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Provincetown :: Sunday, October 26th 2014

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Interview with Rick Murray


June 6th, 2012

Full-time resident and entrepreneur Rick Murray is the President and General Manager of the Crown & Anchor. His venue, owned with partner William Dougal, has Provincetown’s largest nightclub, world class entertainment, offers lovely accommodations and provides fine dining year round, right in the heart of town. I have always been curious to find out more about this man who wears many hats.

''Lily Tomlin and Kate Clinton are great friends. Bill and I are honored to have had them associated with the Crown.''

1. What brought you to Provincetown?

During the 80’s, I used to stay at Peter Boyle’s complex, Delft Haven, in the West End with Kitty Cakely, Arlene, Danny Mullen, Peter, Al Columbro; all the high society Boston queens in the old “hay-days”. Everyone is now deceased, except the two Holy Cross guys, me and Danny!

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Bill, the owner of Caldwell Banker/Pat Shultz Real Estate, and I bought our first piece of property here in 1986. We knew that we wanted to settle in Provincetown. Then, Bill and I purchased a West End property in 1989, now our home since 1995.

2. What background did you bring to one of Provincetown’s spiciest venues?

Bill and I had absolutely no experience in the hospitality industry when we bought a hotel with two stages, six bars and a restaurant on April 1st, 2001! I had sold my dental practice in my hometown of Medford and Bill accepted a “golden” parachute from Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University Medical School for his 25 years as V.P. of Medical Staff Affairs. Originally, we had three other partners [at the Crown], but bought them out after the first year. Bill and I tend to be more successful as a duo!!

Hard work, common sense and some good luck have turned the Crown back into an important part of the entertainment, dining and club scene in P-town.

3. On February 10th, 1998, the Whaler’s Wharf fire destroyed the Crown & Anchor. Were you there?

That night, I remember standing right outside Front Street, watching the fire. The heat was so intense that we all moved to the beach and witnessed Whaler’s Wharf and the Crown burn to the ground. It was due to the heroic job of our volunteer Fire Department that the whole town did not go down in flames.

4. Your entertainment is legendary, with Ryan Landry’s Gold Dust Orphans, Illusions and other top acts. Has the Crown always been the “the place” to go for a great night out?

Big Ed was here; Sahdji , Tisch, Billie Jean et al, Roslyn Kind, and Ms. Streisand’s sister all performed on our stages. Lily Tomlin and Kate Clinton are great friends. Bill and I are honored to have had them associated with the Crown. Betty Buckley, the Tony award winning actress from “Cats”, has performed here, as well as Emmy Award winning actor Leslie Jordon and so many more. And, the fabulous Sandra Bernhard returns Labor Day weekend.

5. What trends are you seeing with Provincetown’s tourists?

I see some great promising trends with a younger demographic visiting here. I hope that we can continue to attract that “edgy” group of men and women; gay or straight, it doesn’t matter to me! The winter and shoulder seasons have slipped a bit in the eight long years of Bush, so it’s going to take a good five years to turn people’s spending habits and earning potential around.

6. And you own a gym as well. What inspired that venture?

Mussel Beach Health Club was a brand new opportunity for me and Bill. We started in 1992 at the old A& P shopping center. It was so successful that we needed a bigger space and negotiated the purchase of the run-down Bonnie Doone restaurant, an abandoned eyesore on Bradford Street. Bill and I persevered through the resistance to “change” from some folks, and now offer one of the few year-round local businesses open 365 days a year!!

We knew that the Provincetown needed a first-class health club. The response from locals and tourists alike, with their bikes lined up outside from May through October, is thrilling.

7. Rick, what do you do to relax and restore?

I really haven’t had time to relax and restore in town. For the past eight Decembers, Bill and I have vacationed in St. John, USVI, for three weeks of sleeping, reading books and relaxing with friends, a get-away from all the madness of running three businesses in Provincetown. Hopefully, we’ll get to travel more in the future!!

It was a pleasure to spend time with one of Provincetown’s movers and shakers.

Laura Shabott, a curious Gemini, loves to find out more about the people that she admires in her beloved home, Provincetown. She is a graduate of SMFA, Boston.






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