Stephen Kennedy Murphy is the founding artistic director of Playwrights Theater of New York and O'Neill at Yale.
As moderator of The O'Neill Studio, Since 1998, Mr. Murphy has worked extensively with students and alumni of New York University and Yale University as well as leading NYC stage actors on O'Neill's plays. For The O'Neill Studio Forum, he hosted a lecture series with Jose Quintero, pre-eminent director of O'Neill, and evenings with Harvey Keitel, Paul Newman, Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson, Renee Fleming, Joanne Woodward and Juilliard President Joseph Polisi. He is the founder of The O'Neill Studio Retreat in Provincetown, Mass. and spearheaded a recent replication of it at Tao House, O'Neill's West Coast home in Danville, California, in collaboration with The O'Neill Foundation and The National Parks Service.
Actor Liam Neeson with Artistic Director Stephen Kennedy Murphy
As a director, Mr. Murphy staged the world premiers of two Eugene O'Neill plays, Bread and Butter and The Personal Equation, as well as extensive performances of O'Neill in New York and at Yale. These performances have featured Tony Award honorees Philip Bosco, Zoe Caldwell, Kathleen Chalfant, Ruby Dee, Charles Durning, Peter Gallagher, Julie Harris, Alison Janney, David Margulies, Brian Murray, Phyllis Newman, Marian Seldes, Harris Yulin and Frank Wood.
He has served on the directing staff of New York City Opera, the artistic staff of Playwrights Horizons and is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and of The Players Club on Gramercy Park, with whom The O'Neill Studio has forged an ongoing partnership.
As a writer he adapted Stravinsky's A Soldier's Tale for a performance he directed at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall for The Juillard School, where he worked for five years in the Juilliard Opera Center. For eight years he was playwright-in-residence in O'Neill's boyhood home, The Monte Cristo Cottage in New London, Connecticut. He is the author of The Eugene O'Neill Revue, a biographical concert about the women in O'Neill's life. The Revue, which also accompanies from the piano, been at Yale, Lincoln Center and performed annually in The O'Neill Festival. He is also the author of the plays Narrowback, Cantata and Don't Smoke in Bed, all of which have been presented in New York. He is the editor of The O'Neill Studio Anthology, a collection of plays by student and alumni from Yale. His prose has been published in The New Yorker.
He studied acting under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse and Frank Corsaro at The Actors Studio. He also apprenticed to Mr. Corsaro at The Juilliard School. He has studied O'Neill's plays with Arthur Gelb, former managing editor of The New York Times, who with his wife Barbara Gelb wrote the definitive O'Neill biography, O'Neill: Life With Monte Cristo, and was a key researcher for it.