Sure, everyone’s heard of the popular social media hashtag #SundayFunday, but thanks to Megan Murphy Chambers and her debut cabaret event simply, but perfectly titled FUN, this Monday is sure to see a new hashtag trending as she and a few talented guest stars take to the stage of the historic 1925 Auditorium at Belcourt Theatre (2102 Belcourt Ave, Nashville) at 7:30 p.m. on April 23 for what is guaranteed to be a #MondayFUNday.
A few days ago, Megan took time from putting the finishing touches on her not-so one-woman-show to chat with me about FUN for the latest conversation to be featured in my recurring interview, Rapid Fire 20 Q. I have to admit, this was indeed THE most fun interview I’ve ever had the pleasure of conducting. What’s more, we incorporated some actual Rapid Fire questions within our chat.
RAPID FIRE 20 Q WITH MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS
JP: As your press release states..”Megan Murphy Chamber is FUN”…Anyone who has ever spent even five second in your presence knows that to be true, but I gotta know. What were some of the rejected titles for your upcoming show at Belcourt on April 23?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Let’s see, I could have called it… “8 Drink Minimum”, “One Scientologist’s Story”, “Just Like ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Except Super R-Rated”…
JP: How did the idea to do this one-night-only event come to be?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: I’ve always loved cabaret, and have felt increasingly drawn to the challenge of doing something like this. And after a minor epiphany I had last year about how I wanted to approach it, I finally bit the bullet and booked a date. So it’s been a combination of a long accumulation of ideas and a sudden, unscratchable itch.
JP: When planning the show, did you ever consider doing it strictly as a one-woman show?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Yes, but yawn. Both for the audience and for me. So while FUN is mostly me, it’s got a fabulous smattering of guest stars, all of whom are just brilliant. Which is the other main reason – I know too many incredibly talented people to not take every opportunity to work and play with them.
JP: Of that fabulous smattering, I understand there’ll be a MAS reunion during your show. When was the last time you girls all performed onstage together?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Almost exactly 1 year ago, which is too fucking long. I was beside myself when I realized they were all free, and frankly they were the first people I talked to when it came time to start making plans. Because there is no way I would miss a chance to be in the same room with those girls, laughing my ass off.
JP: Having previously performed at The Belcourt with your pals in MAS, was it a given when you decided to do this show that you hoped to present it there?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: They were for sure my first choice – I love the vibe, the staff is lovely, it’s a great size, I feel comfortable there, and we can all DRINK.
JP: Part cabaret, part stand-up, party parody are among the descriptors for your show. Those ideals put me in mind of the plethora of star-studded music/variety TV specials of my youth starring everyone from Lynda Carter to Jim Nabors. While you’re likely not old enough to remember any of those first-run, is there a TV special or stage show that inspired FUN?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: I love all those old specials, and feel inspired by their general joie de vivre – they existed purely for entertainment purposes. I am ABOUT THAT. I am about providing some escapism and a simple good time and an excuse to enjoy yourself. That’s it. No lessons, no angst. I love watching Liza tell kooky, name-droppy stories between songs in Liza With a Z, I love watching Bridget Everett go so fearlessly balls-out in her sequins and no bra, I love Bette Midler‘s mermaid tail and dirty mouth. They make me smile and they make me feel brave.
JP: Speaking of star-studded, in addition to the aforementioned MAS reunion, you’ve got an additional guest or two in store, right?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Hell yes. I want a chance to interact on stage during FUN, and I want to give myself a second to have the focus shift as well. Which is a dumbass thing to say when you’re self-producing a one-woman show, but that’s just the truth 🙂
JP: Among your other guests, you’ve got Aleta Myles. Any chance we get to see her hilarious Judith character?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: No Judith (although I’m obsessed with her as well). Instead, I’m exploiting Aleta’s HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL voice and unstoppable charisma.
JP: What’s been the most challenging aspect of pulling this show together?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Only being accountable to myself (in terms of preparation). I’m used to having a voice in the back of my mind reminding me that my castmates and director and stage manager are counting on me and relying upon my work; rehearsing with only yourself is a different story. So it’s been an interesting process, involving a lot of self-discipline and time alone.
JP: One of your promo shots features you holding a message board that reads: “Jokes-Friends-Booze-Songs-Profanity”. Which of these can you absolutely not live without?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Brutal question, Jonathan. Brutal. In order of importance, I would rank them: Friends, Jokes, Profanity, Songs, Booze. At least today. Ask me again at 7:29 on Monday night and I’ll say BOOZE BOOZE BOOZE JESUS CHRIST WHAT HAVE I DONE BOOZE.
JP: OK, that message board pic has inspired me to do an actual Rapid Fire. For the next few questions, I’ll repeat one of the words and you reply with your earliest memory of that subject, what it makes you think of, a favorite, or just the first thing that pops into your mind…
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Getting laid in college after singing Total Eclipse of the Heart at BJ’s Karaoke Bar and dedicating it to this bespectacled cutie stranger. #success
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: My love language.
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: My love second language.
JP: As for Booze, should an adoring fan wish to send a cocktail or shot your way during the show, what’s your favorite libation?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: I love a fizzy drink – anything in the champagne/prosecco family is a favorite, as are classic G&Ts and Palomas.
JP: You’ve also got Geoff Davin. Any hint as to what you two will be performing?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Remember how Donnie and Marie were a little bit country, and a little bit rock and roll? Geoff and I will be a little bit cunty, and a little bit gospel.
JP: OMG! Hahaha. I just love you. Is there a song you’ve included in this show that you’re particularly excited to share with your audience?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: I’m psyched about my set list, top to bottom, but do have some favorites that I think we be unexpected fun for the audience. We’re covering a lot of genres, but I might be most excited about the closing numbers for both acts.
JP: For your backing band, you’ve assembled quite the dynamic quartet of Anthony Matula, Jason Tucker, Lindsey Miller and Chris Donohue. How has it been working with these four for this particular show?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Predictably, a dream. They’re bananas talented, but that’s the just the basics. They’re also totally game, thoroughly prepared, and super easy to work with. I adore all of them, and truly feel like the night can’t be a fail with them on the stage with me. They’re SO SO GOOD. And so so loving, also. I’m lucky.
JP: If you could have one celebrity guest from the heyday of TV variety shows, who would it be and why?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Gal: Carol Burnett, because she is the gold goddamn standard. Guy: Dean Martin, because cutting up while carrying a rocks glass with him would be nirvana.
JP: YES! and YES! Carol and Dean…further evidence why I’ve considered you one of my first theatre crushes from the first time I saw you on stage. OK, If you could guarantee one thing about your night of FUN, what would it be?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: That for two acts, I achieve my aim of having that room feel like the best party in the world.
JP: If fun is the success I KNOW it’s gonna be, can we count on future FUN-related returns?
MEGAN MURPHY CHAMBERS: Thank you for your vote of confidence – it really does mean the world to me. I hope to do more, but right now I’m reserving judgment until I find out whether or not I like doing this solo thing. But I think it’s gonna be a blast, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that the nice people who decide to join me on the 23rd will feel the same way!
My chat with Megan may have come to a close with that last question, but the FUN is just about to begin. Tickets to Megan Murphy Chambers is FUN at Belcourt Theatre’s 1925 Auditorium are $20/General Admission. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Click Here for tickets or more information. Want in on the FUN a little early? Follow Megan on Instagram.
If you enjoyed this latest installment of Rapid Fire 20 Q, Click Here to check out previous conversations with Nashville and Broadway’s most talented folks. Be sure and subscribe to Nashville Arts Critic by entering your email address in the “Subscribe” section to the right of this article. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumbler.