Murphy Students Produce Summer Musical
Murphy residents, Abby Atterbury and Wyatt Ames are both 17 years old and will be seniors at Plano East Senior High in the fall. As theatre students, they have participated in the PESH tradition where seniors produce a student-led/student-ran musical in the summer. This year, Atterbury and Ames took the reigns of this tradition and collaborated to produce the musical, “Catch Me If You Can”. Atterbury is the director and Ames is the musical coordinator and male lead.
In addition to a musical, “Catch Me If You Can” is a book and movie based on the true life of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a con man turned American security consultant. Atterbury and Ames described the music in the musical to be upbeat with a touch of jazz and reflective of the 60s which is the time period in which the events took place.
Atterbury and Ames explained the timeline of the production, “In Dec., we began putting this show together and getting artistic ideas. We formed a budget and began thinking about set designs. We held auditions in May and began working on the show in June.” Over the summer, rehearsals have increased from three hours, three times a week to seven hours, five times a week. This time includes running through the show and preparing the set. There are 25 students, including tech, in this production. They voiced appreciation to PESH theatre teacher, Brian Grunkowski, in that he has been their mentor as well as allowed them to rehearse and build the set at PESH. They are also grateful to PESH 2019 graduate, Gabrielle Collins, who choreographed the show.
Throughout the process, they have learned many things. Ames pointed out the importance of funding the production. Through a variety of avenues such as a garage sale, GoFundMe accounts and others, they raised $4,000 to produce this show. Until this summer, they had never worked in the tech department or directed a show and now they have those skills, and others, added to their wheelhouse.
Atterbury and Ames described this musical as family friendly. The set is painted a classic white, is two stories and features a double staircase. There will be many crowd-pleasing costumes throughout the production.
Proceeds from this production will be donated to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation. Atterbury explains why this action will be taken, “Recently, someone near and dear to our hearts was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.”
Productions will be held Aug. 1 – 3 at 7 p.m. at the North Texas Performing Arts Brodie Copeland Theatre (inside The Shops of Willow Bend, 2nd floor near Dillard’s). Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available at the door.