Julia Murney in 2005
|Born||Julia Kathleen Murney
(1969-01-14) January 14, 1969
State College, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, singer, theatre performer|
Julia Kathleen Murney (born January 14, 1969) is an American actress and singer, also known for television commercial voice-overs. Until 2005, she was commonly known as the Broadway actress who had technically never appeared on Broadway. This was because her fame came mostly from her performances on the Broadway charity circuit, and not traditional Broadway productions. She played the role of Elphaba in the musical Wicked, both on the US national tour (2006) and on Broadway (2007). She is also a two-time Drama Desk Award nominee, for The Wild Party (2000) and Falling (2013).
The daughter of actor Christopher Murney and Anne Murney, Murney was named after the song “Julia” from The Beatles White Album. She has a younger sister, Caitlin (born 1977), who is a film producer and lives in LA and younger brother, Patrick (born 1987), who is an actor and graduated from Syracuse University with a drama degree in 2009.
In her album I’m Not Waiting liner notes, Andrew Lippa says that he first met her in June 1996. He said
I was the music director for a Stephen Schwartz compendium called Snapshots, auditions were going well, if uninspiring, until a certain Julia Murney (with whom I was, at the time, unacquainted) strutted into the room. She sang a song, a forever favorite ever since, called Imagine My Surprise. Heartbreaking. Seeing as I was about to do the reading of The Wild Party in August, I wrote on my notes “Is she Queenie?!?!?” followed by several stars and excited doodles. Then, the director asked for another song, preferably something by Stephen Schwartz.
la Murney: I know Meadowlark
la director: That’d be great
I didn’t bring the music
la pianist: (panic)
la Lippa: (heroically) I know it, what key? (oh, the swagger, the cock-suredness. I did want to impress her, after all)
Murney’s Off-Broadway theatrical credits include originating the role of ‘Queenie’ in Andrew Lippa‘s The Wild Party (2000) at the Manhattan Theatre Club, opposite Brian d’Arcy James, Idina Menzel, and Taye Diggs, for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. She was also seen in The Vagina Monologues, Crimes of the Heart (2001), A Class Act (2000), Time and Again (2001), and First Lady Suite. She appeared in a musical version of the film Saved! at the Playwrights Horizons Theatre, which had previews starting from May 9, and an opening on June 3, 2008. In August 2008, Murney portrayed the title role of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita at Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento.
Murney made her debut on Broadway in 2005, in the short-lived musical Lennon. She was also seen in the Actors’ Fund benefit concerts of Funny Girl, Chess, Hair, and the World AIDS Day Benefit Concert Pippin. She has also been featured on television in Sex and the City, Ed, NYPD Blue, and various episodes of Law & Order.
Murney succeeded Stephanie J. Block as Elphaba in the 1st national touring company of the musical Wicked on March 6, 2006. In that role, she won an Acclaim Award from the Cincinnati Enquirer for leading performer in a musical. She departed the tour on September 3, 2006, after six months, and was replaced by Shoshana Bean. She then transferred to the Broadway production, reprising the role of Elphaba for a nine-month engagement, beginning January 9, 2007, replacing Ana Gasteyer. She played her final performance on October 7, 2007 and was replaced by Stephanie J. Block. Both on tour and on Broadway, she starred opposite Kendra Kassebaum as Glinda.
Her debut solo album, I’m Not Waiting, was released in May 2006 on the Sh-K-Boom Records label. The album’s title song was written especially for her by Andrew Lippa, with whom she has a strong artistic relationship. Murney also sings a jazz acoustic version of the song “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked. Also on the album is “Perfect”, which was written with Tom Kitt. She can also be heard on the original cast albums of The Wild Party and A Class Act, and the Actors’ Fund recordings of Hair and Chess.
She played Mrs. Walker in The Who’s Tommy in Oklahoma City from February 5–21, 2009. In September 2009, she appeared in the Signature Theatre’s production of First You Dream – The Songs of Kander and Ebb in Arlington, VA, with Norm Lewis, Matthew Scott, Heidi Blickenstaff, Eleasha Gamble, and James Clow.
In 2013, Murney received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her role as Tami in the play, Falling. She played Princess Fiona in The Muny production of Shrek the Musical from June 24–30, 2013. She returned to the Muny the two years later in its production of Seussical where she played Mayzie LaBird. She also played Donna Sheridan in the theater’s production of Mamma Mia!, which ran from July 21-28, 2016. Murny played Rose in the 2017 Cape Playhouse production of Gypsy.
In May 2013 Murney sang with the Omaha Symphony in the concert “The Wizard and I – The Musical Journey of Stephen Schwartz” at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The concert featured songs from Godspell, Wicked, and the song Meadowlark.
|1997||The Real Shlemiel||Dona|
|2004||Say You Do||Samantha||Short|
|2008||Ghost Town||Sneezy Lady|
|2009||Clear Blue Tuesday||Anonymous Woman|
|2010||Multiple Sarcasms||Stage Cari|
|2013||La vida inesperada||Lisa|
|2014||Gabriel||Woman on Phone|
|2015||Outliving Family||Sarah Lerner (Segment 3)|
|2015||First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb||Television film|
|1999||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Waitress||Episode: “A Single Life”|
|2003||Sex and the City||Rival Raw Woman||Episode: “Great Sexpectations”|
|2003||NYPD Blue||Nancy Schaffer||Episode: “Frickin’ Fracker”|
|2003||Ed||Amanda Williams||2 episodes|
|2004, 2007||Law & Order||Marge Hollenbach, Lisa Quinlann||2 episodes|
|2005||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Hillary Martz||Episode: “View from Up Here”|
|2009||30 Rock||Courtney||Episode: “Kidney Now!”|
|2011||Brothers & Sisters||Kendra||Episode: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”|
|2015||Elementary||Gayle Wolper||Episode: “When Your Number’s Up”|
|2016||Madam Secretary||Erin||Episode: “Invasive Species”|
|2000||The Longest Journey||Emma de Vrijer, Young Alatien Woman, Female Visitor|
|2001||Max Payne||Mona Sax, Dispatcher, Lady Amelia|
|2006||Dreamfall: The Longest Journey||Emma de Vrijer, Dr. Park, Yuriko|