A Chat with Julia Murney on ‘Wicked Divas’ at Wolf Trap on July 28, 2013

Julia Murney will be at Wolf Trap on Sunday, July 28th at 8:15 PM to perform Wicked Divas with Stephanie J. Block. and The National Symphony Orchestra. I asked Julia about what audiences will be seeing and hearing when she takes the Wolf Trap stage with fellow Broadway Elphaba – the Divine Stephanie J. Block.

Julia Murney. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.
Julia Murney. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

Joel: What will audiences hear you sing at Wicked Divas at Wolf Trap on July 28th? Have you performed at Wolf Trap and with The National Symphony before?

Julia: We’ll be singing some old favorites, some songs that may be surprising, and of course, a couple of songs from Wicked! 

Yes, I sang with the NSO in May at the Kennedy Center in The Wizard and I, the Musical Journey of Stephen Schwartz. What a thrill!

You and Stephanie Block both appeared in Wicked as Elphaba on Broadway. How long did you play Elphaba on Broadway and in The National Tour?

Yes, we did and that’s why it’s so fun to get to do these concerts together! I did the show for six months on tour and ten months on Broadway.

Did you both get a chance to see each other perform the role and how were your performances similar and different?

I am influenced by every amazing woman I have gotten to see play the part, including Steph. No idea how we were similar or different, as I’ve never seen me do the show!

What did you admire most about Elphaba?

I admire how she keeps fighting. I admire how she learns.

Julia Murney as El:phaba om 'Wicked.' Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap..
Julia Murney as El:phaba om ‘Wicked.’ Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap.

What is a diva and what makes you diva-like? And why is Stephanie Block a true Diva? How many times have you performed the show with Stephanie and why is she so much fun to perform with?

The term Diva has become a catch-all term for someone difficult which I certainly try not to be-I will speak my mind and fight for what I think is right, but I don’t ever want to be perceived as difficult. I prefer it in it’s original definition, as it’s from the Italian for goddess. And ‘Goddess’ is exactly what makes Stephanie a true Diva.

You have such powerful and gorgeous voice. How would you describe your voice?

Well, that’s very nice-thank you. I guess I would describe my voice as expressive. I have a very particular sound that I guess not everybody loves, but I’ve learned to.

Who do you consider the five best Divas who ever sang on a Broadway Stage?

I could never narrow it down to 5, but I’ll give you 3-one old school: Angela Lansbury (she’s a great actress), one current: Lindsay Mendez (currently Elphaba on Broadway-but you can hear her on the Dogfight cast album), and one eternal: Patti LuPone (beyond human in what she can do).

Would you ever consider popping on a blonde wig and playing Glinda?

Only in my dreams.

Any roles you would love to play that you haven’t yet played?

Dot in Sunday in the Park with George.

Why do you think Wicked is still so popular and selling out everywhere it plays?

It’s a story for anyone who has ever felt like the underdog…and who has never felt that way? It’s also got such a great score!

Julia Murney and the cast of 'From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook.'
Julia Murney and the cast of ‘From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook.’

wanted to thank you for being part of From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook. I actually rode the bus with you and Stokes and others from Lincoln Center to Waterbury, CT and that night you sang ‘Defying Gravity.’ (I still get chills thinking about it). Did the song have a special meaning for you that night? And why did you choose it to sing to the families of Sandy Hook?

The song always has special meaning, but that evening was tremendously moving-they asked me to sing it and I had the great honor of having Stephen Schwartz at the piano, and afterwards, a gentleman came up to me and said his daughter loved Wicked and he used to sing “Defying Gravity” to her every night-and she was taken in Sandy Hook-and he thanked me for bringing that song to him. That was beyond anything I ever could have imagined.

You conduct Master Classes around the country. What advice would you give a young student who is considering becoming a professional singer or making musical theatre his/her career?

Do your work, be yourself, be kind, and know that musical theatre can be performed in many different arenas-Broadway’s great, but it’s not the end of the story.


Wicked Divas plays on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 8:15 PM at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center – 1551 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For tickets, purchase them online.

Julia Murney’s website.

From Broadway with Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook website.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.


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