Achievement in Liberal Arts – Reunion 2009

When Kevin Murphy graduated magna cum laude from Drew with honors in Theatre Arts, people in The Forest thought he was a creative young man who would do well.  His two musicals had been produced on Drew’s mainstage, and he had written two television scripts.  Drew was right—he has expanded upon his College theatre experience with great success.  And Kevin is especially grateful to Drew because he has continued to work with two classmates:  his television writing partner, Ed Ferrara C’89, and his musical theatre partner, Dan Studney C’89.

Kevin spent nine months waiting tables in Los Angeles before he landed his first television staff writing job.  Since then, he has spent 19 years as a writer/producer of television series and TV movies.  He was co-executive producer and head writer for the first three seasons of the smash hit “Desperate Housewives,” which won two Golden Globes, an Emmy nomination, a People’s Choice Award, and a Satellite Award, all for Best Comedy; Kevin’s individual contributions were singled out with a Prism Award and two consecutive Writers Guild Award nominations for television comedy script of the year.  He co-created the syndicated TV version of Disney’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and the CW’s “Valentine,” and his credits also include the CW’s “Reaper,” NBC’s “Ed,” “Get Real,” “Jack & Jill,” “Weird Science,” “So Weird,” “Dennis the Menace,” and a revival of the “Munsters” TV franchise for Fox.

Much as he enjoys writing for television, Kevin’s first love is musical theatre.  In 1998 he and Dan Studney co-wrote the book and provided lyrics for a musical adaptation of the 1936 movie Reefer Madness.  Kevin and Dan produced Reefer Madness: The Musical in Los Angeles in 1999 and off-Broadway in New York two years later, and also produced a film version for Showtime.  The stage productions have won five Ovation Awards, seven Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, seven Garland Awards, the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical, and a Drama Desk nomination for lyrics.  The film version, which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Festival, won two Satellite Awards, was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards (winning in the category of Outstanding Music and Lyrics), and won the Audience Award at the Deauville Festival.  He is currently workshopping two new stage musicals:  an adaptation of the beloved comic strip “Dennis the Menace,” and an adaptation of the seminal 1989 black comedy “Heathers.”

Kevin was awarded an honorary degree by Drew in 2006.  He and his wife Noreen, a television producer, live in Los Angeles with their 21-month-old son, Carter.