Every cast member of a successful West End show deserves a slice of the credit it receives, but all too often it is the principal performers who receive the praise while the rest of the cast are left just outside of the spotlight. That’s why In Profile was started, to recognise the hard-working ensemble members, swings, understudies and alternates of London’s West End stages. Richard Murphy has a long list of credits to his name, but has worked as a Swing for much of his West End career. Now the talented actor, singer and dancer, is being put under the spotlight as the featured performer for this edition of In Profile.
Richard Murphy is a young performer from Ireland who began his road to the stage at Colaiste Stiofan Naofa in Cork, graduating from the 2-year Acting course in 2002. He then continued his training at Bird College, where he played such roles as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (Shaw Theatre), Mr Burrs in The Wild Party (Albany Theatre) and Sheriff Dodd in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Orchard Theatre), entering the industry as a professional performer in 2005.
Some of his earliest theatre credits included Dance Captain and U/S Tin Man in a production of The Wizard of Oz at Cork Opera House, a dancer in the US Tour of Spirit of the Dance and a member of the ensemble in the US Tour of The Spirit of Broadway. He saw out 2006 as Dance Captain in Christmas on Broadway (Goldstrike Casino), then took to the road with the UK touring production of Chicago in the role of Harrison. Following that, he joined the London company of the musical at the Cambridge Theatre, making his West End debut reprising the role of Harrison, in addition to covering the principal character of Amos Hart.
He left Chicago in August 2008, and just a few months later, was performing in another popular West End show. He joined the company of the Queen musical We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, which then starred Ricardo Afonso (Galileo), Sabrina Aloueche (Scaramouche), Mazz Murray (Killer Queen), Alex Bourne (Khashoggi), Ian Carlyle (Brit), Rachel Tucker (Meat), Garry Lake (Pop) and Brian McCann (Rebel Leader). He spent two years in We Will Rock You, the first year performing in the ensemble and the second as a Swing in the show, leaving for good in September 2010.
He returned to the West End production of Chicago, now playing at the Garrick Theatre, in November 2011, where he once again played Harrison and covered the role of Amos Hart. He played his final performance in Chicago on 1st September 2012, but it wasn’t long before he was back on the West End stage.
The musical adaption of The Bodyguard made its world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre on 5th December 2012 (previews from 6th November), with Murphy appearing as a member of the original London cast. He covered such leading male roles as Rory in the show, which starred Lloyd Owen and Heather Headley as Frank Framer and Rachel Marron, the roles made famous by Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston in the 1992 film of the same name. He left The Bodyguard in the September 2013 cast change, which also saw Tristan Gemmill and Beverly Knight take over the two star roles.
His other theatre credits include U/S Herman in Snow White at the Manchester Opera House, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella (Cork Opera House), performing with the Cork City Ballet (Irish Tour), Dance Captain in Spice (Monte Carlo) and Curly in Oklahoma! (Shaw Theatre). His television credits include Sean in Zanzibar, Dr Robert in Here I Come, and numerous roles in short films, such as Flynn Freeman in Criminal Seas, Daniel in Valentines Day, Fox in Fungun, Damian in Uninvited and Sean in Retribution.
Most recently, he was seen playing the Bailiff in the China Tour of Chicago.
A well-rounded performer and particularly strong dancer, Murphy has already accrued a list of theatre credits to be proud of. It remains to be seen just where he’ll go from there, but one can only hope to see him back in the West End soon, and this time in a permanent leading role.
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 29th August 2015