Catherine “Cat” Murray, owner of McMurr’s in Tullahoma, will soon don her glittery glove in the name of charity for audiences at South Jackson Civic Center. Along with fellow performers, Kenny Keawekane, Kiersten Degraff, Kellye Pierce, Dustin Tolson and John Luc, she will present “HIStory Told by Her (III) A Tribute to Michael Jackson,” on Saturday, June 2 at 7 p.m. Young dancers from the local community include Marcus Pendleton, Alexis Bates, and J.P. Batac. All proceeds from advertising and ticket sales will benefit the Motlow Ladies’ Philanthropic Society (MLPS).
Why would a woman who is busy running her own business even worry about all the intricate details of staging a production then give all the money away? As Murray puts it, “It’s a way I can help. I can use my talents to help bigger causes.”
Jan Rogers, director of advancement at Motlow College said, “Cat is a friend of mine and I knew after I saw her first production that I had to get her to do a show for us. The MLPS provides financial assistance for women to go back to school to get a degree and I knew Cat would want to help them.” Rogers continued, “Aside from the fact she is giving of herself to help others, the show is tons of fun! It’s a wonderful way to spend a very enjoyable evening.”
The idea for a show was first born when Murray attended an assembly at Farrar Elementary School and couldn’t hear the children. Being a CEO partner of the school, she felt the need to do something to raise money and help purchase a new sound system for the auditorium. According to Murray, “There was never any doubt what I wanted to do. If it doesn’t have to do with Michael Jackson, I’m not interested.”
Murray owns an extensive music collection that she uses when she serves as a DJ at weddings and charity events. She said, “With as much music as I own, I find myself listening to Michael most of the time.” So with no theatrical training—none whatsoever—and with the help of friends, the show was written, costumes were made, tickets were sold, and after several practices, the show debuted and was well received. The immediate success of the first production made it apparent that this would not be a one-time event.
A second production was planned just months later with a few changes in performers, costumes and the show itself. The local charity Horseplay and the South Jackson Civic Center both benefited from this show. According to Murray, “There was enough money raised for Horseplay to purchase feed for the horses for a year.”
Charitable contributions from the first two shows have exceeded $10,000. Organizations wanting to benefit from the production are lining up and for Murray that means the show must go on. She explains, “Every show has been different. Even if someone has seen the first or second one, hold on, it’s never the same.” She said, “There are new twists in this third show for Motlow, I think the audience will enjoy the surprises!”
As producer/director of the show, Murray credits Patti Wimsatt as the costume diva and Kenny Keawekane as the guru of choreography. Sound, lights, technical and set design credits go to Rex Mize, Michael Maupins and Clay Turner.
Advance tickets are sold exclusively at McMurr’s prior to the event for a reduced cost of $12/adult and $8/children 10 and under. Tickets will be sold at the door for $15/adult and $12/children 10 and under.
Visit the College website for additional information about the Motlow College Foundation and specifically the Motlow Ladies’ Philanthropic Society. Contact Rogers by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (931) 393-1692 or (800) 654-4877 ext 1692.