We are proud to announce Eva Murray as this week’s Campus Celebrity! Eva is a fascinating and very involved freshman here at Conn! Between singing in an a cappella group, participating in the Emerging Leaders Program, and performing in Conn’s production of “On the Town,” she is definitely making the most of her first year on campus. We have the scoop on all things Eva and everyone should see this beauty perform in Conn’s Production of “On the Town!”
Hometown: Dedham, MA
Double Major: Gender and Women’s Studies and Theater
Extracurricular Activities: Vox Cameli (A Capella), S.O.A.R., Emerging Leaders Program, Theater Programs
Can you give us synopses on the upcoming musical and tell us about the role are you playing?
The show is called “On the Town.” It is a Golden Age (1940s-1960’s) musical set in New York City during WWII. Three sailors are on leave for a day from the Navy and the musical looks into the lives of the people that they encounter and the connections that they make during their 24 hours in NYC (particularly romantic relationships with three women). I play three characters. The first is Madame Dilly, Ivy Smith’s (one of the three women) assertive and dedicated vocal coach who is a feminist mentor who has a strong understanding of the sacrifices made to be a woman in the workforce through her own experience (FUN FACT!! SHE WEARS A TURBAN!). The second is a “Little Old Lady” who is appalled by the young sailor’s disregard to the rules on a subway. The last is a rich, older woman who gets caught up in the exciting night-life in Times Square.
We have heard you have a killer voice, where or who do you get your musical inspiration from?
First of all, thank you so much – that’s really, really sweet. I think that music is just something that everyone can relate to (that common language idea). I need music to get me through a day. It has a power that not many other things have and it has a beautiful way of bringing people together. I’m inspired to sing because of how much I value music in my life; it’s SUPER fun and it makes me feel so satisfied as a way of self-expression. Honestly, I think it’s a shame if people don’t take the time to sing with and without people around them. We all got vocal chords – USE ‘EM.
If you could have dinner with three (alive) celebrities who would they be and why?
Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence and Oprah. Beyoncé: We have a undeniable spiritual connection (she understands me and I understand her), and I really just want to be her friend. Jennifer Lawrence: Because she’s CRAAAZY, and I love people that genuinely say whatever they want and have “no filter” (respectively). You never know what to expect, and she seems so relatable. Also, I got the chills at the “Silver Linings Playbook” café scene during the trailer. She’s a unbelievably brilliant and vulnerable actress. Oprah: It would be wonderful to have dinner with someone who has had such an impact on how I see the world and myself. She has influenced how I live every day, and I have led such a more fulfilling, aware, and purposeful life because of her work as a straight up legend. Also, like, WHAT does Oprah talk about at the dinner table? I feel like I would have so many “A-ha” moments and be so enlightened in that conversation. I also would love to hear her say Evaaaa MURRRAAAAAY!!!
What is your favorite thing about Conn?
Well, from my extensive 4 months as a Camel, I have found that people at Conn are so engaged and aware. They do what they love, and they own it. They are extremely genuine and respectful people, making efforts to say hi and get to know one another in a casual, down-to-earth way.
When did you first become interested in theater? What was your first role?
My mom thought that I needed therapy because I liked to live in these extensive, fantasy worlds as a kid more than I actually liked to be present in my real life. So, she thought that theater would be a good fit for me. But, in 7th or 8th grade, I first got really interested in the sense that I knew that it was something that I really wanted to commit myself to doing. In the same way that I feel about music, I have always been deeply touched, affected, and inspired by theater, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that because I had witnessed first hand the impact and power that it can have on people. It’s such an outlet for me to express myself and make me feel like I’m a part of something. My first role was in first grade when we did an adaptation of “Make Way for Ducklings” and I played a “Little Girl on a Scooter.”
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I think that I would change the way that we think about difference. We see difference as separation, causing fear and walls to be put up. But, if we take the time to understand ourselves and our identity (including how we are socialized to think about ourselves and others around us), we can be more aware of who we truly are and who we want to be (what makes us happy and what we can offer to the world and to ourselves). If you understand yourself, then it makes it so much easier to understand and empathize with the people around you. Then, difference is just a given and a necessity that we can all bond over.
What is your spirit animal?
Wild Dog ‘cause that’s what the Spirit Animal quiz told me.
Thanks for this great interview Eva, and good luck with your performance! We can’t wait to see On the Town!!