Call Answered: Sean Patrick Murtagh: "Mario! A Salute To The Great Lanza" at The Green Room 42
I have known Sean Patrick Murtagh for several years and am thrilled that we can finally meet up to discuss the debut of his concert Mario! A Salute To The Great Lanza, celebrating the life and music of Hollywood’s “Golden Tenor,” Mario Lanza.
Sean Patrick will be making his Green Room 42 debut with this show. Featuring Classic Hollywood Musicals, Opera, and Neapolitan Favorites. Sean Patrick creates an intimate nostalgic evening that will make you fall in love. Just when you thought they didn’t make singers like that anymore!
Mario! A Salute To The Great Lanza will play at The Green Room 42 (570 10th Ave, on the 4th floor of the Yotel hotel) on Wednesday, August 14 at 7pm. Click here for tickets!
1. This August you are making your Green Room 42 debut with your show Mario! A Salute To The Great Lanza. What made you want to create a show celebrating the music of Mario Lanza? Mario’s voice has always had a tremendous impact on me. He transports me emotionally to another plane with his interpretations, his phrasing, his passion. He lives his songs and I feel it is important to celebrate that legacy.
When I talk to people about him I get one of two responses:
1.) People who know and adore him, take a breath and reflect before they say what he means to them.
2.) People who haven’t heard of him. I often hear, “They don’t make singers like that anymore!” And I strongly disagree; rather, we don’t celebrate singers like that anymore.
This show is my effort to celebrate and reintroduce him to a diverse audience of music fans and carry on his legacy.
2. What made you want to debut this show at The Green Room 42? There are many reasons why I love The Green Room 42. They have been very supportive to a lot of my friends, they are affordable for those of us who want to support cabaret while staying within budget, and ultimately I love the room. It captures a sense of nostalgia, while bringing in our current city scape - the burgundy curtains, the graffiti art in the giant booths, classic supper club tables with lamps...it’s so romantic - it is the perfect atmosphere for this show that I hope will transport the audience through the music of Mario Lanza.
3. How did you first get into Mario Lanza? Mario has always been a mentor of sorts to me as a singer. When I returned to San Francisco after college, I continued my vocal studies with Richard Nickol, who introduced me to Mario. He was always the goal to aspire to - “Listen to Mario, don’t mimic, but listen and learn.” He’s proven to be a wonderful role model over the years, and truly there is no better way to make my debut honoring what he has meant to me.
4. What should audiences know about this show? It’s very personal to me and when they come they will learn how Mario taught me to honor, respect and carry on the legacy of those people who have had such an impact on my life both personally and artistically who are no longer here. He also taught me forgiveness. I don’t want to give too much away.
5. What was the first song you knew had to be in this show? “Be My Love,” without a doubt...What is funny is in every conversation I’ve had around this show, the first question people ask is, “Are you singing ‘Be My Love’?” I don’t know how you could do a tribute to Mario without it! That was the easy part. The hard part was narrowing down the set list from 100+ song titles to 41 to 13 songs (and a totally unplanned, unprompted, unexpected encore...)
6. How long did it take you to create this show - from idea to inception? This is an interesting question with so many ways to answer it. I’ve had this show swimming around in my head for years. I have revisited so many times, but it has seemed like such a huge taking on. Ultimately this past winter I realized, this show means too much to me not to share. Around mid March I booked the date, then started doubling up on voice lessons and carving out most of my free time to go into this music. The work will continue up until the opening number, throughout the show, and beyond as I hope to continue to share it with many more audiences.
7. If you could have sung a song with Mario, what song would you have loved to duet with him on? Again, “Be My Love,” if Kathryn Grayson would forgive me. It is such a glorious song that invites the singer to swim in the glorious melody and lyrics - and only truly realizes its full potential when you have two singers bring its lushness to life.
8. Which of his films would you like to re-make and star in? To be honest, none of them. They are untouchable. BUT, but, but, but, I would LOVE to star in a movie of his life in style of THE GREAT CARUSO, which is why this show is called MARIO! A SALUTE TO THE GREAT LANZA! I think it’s the only way to honor him.
9. Who or what inspired you to become a singer? My mother. I remember the exact moment I had my “AHA! Moment.” It was Christmas Eve and I was a little kid. My mom sang “O Holy Night,” and I just knew it was what I wanted to do. My mother moved heaven and earth to create the opportunities for me to fulfill this dream, which ultimately lead me to Richard Nickol who, as I mentioned earlier, introduced me to Mario Lanza.
10. The show is "an open love letter to the golden tenor of Hollywood." If you could have written a letter to Mario, what would you have told him in that letter? Thank you. I honestly wouldn’t have enough words to express what he means to me. This show is a a discovery of sorts for me too, to find out what I would say to him.
People tend to focus on the tragedy of how he died so young - the gossip, the drama, the addictions, the struggles; which is very tragic, but I don’t think enough credit is actually given to how much he accomplished in such a relatively short amount of time. This show is not about what he did wrong or could have done different. This show is about his accomplishments and legacy. He died in 1959 and here we are in 2019 and I feel compelled enough to celebrate him and hopefully people feel compelled enough to join me. The show is the love letter and when you see it, you’ll know what I have to say.
More on Sean Patrick:
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I began my artistic pursuits while in elementary school. After a little success in the print/ commercial world, I dove into theatre and fell in love. The journey brought me from San Francisco to Orange county - earning a B.A. in Drama from the University of California, Irvine, where I appeared in many of their main stage shows, as well as produced my own concert in the Claire Trevor Theater.
After UC Irvine, I decided to head back to the Bay Area and put my degree to work in places like TheatreWorks, 42nd St. Moon, The Retro Dome, The Willows, Broadway By the Bay, and many more. I continued my studies at the San Francisco Academy for the Performing Arts, with a focus on voice building and creating roles.
As the work continued to present itself, I realized it was time to go to New York, where I currently work, live, and create. In New York, I have had the fortune of performing with Musicals Tonight!, The Gallery Players, Westchester Broadway, and NYMF. New York has also put me in the good graces of organizations like The American Songbook Project (where I serve as treasurer and perform for school events and fundraisers) and The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts (where I employ my talents as an actor).
I have had the great pleasure of working with some of the best our industry has to offer including (but not limited to): Andrea Marcovicci, Robert Cuccioli, Victoria Clark, Teri Ralston, Paul Gordon, Joshua Finkle, and many more individuals whose contribution to the performing arts help keep it young, fresh and alive.
The ultimate goal being Broadway, I am creating a life and career in theatre and I hope to get just as much out of it as I am able to contribute.