BROADWAY ROSE’S DAN MURPHY, FOUNDING GENERAL MANAGER Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, 1992
While living in Queens, we found work doing summer stock theater, but in different states. The challenge of raising Megan while living hundreds of miles apart made it painfully clear that something had to change. We shared our dilemma with Matthew Ryan—a Tigard native who was also in Dreamcoat with us—and his partner, set and costume designer Joseph Morkys. The four of us decided to start a summer stock theater in Tigard. We got our nonprofit status in 1991 and later secured the Deb Fennell Auditorium as a space. Because we were so familiar with the show, we decided to open Broadway Rose in the summer of 1992 with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. That summer, we produced five shows in eight weeks…plus a children’s show!
We were actors first and artistic entrepreneurs second. I think we were able to happily plod along because we didn’t know any better. Ignorance is bliss. We had a beautiful facility and a creative group of people all heading toward the same goal. I think this first show exceeded our expectations simply because we really didn’t know what to expect; we just proceeded with what felt right and hoped for the best.
Financially, I think we expected that we would be more successful than we were. A $3,000 grant from the Metropolitan Arts Commission (a forerunner of the Regional Arts and Culture Council) helped our fledgling company get off the ground.
The biggest thing Sharon and I have probably learned over the years is to give up some control. There were so many years that we did everything ourselves, and we were small enough that we could manage.
Twenty-five seasons later, we’re a much larger company, and we’ve had to learn to let go of things. Even if something isn’t done the way we would have done it, it’s done, and we can move on. The smartest thing we can do is surround ourselves with really talented and passionate people.
The other night, Sharon and I had dinner plans, but we wanted to stop by the theater quickly to say hello to the band who was rehearsing together for the first time. The theater was booming with activity. The band was rehearsing while the set was being painted; people were working in the administrative office, and the sound designer was hanging speakers over the stage. As we pulled out of the parking lot, we realized how far we’ve come, being able to have a date night without feeling guilty. We’re still the same two people who started the company, and Broadway Rose still retains its approachability, enthusiasm, and passion. That has never wavered over all these years.