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Shooting Stars
Clarkston gradís musical brought to life on stage

April 25, 2012

The cast of "Justice in Dusty Junction." Photos by Wendi Reardon
The costumes have been picked out, the set is finished and the Clarkston High School Drama Club is putting the finishing touches on their spring musical "Justice in Dusty Junction."

The production is a special one as "Justice in Dusty Junction" was written and composed by 1997 Clarkston grad Jim Territo.

This is the first musical Clarkston has performed by Territo but he composed and performed pieces for their production of the "Pink Panther Strikes Again" in 2007.

He said it was extremely rewarding to see Clarkston students bring his musical to life.

"It is somewhat surreal watching them work to bring their characters to life and make them their own is awesome," Territo added.

"Justice in Dusty Junction' is the story of Deputy Shawn, played by Sam Cook, finding the courage to face outlaw Ugly Monroe, played by Conor Foley.

Helping Shawn find his courage are Bobby Joe, played by Mason Van Gieson, and Mindy Sue, played by Taylor Smith, as well as an ensemble of cast members.

Territo described the production as "Blazing Saddles meets Toby Keith-like soundtrack."

The idea came from an activity Territo always enjoyed with his dad - watching westerns.

"Most musicals are based on existing stories," he noted. "I loved watching cowboy movies with my dad when I was a kid. 'Justice in Dusty Junction' takes all those movies and rolls them into one."

Territo is always surrounded by music. After graduating from Clarkston he attended the University of Michigan School of Music. He earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education & Musical Composition in 2001. He went on to earn a master's degree in Education from Michigan.

He is currently the music and band teacher at Detroit Country Day in Beverly Hills. He also performs at events or nights clubs, directs music for community performances as well as writes and composes for individuals and ensembles.

"I have been fortunate to have taught many talented individuals during my years at Clarkston," said Jeff Tice, theatre director. "I have followed his career throughout the years and have had the pleasure of working with him on a few projects. When he presented me with this musical, I knew my current students would be thrilled to debut this fun-filled production."

Performances are at 7 p.m. on May 4 and 5 at Clarkston High School Performing Arts Center, 6093 Flemings Lake Road.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $6 at the door. The musical is rated PG-13. For tickets and more information, please call 248-623-4024.

For a sneak peek of one of the songs, visit

~Wendi Reardon