Jack Murphy has contributed to a wide variety of theatrical projects, as a performer and composer as well as a writer of books and lyrics. Wonderland, which opened on Broadway in April 2011, with music by Frank Wildhorn, book by Murphy and Gregory Boyd, lyrics by Murphy, and direction by Boyd, is the latest of his many shows, and will surely not be the last. He has had several collaborators, principally composer Wildhorn, with whom he has worked for twenty years or more. He has written lyrics for Linda Eder’s solo albums on EMI (And So Much More) and Atlantic (It’s Time, It’s No Secret Anymore, Christmas Stays the Same, and Gold), as well as her newest all-Wildhorn release, Now, on Sony. Once a staff writer for United Artists Music, his material has been heard on the A&M, Verve, MGM, Elektra, Columbia and ABC Dunhill labels.
With Wildhorn, and Gregory Boyd, director of the Alley Theater in Houston, Texas, as bookwriter, he wrote the lyrics for The Civil War, a show that earned him a Tony® nomination for Best Score when it debuted at the St. James Theatre on Broadway in April 1999. He was back at the same theatre some months later with two songs in the hit show Swing.
As a team, Murphy and Wildhorn have had notable success in Europe and other parts of the world. Their musical Rudolf, about the illicit love affair and suspicious death of the Crown Prince of Austria in 1889, had premieres in Budapest (May 2006), at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo (May 2008), and in Vienna (February 2009), where it ran for eleven months. Their modern version of Carmen opened in Prague in October 2008, and in March 2009 The Count of Monte Cristo had its world premiere at the Theatre St. Gallen in Switzerland, with another production following in Seoul, South Korea in April 2010.
Other projects with Wildhorn have included the musicals Waiting for the Moon (based on the lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald), for which Murphy wrote the book and lyrics, first performed in Marlton, New Jersey, at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center in July 2005, and Havana, currently in workshop.
Earlier, Jack Murphy collaborated with actress and writer Mary Bracken Phillips (Brimstone, Sacagawea, Metro), composing the score for the musical Silver Dollar, which premiered in 1995 at the Norma Terris Theatre of the Goodspeed Opera House and received a second production at the Stage One Theater in Wichita. Murphy is also the author of Gods of Autumn, a play he directed for the Progress Energy Theater in Raleigh, North Carolina, in August 2008.
– Lucy E. Cross