Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Minterview: Liz Murphy

Minterview = Mini interview

This Friday and Saturday (November 22 and 23) at 8 PM, Mariposa Artists presents The Best is Yet to Come, the first solo cabaret show by St. Louis singer and actress Liz Murphy, at the Kranzberg Center in Grand Center.  The show is directed by cabaret luminary Lina Koutrakos, with music direction by MAC Award-winning singer, songwriter, arranger Rick Jensen.  I asked her a few questions about the show and how her life experiences had influenced its development.

Q: I think of a cabaret show as a plant that grows from a small seed.  What was the seed that started The Best Is Yet to Come?  What inspired this show?

A: We have such a wonderful cabaret community here in St. Louis, and my friends actually encouraged me to plan a show.  I always thought I could do it but that personal enthusiasm for the project really began when I started making new and healthier life-style choices.  I suddenly has the enthusiasm and energy to want to try new things and gained that new "the best is yet to come" attitude!

Lina Koutrakos
Q: How do feel your experience as a middle school teacher has influenced your cabaret and musical theatre work, and vice-versa?

A: My classroom experience has helped immensely.  I entertain a captive audience every day!  My students are also very curious about the projects I work on and encourage me as well.  They even frequently ask me to sing. (...of course that may be to get out of doing work but I appreciate their vote of confidence!)

Q: Your music director Rick Jensen and your director Lina Koutrakos are both New York-based.  How did the three of you manage to get together for rehearsals?

A: I was so lucky to be able to work out a plan to have Lina and Rick as my directors!  I was able to have time with them here in St. Louis when they were in town doing other shows.  I also was fortunate enough to go to NYC last Easter and had a couple of great and very intense sessions with both of them. I also participated in the Chicago Conference in June and had time with them there as well.  In addition to that, I had phone meetings and music tracks from Rick so that I could practice my songs with his amazing arrangements.

Q: You've been performing with the Community Gospel Choir in St. Louis for the past seven years.  How do you feel that background influences what you do on stage?

A: My gospel choir experience has had a HUGE impact on my stage work.  I am a rehearsed singer and rely on the music to "read" my part. In gospel choir I was asked to begin to improvise and do solos where I had to put my music down and "let the spirit move me."  It was terrifying!  But through the support and encouragement of my fabulous director/vocal coach, Cecelia Stearman, and the members of the amazing choir, I found the ability to take chances and gain confidence.  I think that confidence is the key!

Mariposa Artists is an independent cabaret production company founded by St. Louis cabaret singer Robert Breig.  For ticket information on Mariposa's The Best is Yet to Come, visit

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