Theatre and dance student Matt Murphy will soon get the chance to exercise his acting chops with several Missouri State alumni, including notable television and film actors Tess Harper and Jack Laufer.
Auditioning for the role of Spike
Murphy, a junior from Monett, Missouri, is slated to play Spike in Springfield Contemporary Theatre’s upcoming “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” a Christopher Durang comedy that won the 2013 Tony Award for best play.
The SCT production is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and theatre and dance department.
Murphy is a transfer student majoring in theatre with an acting emphasis. He has previously acted in stage productions and student films.
Murphy said Missouri State Assistant Professor Maggie Marlin-Hess encouraged him to audition for the role.
“When I saw the play on Broadway, Spike was the character I could relate to, and I hoped I would have the chance to see what I could do with that role myself. Then Maggie told me Springfield Contemporary Theatre was doing the play and that I should audition.”
Show is culmination of 40 years of friendship
Murphy will join Laufer, Harper and MSU faculty and alumna Julie Bloodworth, who play the roles of siblings Vanya, Sonia and Masha. Alumnus Terry Bloodworth will direct the play, and alumna Teresa Ayers will be designing the costumes.
“We all have maintained close friendships over the past 40-plus years. When Jack saw an L.A. production of the show, he wrote me a note and asked if I would like to direct him, along with Tess and my wife, in an SCT production of the show. I jumped at the chance, of course,” Terry Bloodworth said.
Local thespians Whitney Russell-Ice, part-time MSU faculty, and Helen Groves will round out the comedy’s cast as Nina and Cassandra, respectively.
Laufer, who graduated in 1976, will be wrapping his third season in the Showtime series “Masters of Sex” in September. He is also known for his roles in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Mad Men” and “And the Band Played On.”
Harper graduated in 1972. She recently had reoccurring roles in “Breaking Bad” and “Crash.” She has won awards for her acting in movies such as “No Country for Old Men” and “Tender Mercies.”
Murphy said he’s excited to work with the caliber of acting and directing this show will bring.
“It’s going to really help to see their process. I’m not going to be crazy with questions, because I don’t think they want that, but I’m definitely going to try to learn as much as possible from them,” he said.
About the show
Middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia share a home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where they bicker and complain about the circumstances of their lives. Suddenly, their movie-star sister, Masha, swoops in with her new boy toy, Spike. Old resentments flare up, eventually leading to threats to sell the house.
Dates: Sept. 11-13, 17-20, 24-27
Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m.
Location: Springfield Contemporary Theatre, 431 S. Jefferson Ave #136
Admission: Tickets go on sale Aug. 11, 2015