Luke Gray has been on stage in varying roles since he was 3. His first performance was Bristol Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” He played a munchkin in Theatre Bristol’s “The Wizard of Oz” when he was 5. Now that he’s in high school, he’s begun designing sets and making props. He also joined the Highlands Youth Ensemble and plays bass guitar.
“I love the arts because when I perform or design something, I’m putting together something that can be beautiful and then displaying it for all the world to see. I see the arts as an opportunity to apply things I’ve learned on my robotics team and other places too. Performing arts provide an important creative outlet for people, especially when many of the arts of the past, like masonry, woodworking, casting, forging – arts I am also involved with – are less practiced now,” Luke says.
Luke danced ballet for 12 years and had many roles in Bristol Ballet productions. He’s attended intensives with the Nashville Ballet and Boys Ballet Summer Institute. He had his first lead role, Benjamin, in 2014 in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Theatre Bristol. Since then, he’s acted in many shows.
His two favorite roles are Arpad Laszlo in “She Loves Me” and the Wolf in “The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf.”
Some other past ballet and theater productions include “The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf” (Big Bad Wolf), “Pinocchio” (Stromboli), “The Wizard of Oz” (Jitterbug), “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (Junkman, Dancer), “Importance of Being Earnest” (Rev Chausible), “Tartuffe” (Cleante), “Annie” (Staff, Hooverville), “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” (Townsperson, Knife, Wedding Guest), “Snow White” (Huntsman, Prince), “The Nutcracker” (Fritz), and ensemble in “Cats,” “Les Misérables” and “Godspell.”
Most recently, he performed as Arpad Laszlo in “She Loves Me” with Theatre Bristol, and with the Highlands Youth Ensemble in A 21-Song Salute to the Troops.
In April, he’ll perform with Highlands Youth Ensemble in the world premiere of “The Book of Ruth,” and in May, with the spring concert featuring American poets. In May, he’ll also be performing with Bristol Ballet as a guest dancer in “Sleeping Beauty.” He’s helping to set design “Jack and the Beanstalk” and designing the set for “To Kill a Mockingbird” for Theatre Bristol.
“Some of my biggest role models have been Jane Morrison (director of Highlands Youth Ensemble), Steve Baskett (one of the major set designers at Theatre Bristol), Glenn Patterson (a talented director at Theatre Bristol), Michele Plescia (artistic director for the Bristol Ballet) and Ken Cornett (technical director at the Paramount).
“I have performed in ballets, musicals and plays many times with my sister Camille Gray - and have even been cast as her brother in two shows, and with my brother, Zaiah Gray. I’ve also performed with my father, Dan Gray. Theatre is a family event for us.
“My favorite part about the arts is the backstage work. The work that goes unseen to make everything on stage look amazing,” Luke says.
This enthusiasm for backstage work explains the career path Luke is planning. His college plan is to study technical directing and design.
In his spare time, Luke is the president of Theatre Bristol’s Youth Service Board, a service group that runs auditions, ushers, organizes, runs camp, and also performs. He competes on the First Appalachian Robotics Team and has made props for Theatre Bristol’s shows.
He is the 17-year-old son of Samantha and Dan Gray and lives in Bristol.