Michaela Murphy Named Education Director at Bucks County Playhouse, Will Launch Storytelling Series
From the Edith Wharton's 'The Mount' in the Berkshires, where she worked as both an educator and an actress at the famed Shakespeare and Company, to the high-tech corridors of Microsoft, Murphy has distinguished herself as one of the country's top communications specialists, as well as actress and arts educator.
Murphy's skills are most prominently on display as an internationally known storyteller. Bucks County audiences will have an opportunity to get to know Murphy when the Playhouse launches its first storytelling series beginning October 20. Michaela is curating and performing in a series of three evenings in the Playhouse's education center, Lambertville Hall, on Fridays, October 20, November 17 and December 15 at 7pm. Tickets are available as a package for all three dates or for individual performances.
Through nearly three decades of experience of working with students of all ages, Murphy successfully designed and implemented a wide range of educational programs and curriculums around a broad-range of subjects. She has taught students from pre-school (Head-Start) through graduate school, and has directed professional development courses for established educators. In addition, she is a widely sought-out business consultant and speechwriter by executives and technology startups. As an entrepreneur and communications expert, she has more than 30 years of experience helping individuals and organizations launch new ideas, forge new markets, and communicate their messages through dynamic and interactive engagement. Her clients have included Yale University, The 52nd Street Project, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage Theatre, Microsoft, Estee Lauder, additional corporations and education centers and a host of private individuals.
"It's really a dream come true bringing an educator of Michaela's status and experience to the Playhouse," says Fraser. "Her extensive background, her creative resourcefulness and her wide network of contacts will bring new opportunity and great energy to our growing educational programs. I met her when we worked together at Second Stage in the late 1990's, and I'm thrilled to bring her to New Hope to reimagine our education program from the ground up."
"I have known and admired Michaela for many years and have seen how her work impacts and inspires students and audiences of all ages," says Goodman. "With an extraordinary background working at theaters ranging from Second Stage to Shakespeare and Company, Michaela has brilliant ideas on how to expand the educational reach of our programs. Adding her to the team at the Playhouse is an important step forward in our desire to develop a dynamic, year-round education program for the greater New Hope community."
"My career has taken me in many directions, but the arts and education have always been an important part of my focus," says Murphy. "The arts education programs that are most impactful are the ones that integrate well with the mission of the theater. At the Playhouse, education has always been of prime importance. So many major artists got their start here as apprentices - like the wonderful Grace Kelly. And for the last 50 years, the Playhouse has brought students and teachers here for an annual festival to showcase their work. Although I am just beginning my tenure at the Playhouse, our team is already working on ways to extend this festival and bring more opportunities to educators and students year-round."
Murphy has told her stories at Second Stage Theatre, The Atlantic Theater, "Studio 360" with Kurt Andersen, The Whitney Museum, The Center for Architecture, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Lincoln Center, and on NPR's "All Things Considered." Her acclaimed one-woman show "Something Blue" played at Second Stage Theatre, The Aspen Comedy Festival and Williamstown Theatre Festival. She performs with The Moth in their mainstage shows and as well as on their national storytelling tours. Murphy's work as playwright and actor has been featured at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Ensemble Studio Theater, LA MAMA Theatre, The 52nd Street Project and the Clinton White House. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker.
Murphy is calling upon her highly acclaimed colleagues from the storytelling community to participate in all three events.
October 20: Out on A Limb - Going for broke, pushing the limits, and crossing the line: Five of NYC's favorite storytellers take to the stage to tell about that time when they almost went too far. Among the storytellers scheduled to join Murphy are James Braly, Ed Gavagan and Josh Lehrer.
November 17: Home: There's No Place Like It - An evening of stories about places to hang your hat, head, or hopes. Come and hear audience favorites told by storytellers from The Moth, The Liar Show, Speakeasy Stories, and on NPR.
December 15: The Liar Show - Call it an "unreality" show. Since the summer of 2006, The Liar Show has taken the art of deception to theaters, cabarets and cultural centers around the U.S. and Canada and was an audience and critic favorite during a month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. At each show, four performers tell Short Personal stories, but listen carefully, because one of these people is making it all up. Interrogate the cast and expose the Liar to win an "unbelievable" T-shirt. But as The Washington Post wrote of the show, "Prizes mean nothing compared with the sweet victory of being recognized as the savviest people in the room." The Liar Show will include performances by Murphy, Andy Christie and others to be announced.
IF YOU GO:
Dates: Fridays, October 20, November 17, and December 15 at Lambertville Hall, 57 Bridge Street, Lambertville, NJ
Tickets: $25 pre-sale / $35 day of / $60 for 3 show package
For complete details, and to purchase tickets, visit buckscountyplayhouse.org, call 215-862-2121, or visit the box office at 70 South Main Street, New Hope, PA.
Bucks County Playhouse, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is the oldest and largest professional Equity performing arts center in Bucks County. Under the direction of Tony Award-winning producers, Alexander Fraser and Robyn Goodman, the Playhouse provides first class professional theatrical entertainment as well as community events, partnerships and arts education programming for visitors and residents of New Hope, Doylestown, Lambertville and the Delaware Valley.
Located between Philadelphia and New York, Bucks County Playhouse opened in 1939 in a converted 1790 gristmill after a group of community activists, led by Broadway orchestrator Don Walker and playwright Moss Hart, rallied to save the building. The Playhouse quickly became one of the country's most famous regional theaters, featuring a roster of American theatrical royalty including Helen Hayes, Kitty Carlisle, George S. Kaufman, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Bert Lahr, Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Alan Alda, Tyne Daly, Liza Minnelli and Audra McDonald and remained in continuous operation until December 2010. In 2012, the Playhouse re-opened thanks to the efforts of the Bridge Street Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation of Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, and Broadway producer Jed Bernstein.
Since its renovation, significant productions include Terrence McNally's "Mothers and Sons" starring Tyne Daly, which moved to Broadway and was nominated for two Tony Awards, and "Misery" based on the Stephen King novel which also went on to a Broadway run in the 2015-16 season. Two of the Playhouse's recent productions -- "Company" starring Justin Guarini, and William Finn's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" -- were named by Wall Street Journal to its "Best of Theatre" list for 2015. The Playhouse's productions of "Steel Magnolias" and "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" broke box office records in 2016. "Buddy" returned in 2017 and transferred to the Kimmel Center, where it became the first regional theatre invited to perform at the prestigious venue. Thanks to the Bridge Street Foundation and their vision for the New Hope waterfront, the Playhouse is currently in construction mode, as it adds 4,000 square foot riverfront cafe and bar that is expected to open in 2018.