Donna Murphy
Actress, singer
Donna Murphy
Donna Murphy is an American stage, film, television actress and singer. Murphy has won two Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical for her roles in Passion as Fosca and in The King and I as Anna Leonowens. She received three more Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical for her performances in Wonderful Town as Ruth Sherwood, LoveMusik as Lotte Lenya and The People in the Picture as Raisel/Bubbie.
Biography
Donna Murphy's personal information overview.
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News
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Steven Suskin: Aisle View: Exploring the Empire, with Laughs
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Seriously demented fun is on display at The Explorers Club. That is, the new play by Nell Benjamin at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage 1 at City Center. Benjamin -- best known hereabouts as co-composer/lyricist of Legally Blonde -- has set her tale in one of those scientific gentleman's clubs of the Victorian Era, similar to the Royal Geographical Society. But a second-tier club, very much outclassed by its superiors. Lucius Fretway, our hero, is a botanist; he has just discovered a new species -- Phyllida venusti, he calls it -- which when smoked causes euphoria and happiness. (Fretway rolls cigars from the leaves, and yes -- the Explorers do inhale.) Professor Cope is a herpetologist who has discovered an especially poisonous cobra, Professor Walling a zoologist who has documented the intellectual abilities of the guinea pig. His experiments have proven that the critters can teach themselves to open the latches on their cages. Only now he can't find them. Pro ...
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Michael Giltz: Theater: Gem-like Passion, Charming Carousel and Vanessa Redgrave in The Revisionist
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
PASSION *** 1/2 out of **** CAROUSEL AT LINCOLN CENTER *** out of **** THE REVISIONIST ** out of **** PASSION *** 1/2 out of **** CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY Revisit a classic and you're sure to discover new facets. That's certainly the case with this gem-like production by Classic Stage Company. Its intimate space is ideal for shining a light on Stephen Sondheim's 1994 masterpiece Passion and John Doyle -- who directed and designed this impeccable revival -- has made the most of it. It begins with sex and ends with love. In the beginning, the handsome soldier Giorgio (Ryan Silverman) and gorgeous Clara (a beguiling Melissa Errico) are making rapturous, passionate love. They are young. They are beautiful. They are in love. It's enough to make you hate them. But since this is the very first scene, even newcomers to the show will realize that this happiness isn't going to last and take some cold comfort in that. Indeed, Giorgio confesses he has been transferred to a barren o ...
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Howard Sherman: 'Fame,' 'Celebrity,' 'Stardom' and Other Dirty Words
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Every January, the media run features on how to lose those holiday pounds. As schools let out for the summer, the media share warnings about damage from the sun and showcase the newest sunscreens. In Thanksgiving, turkey tips abound. For theater, September reveals two variants of its seasonal press staple, either "Stars Bring Their Glamour To The Stage," or, alternately, "Shortage of Star Names Spells Soft Season Start." Indeed, the same theme may reappear for the spring season and, depending upon summer theater programming, it may manage a third appearance. But whether stars are present or not, they're the lede, and the headline. The arrival of these perennial stories is invariably accompanied by grousing in the theatre community about the impact of stars on theatre, Broadway in particular, except from those who've managed to secure their services. But this isn't solely a Broadway issue, because as theaters -- commercial and not-for-profit, touring and resident -- strug ...
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Regina Weinreich: Can She Sing? Big Maybelle: Soul of the Blues at Bay Street and Into the Woods at the Delacorte
Huffington Post - over 4 years
A fine new musical had its world premiere at Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theater last night, Big Maybelle: Soul of the Blues at Bay Street, based on Maybelle Smith, a blues singer from the early 20th century, who once opened for Billie Holliday and toured America in the perilous segregation era, plagued by diabetes, an unhealthy girth, and low self-esteem. The Tony Award-winning Lillias White has the chops to portray her, accompanied by a stellar band, narrating a classic horror tale of drug and sexual abuse, but most of all, performing her material with measures of sass and grace. Written and directed by Paul Levine, the show has the intimate feel of a jazz club in Bay Street's cozy space. Neon Birdland and Three Deuces signs adorn the background where video enhances the history of blacks in the South, and in urban America. Most generous is Lillias White herself, shimmying her way through "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," writhing on a bed with desire singing tunes, some unfami ...
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Fern Siegel: Stage Door: Into The Woods
Huffington Post - over 4 years
"No one stays untainted by the world." So says the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's masterwork Into the Woods, the second offering in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park series. A treasure trove of psychological insights is neatly gleaned from the interlocking stories of fairy tale characters. The current revival in Central Park is outstanding. Led by Donna Murphy's Witch, the Broadway star delivers a strong, emotional performance that captures the contradictions of pain, revenge and loss. The whimsical and inventive staging of Into the Woods in an actual woods is an added bonus. The Delacorte's open-air stage is an ideal setting for the tale of the Baker (Denis O'Hare) and his Wife (Amy Adams), eager to lift the Witch's curse so they can have a child. But they need four things to break the spell: a white cow, red cape, yellow hair and gold slipper. To achieve those ends, they embark on a quest. En route, they meet an array of characters saddled with their own wo ...
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David Finkle: First Nighter: Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine Go 'Into the Woods' and Get Lost
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine want to make damn sure you know that life is made of the occasional modest high and the frequent devastating low. Sondheim -- more than once abetted by Lapine (think Sunday in the Park With George and Passion) -- has always hewed to his motivating themes of ambivalence and ambiguity. He followed this line of obsessive thought nowhere more so than in his 1987 Into the Woods, which in Look, I Made a Hat, the second volume of his brilliant memoir-cum-how-to, he describes as "mashing" several fairy tales -- involving Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Ridinghood, Jack of beanstalk fame and his mother -- into one three-hour-long(!) mega-tale. The aim is to explode the "happily ever after" myth that parents and children (often at-sword's point) may be allowing to dictate their views of the world and thereby compromise them forever. Somehow in the Sondheim-Lapine determination to send this message by way of a mash-up, they too often present a mi ...
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Leonard Maltin: OFF-HOLLYWOOD: The Five Best Indie Movies to See This Month
Huffington Post - over 4 years
By Leonard Maltin There was a time when independent films had such a reserve of good will that followers flocked to them simply because they weren't part of the mainstream. Now the truth can be told: a film isn't worth seeing just because it was made by well-meaning people outside the studio system. If I seem to be damning some of this month's selections with faint praise, it's only because I don't think they come up to the level of excellence we've seen earlier this year. Call it summer doldrums, if you like. As always, there are alternatives -- like looking to great films of the past. I was delighted to revisit Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 gem The 39 Steps, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll, in a sparkling new DVD/Blu-ray edition from The Criterion Collection. Not enough attention is paid to Hitchcock's British period these days: those films of the 1930s are quite wonderful, none more so than The 39 Steps, which can easily be described in one word: perfect. ...
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Amy Adams and Donna Murphy in ‘Into the Woods’
NYTimes - over 4 years
Amy Adams, in her New York stage debut, and Donna Murphy, a Tony winner, each face challenges in the current production of “Into the Woods,” playing in Central Park.
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NYTimes article
Marshall Fine: Movie Review: Dark Horse
Huffington Post - over 4 years
I'm not going to invoke the title of this film to describe writer-director Todd Solondz. But Dark Horse, opening in limited release Friday, is pure Solondz, a return to form after Life During Wartime and Palindromes, which seemed like experiments in style more than anything else. He once again takes a loser as his protagonist and dares us to feel sympathy for him. Solondz encourages you to laugh at the excesses of the film's central character, Abe (Jordan Gelber), while daring you to feel for him. Abe is not just a loser; he's an obnoxious loser, the kind of guy who probably sees Charlie Sheen as some shamanic poet-philosopher but could never hope to imitate Sheen's weird anti-charisma. He's the classic underachiever who believes the only impediment to his own success is the opposition of the whole freakin' world. He works for his father Jackie (a hilariously toupeed Christopher Walken) in Jackie's real-estate management company. But Abe hates the job and shows his re ...
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Andy Propst: Lullabies by Broadway's Best
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
Imagine you could gather the likes of Tony Award winners Michael Cerveris, Sutton Foster, Donna Murphy, Audra McDonald and Anika Noni Rose together at your child's bedside to sing him or her to sleep. What if these artists -- and a host of others -- were there to perform original lullabies written by the likes of Stephen Schwartz, David Shire, Stephen Sondheim and Maury Yeston? These days, accomplishing this will be pretty darn easy, thanks to Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project, the just-released and utterly beguiling book/CD set that's the brainchild of Kate Dawson, Jodi Glucksman and Barbara Aronica-Buck. The CDs (which are also available digitally) feature 26 songs, which range from traditional sounding tunes that we all might have grown up with to ones that are jazzier and more contemporary and musically complex. In addition to the discs, there's a gorgeous picture book that's been illustrated by some of the best names in the business (both in children' ...
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Drama Desk Nominations unveiled
The Palm Beach Post - almost 5 years
Two musicals more dark than frothy — “Death Takes a Holiday” and “Follies” — received the most nominations Friday from the Drama Desk, which honors both Broadway and off-Broadway productions. The star-studded Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies,” about two couples looking back on their mistakes, and off-Broadway’s “Death Takes a Holiday,” adapted from a story about Death taking human form and falling in love, each nabbed 10 nominations. Matthew Broderick’s show “Nice Work If You Can Get It” earned eight nominations. Six went to “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” ”Leap of Faith,” ”Queen of the Mist” and “Richard III.” The awards will be presented during a ceremony hosted by Brian d’ Arcy James and Donna Murphy on June 3 at The Town Hall in Manhattan.
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The Palm Beach Post article
Donna Murphy to get witchy this summer in NYC
Fox 12 - Oregon - almost 5 years
Donna Murphy will be singing Stephen Sondheim songs again this summer.
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Fox 12 - Oregon article
Donna Murphy to get witchy this summer in NYC
Yahoo News - almost 5 years
Donna Murphy will be singing Stephen Sondheim songs again this summer.
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Yahoo News article
THE NEW SEASON | MOVIES; In Praise of Character Actors
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE golden age of Hollywood may have passed, but these are boom times for great character actors. On the big screen and the small, in movies and in television, beautiful sad sacks like Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston and Steve Buscemi are running away with some of the best roles and lines going, and Viola Davis is suddenly on the verge of stardom.
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NYTimes article
Movies: Our Idiot Brother, Circumstance, Higher Ground - Towleroad
Google News - over 5 years
Broadway fans take note that she's filled her cast with award winning stage veterans including: the sensational Dagmara Dominczyk (who happens to be Mrs. Patrick Wilson in real life, lucky girl) as her sensually-minded best friend, Donna Murphy as her
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Donna Murphy
    FIFTIES
  • 2012
    Age 52
    In 2012, she appeared as government secretary Dita Mandy, in The Bourne Legacy.
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    In 2012, she appeared in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods at The Public Theater's Delacorte Theatre as the Witch.
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  • 2011
    Age 51
    She was nominated for a 2011 Tony Award for Leading Actress in a Musical for her role in the production.
    More Details Hide Details Murphy's film roles include, Anij, Captain Jean-Luc Picard's love interest, in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), in the film Center Stage, as a ballet teacher (2000), as Rosalie Octavius, wife of Dr. Otto Octavius, the film's villain in Spider-Man 2 (2004), as Betty, a surgical research assistant in Darren Aronofsky's film The Fountain (2006), Scarlett Johansson's mother in The Nanny Diaries (2007), Mother Gothel in the animated musical film Tangled (2010) and sang the song "Mother Knows Best", Kathleen, Vera Farmiga's mother in Higher Ground (2011) and Marie in Dark Horse (2011).
    She appeared in the Roundabout Theatre production of a new musical, The People in the Picture, which opened on April 28, 2011 and closed on June 19, 2011.
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  • FORTIES
  • 2007
    Age 47
    She appeared in the 2007 New York City Center Encores! staged concert of Follies as Phyllis.
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    In 2007, she appeared in LoveMusik as Lotte Lenya, opposite Michael Cerveris as Kurt Weill, receiving nominations for Tony and Drama Desk Awards.
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  • 2003
    Age 43
    She appeared as Ruth Sherwood in a revival of Wonderful Town from 2003 to 2005 (having previously performed in the New York City Center Encores! 2000 staged concert of that musical), and was nominated for the Tony Award, Best Actress in a Musical and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1997
    Age 37
    She won an Emmy in 1997, for playing Armando Agrelo in Someone Had to be Benny (1996), an episode of the HBO series Lifestories: Families in Crisis.
    More Details Hide Details Other television series roles include, a recurring role as Abigail Adams in Liberty! The American Revolution (1997), Murder One (1995–1996), Law & Order as Carla Tyrell in a recurring role (2000), Hack (2002–2003) and Trust Me (2009). Her voice-over work in TV commercials, includes the Le Vian chocolate diamonds series for Jared Jewelry.
  • 1996
    Age 36
    In 1996, she played Anna Leonowens in the revival of The King and I alongside Lou Diamond Phillips.
    More Details Hide Details The role earned her a second Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
  • 1994
    Age 34
    In 1994, she played the role of Fosca in Stephen Sondheim's and James Lapine's Passion, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance.
    More Details Hide Details A year later she appeared in Lapine's revival, Twelve Dreams.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1984
    Age 24
    On Broadway, after They're Playing Our Song (1979), she was an understudy in the musical/opera The Human Comedy in April 1984 and played various roles in The Mystery of Edwin Drood from 1985 to 1987.
    More Details Hide Details She also played Audrey in Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's Little Shop of Horrors.
  • 1981
    Age 21
    She has appeared in many Off-Broadway productions, including the musical Francis in 1981 at the York Theatre at St. Peter's, The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 1985 at the Public Theater's Delacorte Theatre, Birds of Paradise in 1987 (Promenade Theatre), Privates on Parade (Roundabout Theatre) in 1989, the musical Song of Singapore in 1991, the Michael John LaChiusa musical Hello Again at the Lincoln Center Mitzi Newhouse Theater in 1993, Twelve Dreams at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater in 1995, and Helen at the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival in 2002.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1979
    Age 19
    Murphy dropped out of the New York University drama program in her sophomore year when she was cast to understudy the three backup singers in the 1979 Broadway musical They're Playing Our Song.
    More Details Hide Details In a 2007 interview, Murphy explained, "At the end of my sophomore year, I took a leave of absence. I needed to audition without cutting classes." She also studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.
    Murphy made her Broadway debut as a replacement in the 1979 musical They're Playing Our Song.
    More Details Hide Details Her other stage credits include the original Off-Broadway productions of Song of Singapore (1991) and Hello Again (1993). In 1997, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special for her role in Someone Had to be Benny, an episode of the HBO series Lifestories: Families in Crisis. Her film roles include Anij in Star Trek: Insurrection (1998); Rosalie Octavius in Spider-Man 2 (2004); Mother Gothel in the animated film Tangled (2010), and as one of the government secretaries in The Bourne Legacy (2012). Murphy, the eldest of seven children, was born in Corona, Queens, New York, the daughter of Jeanne (née Fink) and Robert Murphy, an aerospace engineer. Murphy is of Irish, French, German, and Czech ancestry. Her family moved to Hauppauge, Long Island, New York. At age three, she asked for voice lessons, and she put on shows as a child in Hauppauge.
  • 1977
    Age 17
    She later moved to Topsfield, Massachusetts and graduated from Masconomet Regional High School in 1977. Murphy was married to actor and singer Shawn Elliott from 1990 until his death in March 2016.
    More Details Hide Details She is the stepmother of Elliott's two daughters. In 2005, they adopted a daughter from Guatemala, Darmia Hope.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1959
    Born
    Born on March 7, 1959.
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