FHSU's Pratt happy he said yes to musical

shrek musical

By Randy Gonzales
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. -- Karl Pratt had been asked a couple times before to be music director for a Hays Community Theatre production. New on the job at the Fort Hays State University Alumni Association, Pratt wanted to concentrate on that.

Asked again this spring, Pratt agreed to be music director for the Hays Community Theatre's production of "Shrek the Musical."

"It was just finally time to do it," Pratt said Thursday afternoon, hours before the show opened at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center in Sheridan Hall on the FHSU campus. "The first two years of my professional life I kind of devoted my life to that. If I keep putting them off, they're not going to ask me again."

This is the first time Hays Community Theatre will have a production in Beach/Schmidt. In the past, plays were either at the Thomas More Prep-Marian theatre or at the Fox Pavilion downtown. However, Pratt said for the last production at each site, the air conditioning broke down. Beach/Schmidt was found to be a viable alternative, and Pratt hopes future productions will continue to be at the FHSU venue.

"We're very, very excited to be at Beach/Schmidt," Pratt said.

Pratt is also pleased to be part of a musical featuring the popular film "Shrek."

"It's great because it attracts audiences of all ages," Pratt said. "Then there's the message that beauty comes from within. It's not the outside that matters, it's the heart inside. The overall message can strike a chord with anyone."

Pratt, who graduated from Fort Hays State in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance, is glad he said yes to be the production's music director. He will be in the orchestra pit for each performance, but he won't have a live orchestra. Instead, Pratt will be conducting a person using an orchestration software program.

"This is my first time ever conducting," he said.

Pratt, the Alumni Association's program coordinator for communication, felt a desire to give back.

"Fort Hays State, they kind of instill that into you," Pratt said. "It took a while for me to finally get going, but it was always there, that idea of service, giving back."

"I finally agreed to do it, took a chance," he added. "I'm really pleased that I did."

The musical will have 7 p.m. show times Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. Tickets $15 for adults and $10 for children age 10 or younger and for seniors age 65 and older, can be purchased at hctks.com or at the door.

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