By Holly Mancuso, Dramaturg
Last week we had the amazing opportunity to host Jack Murphy, the writer and lyricist for The Count of Monte Cristo. Jack has a long and illustrious career in music and theatre, including credits as a playwright, lyricist, and writer. He and Frank Wildhorn have worked together for more than twenty years, most notably on The Civil War, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Score in 2009, and for Rudolf, which has had several successful international runs.
In 2007, Jack and Frank were commissioned to write a musical about The Count of Monte Cristo for the Theater St. Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The show was written in only six weeks, and then premiered in 2009 at the Theater St. Gallen.
On this, his first trip to Utah, Jack stayed from Tuesday to Sunday. During that time, he saw two full run-throughs of BYU’s production of The Count of Monte Cristo, and spent time in rehearsal with the cast. After seeing the full show on Tuesday, Jack commented on how impressed he was with the actors’ performances, as well as how prepared and memorized they were.
By Thursday, Jack had written new lyrics for one song, rewritten vocal parts for another, and added additional dialogue to several scenes. The cast quickly got to work learning the new material and implementing the changes. They were excited about the chance to work with the writer and hear more about his vision for the show. There was a very strong collaborative atmosphere as Jack talked openly with director Tim Threlfall and musical director Gayle Lockwood about timing, lyrics, musical key changes, and characterizations.
It was a great experience to have Jack here! His love for theatre and his talent for writing were very evident, and we as a cast are excited to implement whatever changes he may make to the show!