Kenneth is the sweetest human ever, seriously one of the most kind hearted souls in NYC. We hit it off immediately and I fell in love with his story of persistence and determination that led him to The Great White Way. We also share a mutual love for PILATES, the ultimate Broadway core workout! Whether he’s talking about his workout regime or living the “audition audition audition” lifestyle, Kenneth exudes positive energy; the quintessential ingredient for living FIT FOR BROADWAY!
NOTE FROM KENNETH: Hi there! My name is Kenneth Michael Murray (and no, I am not related to Chad Michael Murray) I love Broadway and I just made my Broadway debut this past August in Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour! I am a recent graduate from Adelphi University where I received my B.F.A in Dance! Right after graduation I went on tour with Amy Marshall Dance Company where I got to travel and perform in Europe. When I returned I did a production of West Side Story and soon after that I found myself on stage at The Lyric Theatre. After Paramour takes its final bow on April 16th, I’ll be heading to St. Louis to do The Little Mermaid at The MUNY!
Q: Kenneth! You are such a positive light! I had such a blast spending the afternoon with you for your photoshoot and learning how you’ve created a Fit for Broadway lifestyle for yourself! Can we start from the beginning? What’s been the journey to Broadway?
A: You’re so sweet! Well I have been dancing ever since I was 5 years old and eventually pursued it through college at Adelphi University. Like I said, after graduation I went on tour with a modern dance company in Europe and when I returned, I just auditioned for anything and everything. No joke. I knew I wanted to do musical theatre and I was trying to be seen at as many auditions as possible. Being non-union at the time, I already knew it was going to be hard to be seen at these Equity Chorus Calls, so I tried to go to as many of them as possible. No lie, I was at almost every audition last season. I would wake up at 6am to get ready to catch a train to head into the city. I was commuting from all the way out east on Long Island, but I wanted to work so I was willing to get to these auditions early enough to put my name on the ‘unofficial list’ in hopes of being seen. Thankfully there were a handful of auditions where that was possible. Many of these calls had different casting agents in attendance and from those auditions, they were able to get know me as a performer. I believe that is ultimately how I got called in to audition for Paramour. I didn’t have an agent at the time, so I believe it was because Telsey + Company had seen me auditioning a lot during last year’s “season”. Regardless of how it happened, I’m glad I auditioned as much as I did. I’m beyond thankful to be where I am today.
Q: Perseverance was a huge theme in our conversation about your journey to Broadway. How has a positive outlook and attitude towards auditioning helped shape your journey?
A: Oh absolutely. In order to stay sane and not go crazy in this business you HAVE to know that sometimes the reason you didn’t get a certain job has nothing to do with your talent; Sometimes it is a matter of if you are 5’9 or 5’10 or if you have brown hair instead of blonde. When I first went on these auditions I would get a little upset because I would make it through all these cuts and what not and then hear nothing. What I tell my friends and myself is that if you make it to the end of a call that is already a HUGE accomplishment in its own. This business is tough and as long as you keep a positive outlook, you will be just fine. Stay in class, keep yourself happy and if you have the passion, determination, and commitment, you will succeed. Live in the moment and enjoy every second of it. Do NOT get discouraged.
Q: How have health and fitness been intertwined into your journey as a performer?
A: Well as a professional dancer, we have to stay physically fit and be as healthy as possible if we want to survive the 8 shows a week we do! So I am always taking class whenever I can. I’m a frequent at Steps on Broadway as well as Broadway Dance Center. If I happen to be in midtown for an audition, I’ll always try to take class afterwards. Class allows me to really work on my craft while doing it with my friends in a positive environment. I’ll go to the gym as well to get an extra dose of cardio in. But lately my schedule has been so nuts that I have to start getting my butt back there more frequently! I am a HUGE fan of Pilates. In college we took class every week and I now take it whenever possible. For me, there is no work out that makes my core as strong as Pilates does. I feel my best after every class and as a dancer, it helps with my technique big time. As for a diet, I just try to make sure I am eating the foods that are going to give me the most energy for the long days I have. Lots or protein, greens, and healthy carbs!
Q: Any other holistic practices to stay balanced as a performer?
A: Have an amazing support system! That definitely keeps me balanced as a performer. My best friend Jessica, my family, and other performers in this business have all been so wonderful throughout my entire journey thus far. If you have a great support system, it will keep you sane and you can do anything your heart desires.
Q: Top 3 tips for living FFB in NYC?
A: My top 3 tips would definitely drink a TON of water, wear comfortable sneakers when walking in the city, and challenge yourself to take a new class once a week! Whether it’s a dance class, a spin class, or a boxing class! Divulge in something that will challenge you physically.
Q: I’ve had a recent request from readers who are interested in knowing about your survival jobs pre-Broadway? Any advice for performers who are looking for part time work while auditioning?
A: The infamous question! Last year when I got back from tour, I was teaching a lot which is what most of my friends do. Being a babysitter, host, bartender, or a waiter are also very popular survival jobs for performers trying to make it in NYC. That type of schedule, for the most part, allows you to have your mornings to audition, take class, workout, or just do anything you need to do before you have to work that night.
Q: Can we play “My Week in Fitness!”?
A: My Fitness Week…
- Monday: I’ll wake up and do errands around the apartment, meal prep and plan my week!
- Tuesday: Take a dance class at Steps before show call!
- Wednesday: I’ll go to the gym with a buddy to get in a full body workout!
- Thursday: Pilates! Thursday is my day for Pilates. I always feel my best afterwards.
- Friday: I’ll most likely take another dance class and a voice lesson all before our 8pm show!
- Saturday & Sunday: Ill try to go to the gym in the morning before the show, but we always have two shows on Saturday and then two on Sunday so that is my workout for the weekend! 😉
Q: How does nutrition play a role in feeling your best for each Broadway show?
A: Nutrition definitely plays a big part. I can’t eat a huge meal before a show because then I feel just awful during the performance. Also as a growing young man, I try to really eat lots of pasta because that is what I find gives me the most energy for these 8 show weeks we have! I also try to make sure I drink lots of water to stay hydrated and eat a LOT of greens. If I feel like I am putting the right nutrients in my body before a show I feel amazing both mentally and physically!
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: Honestly, my best friend Jessica Paulson and my family. They have supported me since day 1 and are always there for me. They come and see everything I am in. Literally everything. Whether it has been a small benefit concert or my debut on Broadway in Paramour. I think my parents and Jessica have seen the show (Paramour) now about six or seven times! They’re my everything. I don’t know where I would be without them.
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring performers who have their sights set on Broadway?
A: My advice would be to never get discouraged! You’re going to hear a million NO’s or maybe hear nothing at all, before you get that one YES! This business can be tough, but do not let it get you down or prevent you from pursuing this as a career. Make sure you stay in class, take voice lessons when you can, hop in an acting class, and AUDITION. Go in for as many auditions that you think you’re right for to be seen by as many different casting agents as possible. That way they start to recognize you. Sometimes amazing opportunities have come my way from auditioning for jobs I did necessarily book. Don’t give up. Dreams come true I can promise you that!