• January 21, 2020

West Texan helps bring Charlie Brown to life - Odessa American: Local News

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West Texan helps bring Charlie Brown to life

Shannon Murphy to perform with cast at Wagner Noël

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    West Texan, Shannon Murphy, set to be on stage at the Wagner Noël as a cast member for “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage.” Murphy plays the role of Frieda, a young red-headed girl from the “Peanuts” comic.

Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 4:09 pm

Shannon Murphy remembers when the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center first opened, and as a student of theater, wanting to be on that stage.

Attending Robert E. Lee High School at the time, Murphy auditioned for “Les Misérables,” but was not cast. But she attended the production, and wanted to be able to eventually perform there in front of her family and friends.

So when Murphy returns to the Wagner Noël on Thursday as a cast member for “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage,” she is aware of how life has come full circle.

“If you’re ambitious, and work hard, persistency can get you far in life,” the 24-year-old actress said in a phone interview.

Born in Springfield, Ill., Murphy and her family moved to Midland when she was in the eighth grade, and still considers West Texas home. Her parents, Robert and Theresa, still call Midland home, she added.

A graduate of Lee in 2014, Murphy then attended Collaborative Arts Project 21 in New York City and studied musical theater and graduated in 2018.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage” is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Wagner Noël. Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets cost between $38 and $80.

Murphy said she plays the role of Frieda, a young red-headed girl from the “Peanuts” comic (not the love interest of the Charlie Brown), and was excited to have a little bit more freedom in her portrayal of the character.

“In the (television) special, she only has a couple lines,” Murphy said. “That gave me a lot of freedom to shape her … It’s been a lot of fun to have a role that wasn’t as specific (as other characters).”

The show extends upon the 30-minute television special, and includes musical numbers, dancing, an intermission, and a celebration of song that invites the audience to participate. Murphy said one of her favorite parts of the show is the end of the first act, where Charlie Brown is picking out his Christmas tree.

While different in many aspects, the overall message of the show is the same between the two productions.

“At the end of the day, it’s about friends and family, and how they’re going to create the experience of the holiday’s real meaning,” she said.

Murphy said she originally auditioned for the show last year, but did not get a callback. However, when auditioning again for the show, she was eventually cast. She credits her dedication and love from theater from her time with the Pickwick Players with the Midland Community Theater, and the theater program at Midland Independent School District.

“I do feel extremely grateful for how things have turned out and in my life, and with hard work, I think at the end of the day, that’s what you can get you get to where you are."

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