Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th

"Showing those vulnerable parts is scary, but I'm excited to do more of it."

By: Apr. 17, 2023

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th After a smashing solo show debut last year, Broadway actor and cabaret sensation Anthony Murphy will return to the nightclub stage with a re-vamped version of this act A JOYFUL NOISE on April 24th. Returning to the scene of the crime, Midtown Manhattan's The Green Room 42, the one-time Aladdin Genie and Diana The Musical alum has been working with director/producer Christopher Metzger-Timson to beef up their show with some additional songs and stories. Murphy, who, montly, stops the TURN THE BEAT AROUND show at 54 Below, has a mission to not only spread joy but to spread the message that we can create our own joy by the decisions and choices that we make. In this Broadway World Cabaret exclusive, Anthony talks about that mission and the influences on his life that have led to his sunny disposition... and his fashion sense.

Read Anthony's story below and then get tickets to the April 24th, 9:30 pm show on the Green Room 42 website HERE.

This interview has been edited for space and content.

Photos by Stephen Mosher; Visit the Stephen Mosher website HERE.

Hi, Anthony Murphy, welcome to Broadway World!

Thank you for having me.

As you have walked in the door for your photo shoot, you have just come from teaching.


I want to start there - what do you teach?

I teach song interpretation at the Institute for American Musical Theater - currently that's the only class that I'm teaching there. I started teaching at this school in February, but I've been teaching privately for about six years now,.

Why did you become a teacher?

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th My parents are both educators. My father ran an afterschool arts academy when I was in high school, and my mother was an English teacher, so education has always been a big part of my life. One of my first jobs was camp counselor at a summer program, so it's always been something that I've done, and it is the cheesiest thing in the world, but I believe the children are the future. Literally, they are the future. And if we teach them right, and teach them the right ways, then we don't have to worry about that. So that's what I try to do: teach them love and teach them joy and teach them the things that maybe I missed out on, so that they can have a better chance.

You said your father had an afterschool arts program and your mother was an English teacher?


So you grew up with education and art?

Oh, absolutely, yes.

Which Is precisely where you landed.

Which is literally where I landed. Arts education changed my life. I think that's probably why I teach. When I was in the first grade, my teachers pulled my parents into the room and told them I was a disruption in class, hyperactive, and needed to be on medication. My parents quickly told them a hard no and transferred me out of the school and took me to Perkins Elementary School of Performing Arts. So I started performing in second grade - I tell the story in my show, but I literally got there and two weeks into my classes, my teachers pulled my parents into the room, same type of conversation, except this time they say "We wanna put him in the gifted program because he's excelling so much. He's socially excelling, his grades are excelling. He's a joy to have in class." I said, oh, this is just what I'm supposed to do. I'm with my people. I found something that gives me a purpose. So education in the arts changed my life a good deal. I'm scared of where I could have been, had my parents just listened to those teachers and said sure, put him on medication, he's a disruption in class, he's a troublesome child. If they had believed those things, instead of knowing their child, who knows where I would've been>

In this household we say meditation, not medication.

Truest words ever spoken.

So your meditation was the arts.

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th It was singing and dancing. Anytime I'm upset, anytime I need to lift up other people's spirit, that's what I do, through the arts.

You just mentioned your show...


Which premiered last year.


Here you are, a year later, bringing A Joyful Noise back to the stage.


If I'm remembering correctly, this was your solo show debut.

It was my solo show debut.

But I have seen you in other people's shows as a guest artist.


Always with a fan, usually with a tour jeté.

(Laughing) Yes, yes, yes. Always with a fan. Usually with a tour jeté

What took you out of the group show thing into your own solo show spotlight?

I have been working on this show for some years now. It's actually a culmination of a few other shows. I've done solo shows around the world. My first one was called Feeling Good, at American Stage in St. Petersburg, Florida, and that was before I moved to New York, so 2014 maybe, and that show was just me singing a bunch of songs. It had no rhyme or reason. I just wanted to do it - every actor just wants to do a little cabaret, every now and then. Then I got the joy of playing the Genie in Aladdin - that took me around the world, including Australia. When I got there, I had some free time on my hands, and I was like, "I'm in another country right now. I need to do a show over here. Why not? What is stopping me?" And my music director, Geoffrey Castles, is brilliant, one of the most brilliant music directors I've ever worked with; we were jamming one day in a rehearsal studio, and I was like, "Do you wanna do a show?" And he's like, "Let's do it." So we just made it happen. And then, every Christmas I go home and we have a big Christmas dinner with my family: it is required that I give at least a five song performance. Minimum. There hasn't been a Christmas, since I started singing, that I haven't sung at least five songs at Christmas - now that my best friend, Blaine, is there as well, we split the songs, some of 'em are duets now. During The Pandemic I couldn't do that because we couldn't have a big family gathering, so I decided to have a livestream concert for my family and anyone else who wanted to watch. That was called It's Gonna be a Great Day and it was just me singing a bunch of songs for my family. From there I started to find what is my musical voice? What is my cabaret voice? What do I want my story to be, that I tell? And, for me, it was joy. The first one was called Feeling Good. The last one was called It's Gonna Be a Great Day. And this one's called A Joyful Noise. It's always with a positive outlook because, in my opinion, there is enough negativity in the world that I do not need to add to. If I can just bring some joy and some positivity into the world, that's goal number one for me: bringing that joy.

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th

Has that always been your focus?

It has been. I'm very blessed that I have never been a very negative person. It is because I have had a very blessed life, with two parents who have loved me and supported me through the art, telling 'em, first, I wanted to be an actor, which was like, "You're gonna go into that unstable, unreliable, job." They said, "You wanna do it? Let's do it full force." Every summer I was in a summer program. Every show I was in, they were building costumes at the PTA meetings. Then I came out and said I was gay, and that was another thing: supported me fully, loved me unconditionally. I got to college - my mom was sending me her old show gowns so I could do drag shows - we did Broadway Cares drag shows at school, so she would send me her old show gowns. So joy has been the thing that has gotten me through life, because I'm not gonna pretend like there aren't bad things in life, like I don't live in this world, like I haven't had my fair share of woes and troubles. But I'm a huge believer that what you focus on is what grows. If I focus on the negative, then that's what's gonna grow. If I focus on the positive, that's what's gonna grow. So that's what I try and do.

We're gonna have to pause there because we need a judge's ruling on show gowns.

I'm talking beaded with draping arms and the like.

Which she wore for what?

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th Oh, I didn't mention before... she was an English teacher AND she was a performer. My mother is a jazz singer, a Motown singer. Most of my childhood was watching her. She had a band when I was in middle school and high school, and I would watch her at these resorts singing and she would just wow these crowds.

So you telling them you wanted to be an actor was basically you saying that you want to go into the family business.


And, she passed down the family heirlooms in wardrobe.

She did. Literally.

You were in school doing drag shows. What does your drag look like? Put a picture in my head.

Oh, she's the biggest in the room, and we're not talking about her size. Okay? Shelita Buffet. It's my drag name.

I love a good drag name.

She's an old school Southern Bell, little dainty thing. Her signature is a Beyoncé number. She loves to dance, loves a buck and twirl, but also will give you a ballad. High glam.

You are a heck of a dancer.

Thank you.

You trained to be a Broadway triple threat...

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th I started in the second grade at the performing arts school, and we did it all. They turned us into triple threats. We had singing, dancing, acting, and visual arts. You had to take an instrument that wasn't piano, and we all had to take piano as well. I danced in shows. I always say that my dance training started when I got to college. I was a directing major with a dance minor. And my ballet teacher pulled me aside and he said, "You are a dancer. I'm going to push you, get ready." And he moved me up into a ballet class that was far beyond my capabilities, and was on me every week, making sure that I was hitting it. Then he made me an assistant for his ballet piece and was like, "You're gonna learn." So I really am thankful to college. That time was really where I learned to dance five days a week.

How rewarding is it for you to see these young people that you're teaching, to watch them grow.

It actually is the best. There's so much opportunity for them now. There's so much theater happening all over the place. Even online, we have TikTok musicals happening, which I'm like, go for it, whatever's gonna keep theater alive, we have to realize it has to expand and grow. So I'm super excited watching them develop and grow. Today a student sang from A New Brain, and he didn't know the show. I was like, "This is one of my favorite musicals of all time," and he was like, "I just found this song last week and it's amazing and I love it so much." So he's falling in love with musicals that I was in love with when I was growing up. That connection of the stories and the songs living on through generations, and them discovering them and learning them and finding the joys and the worlds that we get to create on stage is fun.

It is the obligation of every gay man to find younger gay boys and educate them on the musicals that they don't know.


Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th You talked about finding your artistic voice. Tell me how you feel you have grown from that very first cabaret show to this one.

I found something that I want to say, which is that joy conquers all - it really does. If you have joy in your life, it can turn any negative moment into the brightest day. It can make you look at the world just a little differently. And if we all did that thing, I think we would come out a little bit better. I think right now so many people are angry because of what's happening in the world, and rightfully so, and I'm not saying you can't be angry, but when we sit in those emotions... right? So my voice is saying it's okay to be happy. It's okay to experience joy, especially as a gay black man. I want them to see that it is okay to be joyful in today's time. There is still so much bountiful joy out there, if you focus on it. That was my voice, in terms of the message that I want to give musicall.

You are bringing back A Joyful Noise, a year later. Tell me about the experience.

Last year was my debut in the city, and it's hard to expose the vulnerable parts of yourself on a cabaret stage.

Were you nervous?

Of course.

It didn't show.

I was petrified. Because this isn't a character, this is me. I can do character, I can do Genie all day long. I can do Diana The Musical all day long. I can do anything you ask me to do, all day long. You ask me to be me, that's where it gets tricky, because now I have to determine what I want the audience to see, what I don't want them to see, and that's sometimes a struggle because sometimes the things I don't want them to see are exactly what they need to see. So I've brought on a good friend, Chris Timson, who is going to be helping me as my director and producer on the show. And he's there to just say, "Hey, what if we go a little deeper? What if we tell me more about that story?" So I'm like, Okay... then I was crying. I think I was a little nervous about that at first because I knew that they were gonna say, you gotta go deeper. You gotta go a little further.

Being naked is scary.

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th But it also can be the most rewarding. And as I'm writing it, I just feel a sense of joy - even the bad stories, I'm on the other side of it - the moments where I was homeless, on the street and didn't have nowhere to go. That was in the past. I got through that and I got through that with Joy. So the fact that I can look back at that and say it's a lesson that I've learned and it's something that I can grow from and become a better person from... showing those vulnerable parts is scary, but I'm excited to do more of it.

As an artist, it's where you find the good stuff.

It's where all the good is. It's also why I say we need to stop writing musicals about people who are still with us right now.

I can't watch one more musical about a pop singer that's still alive.

I need dead people. I need Diana The Musical.

Yes. We've reached that point. Diana The Musical.


Okay, go.

It was fast. It was so fast, and my experience was even faster. I tell a little bit of this in the show as well. I auditioned on a Friday, my callback was on a Monday, I started rehearsals on Tuesday. Two weeks later we started performances, 16 performances later we opened, 33 performances later, we closed. Two months. My entire Diana experience was beginning, middle, and end in two months. It was a whirlwind adventure, it was so fast. I was thrown in, but it was amazing. The people were so amazing, the talent - I go back and listen to some of these videos and rehearsal things that I have, and I'm like, "Oh, we were singing! Oh, we were dancing!"

The fans.

The fans loved it. I still get comments. I walk into our audition rooms and get comments. "Oh, you were in Diana. I love Diana." I'm like, "Thank you." I'm so happy.

I have been here for 30 years and I have been amazed by the love and adoration for every single flop that I've seen. For every single flop there are people that are devoted to it.


And you are now a part of theatrical Legend.

Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th Legend. The people who came and saw it, it almost got kind of like Rocky Horror towards the end. We had people talking back. They would boo the prince. I felt so bad. He would just get booed or they would curse at him sometimes 'cause he sings that part to her, "You are nothing without me. You're nothing. You're nothing." And everyone would be boo, and say "You suck," and I'm like, he's just acting. But we loved it because that's when we really got into the groove of the show, when we really understood what this is: I always say Diana was a telenovela, it is a soap opera. I think people just didn't understand that, maybe. They were trying to take it as this super serious drama, and if you saw the joy that I saw in it and the drama of it, oh we were just having a good old time. But yeah, it was fast for me.

I want to ask you about your remarkable sense of fashion. How did you cultivate that?

Tia Marie Murphy, that is my mother. She is the original diva of my life. She handed that down. She handed, literally, almost everything down. I, actually, was just there, in Florida for a gay wedding this past weekend, and I stopped at my mom's house and went shopping in her closet. I brought home three tunics, two shirts, and two pairs of pants, just shopping in her closet. Everyone's like, "Where'd you get that?" I'm like, "Tia's closet," and they are Googling it. "Where's that store, I don't know that store, I've never heard of it before." But you won't find it. Luckily we're the same size, so everything fits and it's perfect. She really passed down my fashion sense, and it's been a journey. I have not always looked this cute. I can show you some pictures from 2009 where it was rough. Baby was busted. She really was. Also, since I came out of the closet - I came out when I was 18 - so pretty much anything before then was awful fashion. But after I came out, I really started to accept the androgyny of my fashion, so half of my clothes are women's wear, technically. Once I started exploring that, again, with the full love and support of my family, the world is endless, and now it's just wearing what makes me feel comfortable and hot.

As long as you got two things.

I try so hard because I'm also super lazy, so if I'm not comfortable, I'm gonna take something off.

I want to end with this question.


What is your center of strength?

My family. And my family is not just my blood family. I will say I am very lucky that my blood family is also my family, and they have supported me and loved me and cared for me. But I also have an amazing New York family. My friends, during this pandemic, it was me and four gay black boys in an apartment, and we had the best time ever. Literally, we Interview: Anthony Murphy of A JOYFUL NOISE at The Green Room 42 On Apirl 24th won the pandemic. I tell everyone me and my friends, we won the pandemic. We put on full productions in our living room. We were doing Hamilton, the Musical, and I'm playing eight roles and I knew every line.

Manifest that dream.

Oh, it's happening,, it's coming. It was amazing. My friends and my family, they bring me joy when I'm upset. They know exactly what to say. They know exactly what to do. When I'm with them, I'm full of energy, I'm inspired. When I'm by myself, I'm a very chill person. But when my family comes around, it just sparks a joy that brings me to life.

I think we're lucky because we both have supportive kinfolk.

Very lucky.

But we also have a family of gay men.


We have a family of artists.


You have a family of Black siblings and I have my Asian siblings.


We have a family that's too big to invite to one wedding.

Very much so. But I can't wait for that day because when all of them come together, the joy that is gonna be in that room!

Is that coming? Are you dating?

(Laughing) Oh God no. She is heavily single.

Okay. We should get that out there.

One day it'll happen. You gotta plan ahead. Once you plan the wedding first, then the man will come.

That's not the first time I've heard that philosophy.

Oh, it's gonna be amazing too. It's a full musical.

Anthony, thank you for the lovely chat.

Thank you so much.

We will see you at The Green Room 42 again on April 24th.

It's a beautiful venue. You can really be there with the people. The stage is big and I love it cuz I love to twirl and I'm excited to do more twirl sthis time. With a fan!

See Anthony Murphy in A JOYFUL NOISE on April 24th at 9:30 pm. Get tickets HERE.

Visit the Anthony Murphy Instagram page HERE.


THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK: THE PARODY MUSICAL is Coming to The Green Room 42 for Two Photo
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK: THE PARODY MUSICAL is Coming to The Green Room 42 for Two Performances

THE GREEN ROOM 42 will present the return of The Real Housewives of New York: The Parody Musical on Friday, June 16 at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM.

Joes Pub & Truth Future Bachman to Present QUEER TIME RHAPSODY Pride Concert Photo
Joe's Pub & Truth Future Bachman to Present QUEER TIME RHAPSODY Pride Concert

Truth Future Bachman (The Public, Lincoln Center) and their starry crew of vocalists will celebrate pride on June 20th at 7pm in Bachman’s “Queer Time Rhapsody”.

Janine LaManna Will Make Solo Show Debut June 10th Photo
Janine LaManna Will Make Solo Show Debut June 10th

Saturday night, June 10th, at 7 pm, Janine LaManna will take the stage of The Green Room 42 to present the world premiere of BLACK & GOLD, with an encore on June 26th.

Broadway Sessions Begins 15 Year Anniversary Celebration This Week Photo
Broadway Sessions Begins 15 Year Anniversary Celebration This Week

Ben Cameron’s award winning musical theatre variety series, Broadway Sessions, celebrates 15 years in the Broadway community this month with 2 All Star concert events!



Recommended For You