This series of musical vignettes is Stephen Kennedy Murphy's modern spin on Schubert's song-cycle The Miller's Daughter *, and follows a steel millworker's pursuit of his boss' "green-movement" daughter against the backdrop of the mill towns of Pennsylvania during a winter thaw. The Steel Miller's Daughter  features Schubert's classic music with Murphy's lyrics in this variation on the original story as seen through the lens of Global Warming.


The piece debuted as the focus of a recent Earth Day webinar sponsored by The New School led by 

Dr. Willi Semmler, a Climate Change specialist who fostered the creation of The Steel Miller’s Daughter.


Click External link opens in new tab or windowLink for Trailer (2 Minutes) 


Click External link opens in new tab or windowLink for Complete Video (49 Minutes)


The Steel Miller's Daughter
was first performed live at Salmagundi Arts Club on NYC's 5th Ave in September 2022.

It was last given on April 18, 2024 at The Henry George School of Social Science at 149 E.38th Street.



Synopsis: On an unseasonably warm winter day while looking for a job, a recently laid-off mill worker (sung by Murphy), encounters the daughter of the owner of a neighboring mill (sung by Natalie Tyson-Multhaup), where she is working as a receptionist. When she gives him an application, he becomes enraptured with her. 


He is hired and after a few initial rejections, she agrees to meet him for a lunch-hour picnic. Rain disrupts their tryst and develops into an unseasonal occurrence: a  winter hurricane.


The lovesick millworker takes the storm as a sign from Nature that the girl returns his love, but she takes it as evidence of Climate Change, which he believes to be a hoax.


Nature takes its revenge in a concluding series of musical scenes during which apocalyptic weather makes him realize that the girl's love for him was completely imagined and that Climate Change is real.


* Die Schoene Muellerin 


PRAISE FOR THE STEEL MILLER’S DAUGHTER

 

Stephen Kennedy Murphy's Media Musicale is impressive!! I love the choice of using Schubert's music combined with such clever lyrics to underline our 'Changing Climate' challenge ... Bravo !!!

 

Michael Best, Principal Artist, The Metropolitan Opera

 

 

Fascinating- and unlike anything you've heard- or seen. The musical "bones" of a Schubert song cycle with contemporary, incisive and witty text set to it- and gorgeously sung by- the multi-talented Stephen Kennedy Murphy.... joined exquisitely by the winsome Natalie Tyson-Multaup.

 

It is at once a searing invective on the devastation being wrought by climate change- and a tender love story filled with aching yearning and unrequited longing... A feast of visual images guides us through it all - clarifying and illuminating without seeming redundant. Sumptuous!

 

Brian Sutherland, Veteran Broadway Performer

 

 

An audacious story set to the sublime Shubert melodies. The agenda of climate change and environmental awareness is of this moment, to say the least.. Add to these a touching romantic tale and you have work filled with lyricism and surprises all told in contemporary American English.

 

Steve Ross (“NY’s Crown Prince of Cabaret” – NY Times)

 

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This work is astonishing! Profound, timely, scary funny. It intersects with the original text (green! love!) but goes its own way with integrity toward the most touching end, the permanent if corroding sculptures weeping in fear of the no-green future. May the work have a brilliant future!

 

Patricia Willis, Former Curator,

American Literature Collection,

Yale University Beinecke Library

 

 

This is brilliant!! Beautiful and highly imaginative. Wonderfully imaginative and emotionally wrenching, what a wonderful antidote to the siren song of our times.


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David Kristjanson-Gural

Professor of Economics, Bucknell University