BWW Interview: At Home With Sean Patrick Murtagh
The last year has been a whirlwind one for Sean Patrick Murtagh. After years of being in the clubs and around the people, this singing actor took the bold step onto the stage himself for his New York debut as a cabaret artist. To promote the show he attended every open mic night and any event where he could get his name, face, and the title of the show out there. The result? Sold out houses, extended runs and a MAC Award for best debut of a male performer. That was announced online during the voluntary quarantine. I reached out to SPM to ask about the last year and to find out what's cooking at Casa SPM because anyone who follows Sean on his social media knows... there is ALWAYS something cooking.
Name: Sean Patrick Murtagh
First Cabaret Show (Title, Year, Club): Holiday Test Drive, 2013, Martuni's Piano Bar 2013
Most Recent Cabaret Show: Mario! A Salute to the Great Lanza, 2019-2020 The Green Room 42
Website or Social Media Handles: Instagram/Twitter: @seanieboysfnyc
Sean Patrick, you are under voluntary quarantine with two roommates - how are you three keeping sane during all of this madness?
I find sanity in silliness, fitness, cooking and personal time. We are good at respecting each other's personal space and needs as well as the need to come together throughout the day. We do what we need to do in our rooms, whether it's nap, clean, workout, or work. We are also good doing our own things while in the same room.
With that being said, we enjoy being around each other. I think it has a lot to do with not feeling pressured into "being on" for one another. Thankfully, before social distancing and quarantine were put into place we were great at creating theme nights. That has come in handy to maintain some sense of normalcy. We have had taco Tuesday, J.Lo movie marathons, and Sunday Brunches. Also, streaming devices. I'm not sure if we are allowed to mention them here, so feel free to censor/edit as needed, but Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu are contributing to our silliness and sanity.
Judging by your social media posts, you appear to be quite the cook. Where do you come by this talent?
I love to cook! Whether or not I am good at it is another topic...but I get my Instagram shots! I come from a line of pretty amazing cooks. My Abuelita being the most influential in my life. She taught me how to cook with my eyes, nose, and taste, which is more important than measuring. Though I will say, for people who are just learning at this time, measurements are your best friend as you get started to learn how things should smell, look and taste and as you grow as a home chef you'll learn to rely more and more on your senses and intuition and less on measurements. Measurements are guidelines, not hard fast rules...unless your baking...then measurements are everything. As I am typing this, I am amazed at how I am able to take tangent just as easily via text as I do in speech. I am also noticing how much I rely on emojis when typing.
Back to the actual question, My Abuelita, her little sister, my tia Amada, my mom, and my former roommate Walker have all helped shape my love and talents in the kitchen. I have also been in and out of the restaurant industry for 15 years now and have had the pleasure of working with some extremely talented and passionate chefs, and yes I have stolen a lot of ideas from them because not just their food, but their concepts have been so amazing- Chef Marc, Chef Andrew, Chef Hilary of Cookshop and Vic's here in New York City.
What's your favorite thing to cook?
Nachos. Nachos bring people together. Nachos are so flexible. Name a theme and a protein and I will make you nachos- BBQ Chicken or Pork, you got it!; Vegan- I can do that; Goat- yup!; Italian-boom!
I make all my sauces and salsas from scratch and if you're lucky and I manage my time right I will make you fresh chips.
Do you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share with everyone?
I share all my recipes- in the form of a finished product...served at my table. But if there is something of mine you see that you would like, I am willing to search the internet and find a recipe that is close enough to mine for you.
I am not sure if it's because I am actually protective of my recipes or it's that I find it too difficult to explain how to cook something when I don't use measurements. From time to time I will go online to refresh my memory on ingredients, but again, I find measurements to be limiting and unable to accurately produce a desired result in the same way your five senses can. No two tomatoes, chilis, or onions are the same and so how many you need depends on what's in front of you at the moment.
While under voluntary quarantine, how are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
Lots of singing in the shower. Lots of note-taking. Lots of online sheet music shopping.
I am very aware that my roommates are, well, stuck with me right now and there is no alone time in the apartment for the foreseeable future, but singing in the shower, for me, is a loophole! You can't get annoyed by singing in the shower, therefore, I cannot annoy my roommates. Recondita Armonia from Tosca by Puccini, a lot of Mario Lanza rep I wasn't able to fit in the show, and Sondheim. I have always loved Sondheim's music for the insight it offers to the human condition. Now more than ever, it feels therapeutic and calming to me.
In addition to singing in the shower, you have to sing while you cook...so there's my other loophole in my efforts to be both a considerate roommate and artistically fulfilled at the same time.
You were just named the best male debut of the year by the MAC Awards; what has the last year been like for you, as you entered the cabaret community as a performer?
The last year has been a dream come true. Around a year ago at this time, I knew Mario! Had to happen. I started my checklist of what I needed to get done in order to get the ball rolling.
I had thought I would do one concert and finally be able to say I did my cabaret and move on. A bit like Alice in Wonderland, I had no idea what an adventure I had set out on. I had no idea the people I would meet. I had no idea there would be multiple encores. I had no idea I would win an award. And given the talent pool for this year's Debut nominees, I am truly honored.
I keep saying I have been "Cabaret Community Adjacent" for 9 years, and this year has been the most welcoming and loving I have ever experienced this community. It is no surprise that this past year has also seen the growth of so many online outlets for the community, a number of new open mic, and guest shows allowing newcomers and veterans alike to grow, shine and cheer each other on.
I am honored to be a part of this community and I could never fully express my gratitude for every single one of you.
To call out a few people- Mark Janas & Tanya Moberly at The Salon, Bobbie Horowitz with It's Just a Number, Susie Mosher with The Line Up, Jim Caruso and everyone at Cast Party, Blake Allen with An Evening With Series, Eugene Ebner, Adam Rothenberg, Richard Skipper, Stephen Mosher- thank you for your support.
I also have to thank my director, Chris Giordano, Music Director, Cody Dry, and voice teacher Nick Fitzer, for their heart, soul and hard work they poured into Mario with me.
You already have ideas for new shows, don't you?
Oh, yes, I have many ideas. And just like my recipes, I will gladly share them with you in the form of a finished product. I've designed a few postcards on my phone with possible titles so I have something to help keep me focused and working towards the finished product.
During the isolation, have you undertaken new household projects, online learning, anything about which you are particularly excited?
This may sound weird, but I am really enjoying just keeping house and keeping it at a level I don't always have the luxury of time for outside this shelter in place.
Fitness is also extremely important to me, so I have been going on long runs, which I haven't done for over a year.
And I am happy to report my living room closet has been decluttered and I have put up a new spice rack!
You are quite an at-home entertainer - what's your favorite kind of party to give?
As I mentioned earlier, my Abuelita (grandmother) is my biggest influence in the kitchen. I miss being able to call her on the phone to go over recipes or have her walk me through them. Now cooking has become a way to honor. She cooked to show love and to bring people together, so in her memory, I do the same.
Whatever the occasion, if I can open my doors and feed my friends and make them feel loved, that's the party I like to give.
Sean, how many turbans do you own?
12 Turbans. 6 headbands/wraps. 4 Shake n Go Wigs. 2 Tiaras