Quick Q&A with Nancy Murray

Bill Murray’s sister—a nun with a habit of cracking jokes—comes to the Marian University Theatre on September 16 to perform her one-woman play, Catherine of Siena.
For those who haven’t seen the show on your previous visits, can you summarize the plot?
It’s about Saint Catherine, a sassy 14th-century Italian woman with a magnetic personality. Despite being a female and uneducated, she became a powerful voice for the poor.

You’ve performed it almost 800 times on five continents since 2001. Do you have groupies at this point? 
Mostly students at Regina Dominican High School [where Nancy attended and taught]. I also have Bill Murray groupies who hand me plays they ask me to give Billy. They always have roles for him. One had a nun character for me.

Speaking of requests, what do you ask for on tour? 
A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a cup of coffee, and an orange during intermission for energy.

What are your favorite Bill Murray movies? 
I like Meatballs because it reminds me of my father. I love the transformation in Groundhog Day. Scrooged is a favorite because four of my brothers are in it. But The Razor’s Edge might be at the top. It’s a powerful film that speaks to our time.

What was it like growing up Murray? 
Dad was a lumber salesman and mom stayed home. There are nine kids. Bill, “the middle child,” was number five.

Did he live up to that billing?  
Even as a kid, he had great influence at the dinner table. It was the entertainment we could afford.

Were you all involved in theater at a young age? 
Yes, we had a thing called Basement Productions. Our first show was the Nativity scene. Billy was Joseph and I was Mary. Billy went off script and gave Joseph more dialogue than scripture ever had. He’d comment on the donkey or whatever. I was mad because he was upstaging Jesus.

How did the Murrays get to be so funny? 
I think it’s just in our blood. We have Irish relatives on both sides of the family. Everyone would try to outdo one another, and they still do.

Has Bill seen your show?
Yeah, he has seen it a couple times. He liked it, but said I needed to cut it by 10 minutes. When I asked what to cut, he said, “not that sweet part. You’ll know where.”