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The City Journals

‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’ ‘Xanadu’ spring productions at Murray high schools

May 07, 2018 04:27PM ● By Julie Slama

MHSXanadu01: Murray High’s Cassidy Lewis and James Longhurst will star as Kira and Sonny in the upcoming production of “Xanadu.” (Will Saxton/Murray High)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

It’s been a season of devised theatre at Cottonwood High School and the spring show, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” doesn’t stray from the theme, director Adam Wilkins said.

Likewise, Murray High has committed to a season of musicals and “Xanadu,” complete with roller skating, will give patrons a fun, upbeat spring show, director Will Saxton said.

For theatre-goers, the spring shows are on different dates allowing patrons to attend both. Cottonwood’s “Peter and the Starcatcher” will be performed at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 2 through Saturday, May 5 and again, on Monday, May 7, in the school’s Black Box Theatre, 5715 S. 1300 East, Murray. Tickets are $7 online at the school’s website,, or $8 at the door.

Murray High’s “Xanadu” will be performed at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 10 through May 12 in the school’s Little Theatre, 5440 S. State St. Tickets will be sold for $5 at the door.

“‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is the backstory of the characters of ‘Peter Pan’ where Peter is immersed in every sense of play,” Wilkins said. “His adult make-believe world is really cool as he is discovering in the moment.”

Likewise, the set also become moments of discovery and devised theatre as rope could become windows, doors or ladders, Wilkins said. 

Cottonwood students used devised theatre in their recent production of “Animal Farm” and “Triangle,” a play that explored the shirtwaist factory fire of 1911, which they performed and placed second in their region competition.


“We had students use their imagination. If they believe it, they’ll see it and they’ll realize it. This is giving them new experiences and gets them back to the roots of theatre,” he said.

The 25-member cast includes lead actors junior Andrew Sollis[LL1]  as Boy; junior Nathalia Alvarez as Molly; and senior Sophia Morrill as Back Stache. The assistant director is Maddey Howell.

“It’s a great way to end the year and it’s a show that everyone will find something in it. I always choose plays with a message and the message with ‘Peter’ is that of friendship and trust. I want my students to become the heroes that they may not have expected and to be the change in the world they want to see. Theatre is the great of all art forms and they need to develop empathy as an actor. Once they do that, it will not only make them better actors, but better people.”

Next year’s Cottonwood season will include “Curtains,” “See How They Run,” and “Into the Woods.” 

At Murray High, Saxton selected “Xanadu” as a fun musical the students could put on within their six-week time frame.

“We’re doing it a little different this time and we’ll have the audience on the floor and staging three-fourth of the way around so the actors can roller skate around them,” he said, adding that there will not be an intermission. “It’s allowing us to be creative for other stage opportunities.” 

While not every one of the 24-member cast has expert skating abilities, Saxton revealed his secret as an accomplished long-time skater and as a child, went skating every Saturday. Together with experienced skaters in the cast, they’ve been bringing the others up to speed. 

Lead actors include senior Cassidy Lewis as Kira; senior Ben Sanford as Danny and sophomore James Longhurst as Sonny. Klarissa Woodmansee is the musical director.

“The musical is a spoof of the movie that flopped. It makes fun of it rather than taking it seriously. It shows how cheesy that 1980’s movie was and there are lots of jokes about it. It’s hilarious,” Saxton said, adding that some people who worked on the movie set actually helped with the stage play.

The cast’s performance comes after their February region performance where 12 scenes received superior ratings and every student qualified and plan to compete at state Saturday, April 21.

Murray High’s final season performances will be 18 different short plays lasting about 20 minutes or less with four or fewer characters, Saxton said. Six plays will be performed each night at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 24 through May 26 in the school’s Little Theatre. Tickets at the door will be $3.






 [LL1]Is it Follis or Sollis?