Marietta actor entertains audiences in science-filled children’s performance
by Kathy Goldsberry
February 18, 2013 11:29 PM | 2953 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Allison Murphy sings and acts as Morpha Butterfly during a scene in ‘Mighty Bug’ at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. <br> Special to the MDJ
Allison Murphy sings and acts as Morpha Butterfly during a scene in ‘Mighty Bug’ at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.
Special to the MDJ
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Murphy played the kazoo-playing Patootie, left, in ‘Aesop’s Fables’ last year at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
Murphy played the kazoo-playing Patootie, left, in ‘Aesop’s Fables’ last year at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
slideshow
comic-book style action/adventure story of 'Mighty Bug' is about a superhero insect who watches over and protects the residents of Bugville.
comic-book style action/adventure story of 'Mighty Bug' is about a superhero insect who watches over and protects the residents of Bugville.
slideshow
Allison Murphy has the audience buzzing as she sings “I’m Buggy ’Bout You,” onstage at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. The Marietta resident plays Morpha Butterfly in the center’s performance of “Mighty Bug,” playing through March 17.

Laughs, gasps and cries of “Ewwwww!” from children fill the theater during the comic-book style action/adventure story about a superhero insect who watches over and protects the residents of Bugville.

“This show looks like a comic book. That’s the whole feel of the show is kind of this action-adventure plotline,” Murphy said. “The kids are just having a great time — cheering for Mighty Bug, booing the evil villain. It’s got such an action component to it.”

As Mighty Bug visits and helps the residents of Bugville, children in the audience learn about insect habitats, environments, insect anatomy and abilities. Scorpiana, an evil arachnid, enlists the help of a bear, a bird, a bat and an anteater to attack the town. Mighty Bug springs into action with the help of Murphy’s character.

Morpha Butterfly is a body puppet — or a costumed character — but Murphy also works behind a large screen with four other puppeteers to create shadow puppets and projections.

“Everybody’s busy the entire show. Of course Mighty Bug is the star, but all five of us are very busy the entire time,” Murphy said. “We’re pretty much an ensemble.”

The costumed characters interact with puppets projected onto a screen from backstage, creating a lively and unique experience for children and adults. After the performance, the actors and puppeteers explain how the show is created with lights, shadow scenery and the screen.

Murphy owns a studio in Marietta called Atlanta Voice and Stage, located at her home between Austell Road and Powder Springs Road. She helps performers polish their voice, acting and speech.

“I work with a lot of teens who are trying to audition for theater, musical theater or bands,” she said. “And then I also work with adults that have to make a lot of presentations, business-wise. So I help them kind of clean up their speech — if they have accents or if they have some fears of public speaking.”

Murphy has entertained in Marietta at the now-defunct Theatre on the Square in “How I Became A Pirate,” and Stage Door with “Hot n’ Cole” and “Master Class.” She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting from Stephens College in Missouri and a Master of Music in musical theater from Boston Conservatory. Murphy came to Atlanta from Boston after she landed a gig at the Center for Puppetry Arts in “The Velveteen Rabbit” in 2006. She has called Marietta home since 2008.

While the talented actor and puppeteer has entertained spectators of all ages, children are her favorite.

“It’s definitely great to perform for adults, too. But kids — they put it all out there. If they don’t like it, you’ll know it. … They’re cheering for Mighty Bug every time he comes onstage. Sometimes, I almost have to stifle a laugh,” Murphy said.

“I like the kids. They’re the best audience you can ask for. … It’s really fun to hear their reactions.”

The science-filled show appeals to a wide audience of children and even has a few jokes thrown in for adults.

“I would have liked this show as a kid,” Murphy said. “There’s singing and dancing and romance and action/adventure. So there’s something for pretty much everyone.”

“Mighty Bug” is recommended for children ages 4 and older. Showtimes are Tuesday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Saturday at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at tickets

@puppet.org or at the center. Call (404) 873-3391 for more information.

For voice and acting lessons with Murphy, email lessons@atlantavoice

andstage.com or call (770) 485-6486. Lessons are available for those 10 and older.

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