Patti Murin talks about Love’s Labour’s Lost‘s successful run, reality TV and Andrew Rannells

Patti Murin

Patti Murin

Written by Emilee Dupré 

The acclaimed Shakespeare in the Park summer series production of Love’s Labour’s Lost closes this evening. Broadway actress Patti Murin, who played the Princess, talks with Stage Door Dish about playing a modern Alex Timbers take on a classic Shakespearean story, her best friend Andrew Rannells, and reality television.

SDD: What is your favorite moment in the show? 

Murin: There are so many of them! This is one of those shows that during rehearsal we all sort watched the show when we have a moment. But one of my favorite moments is watching Lucas – when he has his sonnet with Jeff Hiller and Kevin Del Aguila. It’s the one moment where I can just sit and watch and I can’t get enough of it. So every night, it’s part of my track. We go and we watch that. I could give you a favorite moment for every person in the show, that’s how much I love it.

SDD: It is so amazing to have an experience like that. Have you done any other Shakespeare plays? 

Murin:  In college, I did Comedy of Errors, but I was terrible! So I tell everybody this is my first one.

SDD: Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?

Murin: I’ve never actually done a play before, except for in high school. I’ve mostly done just musical theater. It [Love’s Labour’s Lost] was my first audition back after I got off the Wicked tour. It was my first musical audition on almost a year because I did some TV after Lysistrata Jones closed. It was the first time I had to go in the room and sing after 9 or 10 months. I was like, are you kidding me?! It was a ton of Shakespeare, like a different language. It was sort of intimidating but it was sort of to the point of, ‘Whatever, this is what I’ve got and I’m just going to go with it!’ When I get jobs, I sort of walk in and it clicks. But when I want a job so badly, I don’t ever get it. The ones I do end up getting, I don’t even know how it happens. But this [Love’s Labour’s Lost] is one of the best ones. I feel spoiled in that way.

SDD: How was it to work with Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman? They are so brilliantly creative. Was this your first time working with them?

Murin: Yes it is. I didn’t know either of them personally at all. They are two completely different types of people, which is probably why they work so well together. They balance each other out. Michael’s songs are just brilliant.  I’m familiar with some of his other shows, but I think this is some of the best stuff he has ever written. It comes from such an honest place. There are so many characters to work with, and he has really captured the heart and spirit of each character.  Everyone gets a moment to shine. And he’s really somehow figured out how to speak from every character’s point of view through music. And Alex is just…I love him! I want like a little Alex Timbers doll everywhere I go! He is amazing.He’s brilliant, he’s smart, and he’s a real human being. He has this way of being our friend and treating us as equals, but we respect him so much. And that is not easy to do with a director at all. He’s very collaborative. I had such a great time working with him, with both of them, and I hope I get to work with both of them many times in the future.

SDD: Word on the street is that you are best friends with Andrew Rannells. Is that true? Tell me about your friendship.

Murin: We did Give It Up (which became Lysistrata Jones) in Dallas. I played opposite him. He played the role that Josh Segarra eventually played. We sort of instantly fell in love. He is pretty spectacular. We even managed to see a couple of shows together when he’s been in town, and have date nights. It’s nice.

SDD: What’s the last great show you saw on stage?

Murin: Pippin. We [Andrew Rannells] and I saw it together. It’s one of those shows that I’d seen a bad production of a long time ago. I didn’t really get it. I didn’t really care or understand it. Seeing this production, I felt like ‘Oh, I get it.’ It was awesome.

SDD: I also hear you two love watching The Bachelor.

Murin: We’ve been watching The Bachelor for years, but the other Monday was the first time we ever got to watch it together. He had to be in New York the next day and it was part one of the finale. He came over and brought me some roses and I got us some rosé. It was a lovely night. It was a good night in our friendship.

SDD: If you could do a show together, what would it be?

Murin: I have no idea. You know what we did talk about? We both love Sara Bareilles and she is apparently writing Waitress the Musical. We would love to do that together, playing opposite each other. He knows her and I’m completely obsessed with her. So we are like, ‘Let’s put that in our future plans.’ It’s on our list. I’m secreting right now!

SDD: Describe Andrew Rannells in five words or less.

Murin: Loyal, charming, funny, generous, insanely hot.

SDD: Describe yourself in five words or less.

Murin: These will be way more humble! I would have to say energetic, ambitious, loyal, friendly, spirited.

SDD: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Murin: My love of reality TV is pretty much public knowledge, so that’s out.  Let’s see…I am an avid reader. I love to read anything I can get my hands on. I’m also a huge American history nerd. Colonial Williamsburg is a dream vacation of mine! I will do 1776 at some point and my dad will be the happiest man alive because it’s his favorite musical.

SDD: That is sweet! And who is your favorite author?

Murin: I would have said Wally Lamb a couple of years ago, because I liked his first couple of books. But this one woman, Julie Oranger, wrote The Invisible Bridge. It took over as one of my favorite books. It’s an epic love story and also about World War II. I am eagerly awaiting her next one because that was only her first novel.

SDD: What is your obsession of the summer?

Murin: I can’t get enough of Love’s Labour’s Lost. And sleep when I can get it, but Central Park has been my life this summer.

SDD: If you could be on any reality TV show what would you choose and why?

Murin: My first thought was The Bachelor, but I can’t really say that. That’s for my friends to do. I’ll find love some other way. But you know what? The Amazing Race is my favorite reality show of all time. It’s not even reality, but I would love, love, love to be on The Amazing Race!

SDD: If you could trade places with any Broadway person past or present who would it be?

Murin: This is sort of bizarre, but I would love to know what it would have been like to be Ethel Merman, just to forge that path for women in theater. She probably didn’t even know she was doing it at the time. But now look – everyone is belting higher and higher!  I would love to have been in her shoes.

SDD: If you could have a drink with anyone in the Broadway community, who would it be?

Murin: I will resist the impulse to say my friends, so probably Kristin Chenoweth. After having just done Wicked, I’d love to know the technicalities of her experience. The amount of times I cursed her – did she really need to put that note there? Really?! She did the impossible. I’d like to know how and why.

SDD: Who is the last person to make you feel star struck? 

Murin: I don’t really get star struck when I meet actors, but there are very specific people. Someone in our show, our music contractor, his father is R.L. Stine who wrote all the Fear Street books. I grew up reading those. He actually came to the show and I met him. He gave me a signed copy of one of his books. If someone told me at 12 years old that I would meet him, I never would have believed it. I met Tina Fey last night, but she came to see Rachel [Dratch] in the show and I met her in the hallway. She was trying to tell me I did a good job but all I could do was tell her ‘I love you’ and how amazing she is. That’s not quite the way I wished it would’ve gone.

SDD: What is your most memorable fan experience?

Murin: They’ve all been pretty great. Wonderful, respectful, lovely. There are the random fans who will say, ‘You look tired!’ when I am coming out of the stage door, which makes me want to punch them in the face a little bit. Other than that, I don’t have any bad stories. These two girls, Vicki and Geri, I can’t even call them fans at this point. They are more like friends. They’ve come to see me in everything I’ve done since Xanadu, so they’ve come and see me a lot. I’ve gotten to know them and they are such wonderful supporters of mine. They came to see the show the other day – twice. They are just the best girls in the world. It’s so nice to have people like that who saw me in my first major thing in New York and they still come to see me. They even happened to be in Vegas when I was doing Wicked and made time to see the show.

SDD: Do you have a personal motto or philosophy that you live by?  What is it?

Murin: Try to be in the moment as much as possible because all the good things that have happened in my life have been mostly a surprise. It is never anything that I’m expecting. This is a new attitude I’ve adopted. Six months ago I wouldn’t have said this. It makes life that much more fun and unpredictable. You get to wake up and not know what is going to happen. You aren’t trying to fit everyone into your plan.  So yeah, live in the moment.

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About Samantha S.

"I found the theatre and I found my home.” ― Audra McDonald

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