many more shows about the struggles with mental health, and how they can influence one’s character, friendships, and lifestyle without necessarily being obvious. Serena undergoes many failed friendships, drug addictions, and a tainted self image. This musical tries to expose the nerve wracking tensions and confusion that affect many people, particularly college students, with mental health issues.
What is it like being a part of Under?: Being a part of Under has been extremely educational, in working with the playwright, director, and fellow actors on how to present such a fragile topic on stage without over playing it. It has definitely been the most difficult thing for me to perform in, because so many parts of the script are familiar because I’m currently going through college. Finding the fine line between “normal” and “mentally ill” is challenging. There are still many unknowns in my mind about when someone needs help, and when someone is just reacting like a human under constant stress.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I really appreciate a balance between spectacle and complicated plot. I love musicals, because song and dance often communicate more to me than straight dialogue and reactions. A show that can successfully transcend reality and relate to realistic problems and emotions will usually make me cry, and leave me with overwhelming to desire to create something just as magnificent and work on my ability as a performer.
Any roles you’re dying to play?: YES. Eponine in Les Mis, Glinda in Wicked, Molly Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Anna in Frozen (that will be a musical soon I’m sure…), the list goes on! I also would love to play a superhero with pink hair in a movie one day.
What’s your favorite show tune?: Just one?! “One Short Day” from Wicked is so much fun to listen to...and when Frozen is finally a stage musical “For the First Time in Forever” will be on the favorites list as well.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Stephen Schwartz, because, of course. I would also love to work with Christopher Gattelli at some point for his genius choreography! For film, I would also love to work with Christopher Nolan, Emma Stone, and the infamous Meryl Streep. Always reaching for the stars.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would play myself, and my character name would be Jess. The movie would most likely be called something like Finding Home.
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: A Chorus Line when it first opened, the original Radio City Rockettes, and Twelfth Night or Hamlet in the original Globe Theatre.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Newsies, Arcadia, Wicked...many more, as for Fringe I’m interested in possibly seeing TO DANCE - The Musical.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Hm. Probably 1920’s-40’s music and dancing. I have a dream that one day I can host many parties where everyone can drink champagne in period garments, and dance period choreography.
What’s up next?: Finishing up school, and headed straight to New York for auditions. I would love to be in Wicked on Broadway, so I’m hoping to work towards that in every capacity!
For more on Under, visit http://www.under-a-new-musical.com