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Murray Journal

Murray High Theatre’s year includes “Joseph,” New York City tour

Oct 31, 2016 01:45PM ● By Julie Slama

Murray High theatre students, seen here taking a break during rehearsal, will perform “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Nov. 10-12 and again, Nov. 14 on the school’s stage. (Will Saxton/Murray High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Murray, Utah - This year, Murray High theatre students will not only perform on stage, but they’ll also take their talents to New York City where they will have workshops with actors and have a chance to see some Broadway shows.

The season kicks off with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which will provide the audience a new experience, Murray High theatre director Will Saxton said.

“It’s a fun, family-friendly show that we’ve never done before so our students are excited, but don’t expect it to be the same show you’ve seen before,” he said. “We’re doing something that is a new take on it; we’re thinking about it in a new way with some surprises for those who have seen it so many times.”

However, Saxton wouldn’t say exactly what those surprises are and encouraged people to come at 7 p.m., Nov. 10-12 and again on Nov. 14 at the Murray High auditorium, 5440 S. State St. Tickets in advance are $6 for students and $7 for adults or $8 at the door.

The 60-member cast, which includes elementary-age kids and the school’s Dance Company, auditioned this past May. It is lead by narrators senior Klarissa Woodmansee, junior Racheal Murdock, junior Emma Gilmore and sophomore Ashley Bates. Joseph is played by senior Truman Schipper and his father, Jacob, is junior Ben Stanford. Potiphar will be performed by junior Jordan Evans with his wife, Mrs. Potiphar, played by junior Cassie Lewis.

In addition to Saxton’s direction, the musical’s choreographer is Leesa Lloyd; the music director is Alan Scott; and the orchestra director is Zachary Giddings.

On Jan. 11-13, 2017, Murray High’s 9th annual Broadway Revue will be performed in the Little Theatre. Tickets will be $3.

“It’s a ‘Disney Goes Broadway’ approach as all our songs, which students will choose, will be from Disney shows. The students in the Theatre IV class will develop the show and choreograph it,” Saxton said.

The next show, “The Odd Couple,” will be performed in early spring — at 7 p.m., March 2-4, and again on March 6 in the Little Theatre.

“Neil Simon rewrote it for women so we will do the show with both male and female leads, alternating nights and using the same set. It’s the same play, but it gives all our students the opportunity to perform,” he said.

Then, on March 8, 2017, the school will host one-act performances by students at the regional level. 

“We have a great group of students so this opportunity to host will empower them to have students in charge, kids unloading the bus, setting up a timing on stage and learning how to manage the house and coordinating striking sets,” he said.

Before Murray High students take to the stage again, they will be joined by other performing art students on a New York City tour, March 30 through April 4, 2017.

“We’re still setting up our itinerary, but we’re making connections with some New York-based professionals to provide us workshops and seminars as well as see two or three Broadway shows and some sightseeing. We’d like to see Carnegie Hall as well and perform while they are there. It will be an amazing opportunity for our students to see firsthand the performing art talent in New York,” he said.

Quickly after their return, the theatre students will perform regional individual events on March 22, 2017 before state contests on April 20-22, 2017.

The students also will be in rehearsal to perform “Macbeth” on stage at 7 p.m., May 4-6, 2017. Before the show will be a green show that will include sonnets, scenes, monologues and improvisation.

“We’re planning a completely new take, something unusual that I think our audience will be intrigued by it,” he said. 

Throughout the year, SLAPP, the 16-member varsity improv team and 20-member junior varsity team, will perform in the Little Theatre. Upcoming shows will be at 7 p.m., Dec. 12, followed by 2017 dates of Jan, 26, Feb. 13, March 27, and May 26. They also will hold the 5th annual improv festival April 28. The team’s captain is senior Truman Schipper and vice captain, junior Jordan Evans.

Many of the students are part of the school’s drama club, which Saxton says is not only a student organization that supports the theatre department, but “a place where all students are welcome, support one another and belong.”

The theatre students’ last performance of the school year will be the student-directed one-act shows at 7 p.m., May 18-20, 2017 in the Little Theatre. About five or six different plays will be performed each night.