Last year, the high school put on “The Addams Family Musical.” [Catherine Moore/GCHS]

The first-ever musical performed in the current Grand County High School building was “Oklahoma!” which follows the love stories of farm girls and cowboys in 1906. Amy McKinnon, who was a senior at the time of the performance in 1997, played the main character Laurey Williams. 

“It was so exciting to be a part of the very first musical put on in that building,” McKinnon said. 

McKinnon is planning to travel to Moab on Saturday, Feb. 18 to participate in the 25-year GCHS Alumni Musical Review, an event that will celebrate 25 years of theater under drama teacher Maralee Francis, who McKinnon said was an incredibly encouraging and positive teacher. 

The show, which will start at 7 p.m. on the GCHS stage, will feature at least one song from each show from 1997 to 2022: the song lineup includes “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie” (performed in 1999),  “Footloose” and “Holding Out for the Hero” from “Footloose” (performed in 2011), and “Over the Rainbow” from “Wizard of Oz” (performed in 2016). Some songs will be solos, but a group will sing most—all participating alumni will gather at 10 a.m. that Saturday to practice. There will also be an opening number—“There’s No Business Like Show Business” from “Annie Get Your Gun”—and a closing number—“It’s a Grand Night for Singing” from “State Fair”—that everyone will participate in. 

“I can hardly wait to see everyone,” Francis said. “I’m sure there will be tears shed.” 

Nicki Coleman Hazlett is the music director: she put together sheet music in a Google Drive folder that alumni who showed interest could access in order to re-familiarize themselves with the music.  

Ashly Hunter, a GCHS alumna, is also traveling to participate in the event. Hunter played in and helped out with the shows “Annie” (1999), “Lil Abner” (2000), “Bye Bye Birdie” (2002), “Cinderella” (2003), and “State Fair” (2004). When she started practicing the music, she said, it all came back to her—she continued doing theater after graduating and participates in productions in her area whenever she can. 

“Theater feels like magic,” Hunter said. “It’s just a place of friendship and camaraderie and laughter.” 

She’s looking forward to reconnecting with Francis and with old peers, she said. 

The night will explore costume nostalgia as well: many costumes from previous shows will be on display, and some alumni might don them. Each alumnus was also asked to send in a photo of themselves and a short bio. 

The event is also celebrating Francis: she’s been active in theater for nearly her whole life, she said. Before teaching at GCHS, she produced a few plays at Star Hall. Teaching drama has never felt like a chore, she said, which is why she’s stuck with it for so long. 

“It is really such a fulfilling experience to work with kids, and then to know them as adults,” she said. “It’s so fulfilling and so worthwhile. I do just really find joy in it, and it kind of surprises me sometimes that I still really find joy in it … theater is energizing, and to be doing something that generates energy is a dream.” 

The event starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public to watch. 

“These are joyful, talented people,” Francis said. “It’s just going to be so fun.”