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Murray Journal

Murray High thespians plan for Broadway—on their stage and in NYC

Oct 04, 2021 01:47PM ● By Julie Slama

Murray High drama club supports theatre productions, performs service and holds socials amongst other activities during the school year. (Will Saxton/Murray High)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Bright lights, glitz and all that goes with it is in the plans for Murray High thespians as they plan to put on the Broadway blockbuster “Oklahoma” in November before traveling to New York City to see Broadway shows in March.

“We’re already deep in rehearsals,” Murray High theatre director Will Saxton said in September. “It’s ageless, one of the shows that has made a place in American musical theater history.”

“Oklahoma” first piloted as “Away We Go” in Connecticut to not so favorable reviews. A little bit of modifications, and the first collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II opened in the 1940s with a Broadway record 2,212 performances before closing five years later.

“It’s a point in American musical theater history where they initiated change. They wrote the words, then composed the music. The songs move the story along. It was revolutionary and was only seen in operas or operettas before this point,” Saxton said.

With a few changes to modernize the “very old fashioned, little cheesy” script and to make it less offensive today, Saxton said the directors voted to produce “Oklahoma” over six other possibilities. 

“We picked one that was recognizable, but also one we had the right group of kids for,” he said.

The show is slated for 7 p.m., Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 15. Ticket cost $9 and are available at or at the door.

However, before the students take to their stage, they will head to Cedar City to perform at the 45th annual high school Shakespeare Festival. New this year was submitting monologues and scenes by Sept. 18, then finalists perform in-person. Ensembles, such as Murray’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” also were to be performed in-person during the festival, Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

In January, students will put on an all-acoustic show, “Café Broadway II,” in their Little Theatre. Along with seeing the performance, patrons will be served hot chocolate and pastries. The show will be at 7 p.m., Jan. 12-14, 2022; tickets are $5 online and at the door.

In the spring, students will perform the world debut of the science-fiction production, “Corralis.” Written by Murray High senior Morgan Champine, the show promises to be a thriller in the style of “Star Trek,” and will include space travel, robots and lasers, said Saxton, who is co-directing it with Champine.

“Corralis” will be performed on the auditorium stage at 7 p.m., March 10-12 and March 14, 2022.

Also in March, the students will perform in region competition. State contests are in April.

Students will be given the opportunity to go to New York City in late March during their spring break to see three Broadway shows, attend two theater workshops and sightsee during their spring break.

“We want to give the students the opportunity to see Broadway musicals and take workshops. We’ll do one acting workshop and one Q&A with a performer so they can learn what it’s like to be on Broadway,” Saxton said.

They return to perform “Hamlet” at 7 p.m., May 4-6 as well as student-directed one-act plays, May 19-21, 2022.

Throughout the school year, Murray High’s SLAAP improvisation team will put on five shows, beginning in October. Tickets, available online and at the door, are $3.