DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Closer Than Ever, Wicked and Wild Party Star Julia Murney

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03 Aug 2012

Julia Murney
Julia Murney

News, views and reviews about the multi-talented women of the musical theatre and the concert/cabaret stage.

Julia Murney
On Aug. 6 theatre favorite Julia Murney will succeed Jenn Colella in the York Theatre Company's critically acclaimed revival of Closer Than Ever, the revue that showcases the humorous, witty and often moving songs of lyricist Richard Maltby, Jr. and composer David Shire. Murney, who boasts one of the more exciting Broadway belts around, will get to wrap that sensational sound around such Maltby-Shire songs as "Back on Bass," "Miss Byrd," "I've Been Here Before" and more. The singing actress, whose major New York theatrical credits also include Wicked (one of the great Elphabas) and the Off-Broadway The Wild Party (a breakthrough, Drama Desk-nominated performance that was as beautifully acted as it was sung), will join a cast that includes Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (who recently took over for Christiane Noll), George Dvorsky and Sal Viviano. Earlier this week I had the pleasure of chatting with the good-humored, intelligent Murney, who spoke about her latest theatrical adventure; her recent stint in the The Vineyard Theatre's Developmental Lab of The Landing, the new triptych musical by composer John Kander, with book and lyrics by Greg Pierce; and her refreshingly candid thoughts about YouTube. Murney, it should be noted, will also play the new Manhattan nightspot, 54 Below, Sept. 10 at 7 PM and Sept. 16 at 9 PM.

Question: Good morning. Is this a good time to talk?
Julia Murney: Sure. [Laughs.] I have Olympics on all over my house. Literally, I'm watching on my phone and have something else on the television. [Laughs.]

Question: Have you been watching all weekend?
Murney: Yes, as much as I could. I had a wedding on Saturday, but I just love it. I'm a little obsessed. I went to Vancouver for the winter Olympics, and there was a part of me, actually, that was on the fence. I was going to go, at the last minute, to London, but then Closer Than Ever came up, so that was that.

Question: How did Closer Than Ever come about for you?
Murney: In the best way possible—they just called! [Laughs.] Which is always really nice when that's how it happens. Actually, from sort of two different camps. I had gotten a call about both of the women tracks, and in a complete coincidence, I was going to see the show that night anyway. So I went to the show, and I had that—I'm dating myself—cassette tape in my car in college. That was like a real soundtrack for me. I listened to that a lot, but I hadn't listened to it in so very long. And, the show started, and the first number started, and all of a sudden, I went, "Oh my goodness, that's right!" Because what I had forgotten was that in the group numbers, the Lynne Wintersteller track—Christiane Noll's track—sings crazy-high soprano. And, as soon as I heard that, I was like, "Nope! Not doing that one!" [Laughs.] So as much as I love "Life Story," it's not going to happen. [Laughs.]


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