Tom Murrin, Drama Critic and Playwright, Is Dead

By Robert Simonson
13 Mar 2012

Tom Murrin, the long-time theatre critic for Paper magazine, and a downtown playwright and performance artist, has died, following a battle with cancer.



Born in 1939, Mr. Murrin started his career as a lawyer in Beverly Hills before moving to New York in the late '60s to get his masters in law at NYU. He began to write plays in his spare time. Drawn to the avant-garde theatre world, he worked in the Paris and Seattle theatre scenes before retuning to New York in the late 1970s.

Performing under various aliases—Tom "Trash" Murrin; filthy-minded playwright Jack Bump; and the Alien Comic, an absurdist funny man—he shared bills with such seminal downtown performers including Karen Finley and John Cale. In the early '80s, with New York's performance art world in full bloom, he launched the Full Moon Crew with Jo Andres, Mimi Goese, Lucy Sexton and Annie Lobs, putting on shows at East Village theater P.S. 122 every full moon.

His plays, often premiered at La MaMa, included Hung, Cock-Strong and Roommates. After being seen as part of a variety show hosted by the Alien Comic, the Blue Man Group was commissioned to create a full-length show by La MaMa.

Simultaneously, he began to write for Paper, covering almost exclusively the edgy theatre world below 14th Street in Manhattan.

Throughout his career, he continued to mark full moons with his Full Moon shows. Mr. Murrin was too ill to perform during the last full moon, on March 8.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Sullivan.