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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

October 23, 2013

Meet Katrin Murdock, playing Irene Adler in “Sherlock Holmes”

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 9:40 am

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but spent three years living in London, England, with my family where I first remember seeing live theater. My parents tried to take my brothers and I to as many shows as possible. I remember seeing shows like Phantom of the Opera, Annie Get Your Gun, Cats, Starlight Express and just being mesmerized by the music and the spectacle of the theater.

We moved back to Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan, and I was very blessed to be surrounded by all of its incredible music programs for youth. I joined my church and school choirs, and also sang and traveled to Vienna, Austria, with the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale, quickly realizing how much I enjoyed singing. I was and still am quite shy by nature, so singing became an outlet for me to build my confidence and express myself.  I also joined the Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild, which introduced me to straight theater for the first time. Even though I was singing all of the time in choirs, I actually didn’t perform in my first musical until high school. I began taking private voice lessons my junior year, and performed my first lead role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. After that, I was hooked, and I considered for the first time that music performance was something I wanted to seriously pursue.

Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I studied Vocal Performance and received a Bachelor of Music Degree from Western Michigan University in 2008, and then I went on to study Musical Theatre and Opera Performance and received a Masters of Music Degree from Arizona State University in 2011.

Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?
A: Previously I have worked with Phoenix Theatre in Phoenix, AZ, Theater Works in Peoria, AZ, and Cornwell’s Dinner Theater in Marshall, MI.  Some of my favorite roles include Wendla in Spring Awakening, Cinderella in Into the Woods, Little Edie in Grey Gardens the Musical, and Woman 1 in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

Q: How did you prepare for playing the role of Irene Adler? Were there any challenges or things that you were excited about with taking on this character?
A: Irene Adler is probably the strongest female character I have ever had to play, which is incredibly exciting and daunting at the same time. Irene is extremely intelligent, on the same level as Sherlock, and she is at times Sherlock’s rival, admirer, colleague, and ultimately love interest. In order to prepare for this role, I wanted to shy away from the current TV shows, Sherlock and Elementary, so as not to be influenced by their interpretations. Instead I went directly to the source of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story, A Scandal in Bohemia, and noted all of the details describing Irene and her actions to be the basis of the character. Irene is quite complex; she is made up of three main layers: sweetly loving, seductively manipulating, and fearlessly vengeful. Since Irene is so complex, it has been a challenge to play all of her subtleties and manipulations in a way that keeps the audience guessing rather than giving away parts of her character and the story too soon. I am also really excited to have the opportunity to explore this challenging role since it is quite different from my own personality and the characters I usually play.

Q: What do you look forward to each performance playing Irene Adler and what are you most excited audiences will take away from this production?
A:  I am especially excited to be performing alongside such a talented group of actors! I am constantly impressed and love watching and learning from them each night in rehearsal. I also look forward to finding different ways in which Irene can lure, trick, and react to the other characters in each performance. I’m very excited for audiences to enjoy this fun ride of intelligence and wit. The story contains humor, mystery, thrill, and romance; something for every type of theatergoer to enjoy!

Q: Please share with us your thoughts and experience so far on being a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage.
A: I constantly have to pinch myself that I get to work and perform not only in this absolutely beautiful and historic city, but also in one of the oldest theaters in America! I am so grateful for this opportunity, and the experience so far has been incredible. As an actor, much of the time, you are auditioning show-to-show, moving from city-to-city, you could have a job for one month, and then the next month be on the job hunt again. Charleston Stage guarantees their Resident Actors roles in multiple shows over a 10-month period, which is a unique opportunity and a wonderful way for an actor to gain experience and build up their resume. Not only are we rehearsing and/or performing each week, but we also get to teach the youth acting classes, which is a great learning experience as well.

So far I have performed the role of Judy in the musical, Nine to Five, and performed alongside some of the most talented kids in Charleston in the play, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. I am surrounded by 6 other insanely talented Resident Actors, two incredibly smart directors, an awesome crew, and actors in the Charleston community who have been extremely warm and welcoming. I have absolutely no complaints and I cannot wait to see what the rest of Season 36 at Charleston Stage has in store!


Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes and Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

Charleston Veteran Actor Michael David Wilson as Godfrey Norton and Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actor Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

From left to right: Charleston Stage Professional Resident Actors George Dippold as The King of Bohemia, Jacob Dickey as Sherlock Holmes and Katrin Murdock as Irene Adler.

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