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From Sandusky to big stage

Alissa Widman Neese • Jul 22, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Several years ago, you might have spotted Tim Murray prowling around as a wolf man at HalloWeekends shows at Cedar Point.


Today, if you search for the Sandusky native on YouTube, it looks as if little has changed — except now he’s playing the part alongside Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx.


Tim, a budding New York City actor and a 2006 Sandusky High School graduate, has celebrated a slew of career-building experiences in just a few short months.


In June, Tim starred in an MTV promotional ad for recent film “White House Down” alongside two prominent celebrities. He played the title character from the MTV series “Teen Wolf” in the comical two-minute skit, which was featured on TV.


Tim’s first play, “The Connector,” will premiere Aug. 18 at the Theater for the New City in downtown New York City. The three-week Off-Broadway festival will feature 24 pieces, mostly plays, which tell stories in an interesting or different way. It typically showcases new work from local artists, according to its website.


“It’s exciting and scary, but mostly exciting,” Tim said. “I’m ready to get this message out there.”


“The Connector” tells the tale of a man who charms his way from person to person with superficial relationships, Tim said. He stars as its main character, Levi, who has dozens of “friends,” but has never made a real connection with anyone — including himself.


“He never uses the word ‘love,” Tim said. “He’s afraid of it. He spends most of the play blaming everyone else for being unable to connect to him, but as it goes on, he realizes it’s just as much his fault for not giving as much as he wants to receive.”


A train ride to Sandusky and casual conversation among strangers prompted Tim’s idea for the play. 


Susan Murray, Tim’s mother, recalled several other ways she believes growing up in Sandusky has impacted her son’s work. She cited several valuable opportunities in acting, music and entertainment  available at Sandusky High School, the Sandusky State Theatre, Harlequin’s Community Theatre and Cedar Point. She and Tim’s father, John, also took Tim and his siblings, Leslie and John Jr., to plays in Cleveland.


“When he was in high school, that’s when it really clicked,” she said. “Even though this is small town, we have so much opportunity and exposure, both in the area and nearby.”


Tim has even called on a 2004 Perkins High School graduate, Timothy Koch, to direct “The Connector.” Koch was assistant director when Tim starred in a 2005 production of “Godspell.” He has been working as an associate director on Broadway and in London and recently returned to New York City.


When Tim approached him about directing the play, Koch said his answer was a no-brainer.


“It was perfect timing, really, and it’s been a blast,” Koch said. “He’s funny, talented and hard-working, and when you see those qualities in someone, you know they’re going to go far. We were so much younger when we met, though, that I don’t think any of us knew what we were capable of doing. Now here we are hashing out this play.”


Since graduating from the University of Miami in 2010, Murray has landed several acting gigs, including the MTV ad, and has also produced his own web series, “Non-Equity Dinner Theatre Spotted,” a spoof of “Broadway Spotted” aimed at members of the theatre community. He continues to write his own work and waits tables at a downtown restaurant.


It’s usually difficult to find free time, but Murray doesn’t mind. He knows the hard work will pay off, even if he isn’t entirely certain where it will take him.


“People ask me what my dream job is, and I always say ‘whatever I can do to support me without waiting tables,’” Murray joked. “But really I just want to be a part of the artistic world in any way I can, no matter what the medium. I’m going to go wherever the work takes me and wherever a story needs to be told.”


Murray's appearance in an MTV promotional ad with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx:


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