A life in theater leads to kazoo magnate in Beaufort

It's the same old story: Local boy with dreams of a life in theater leaves town and comes back a decade later as ... a kazoo magnate.

Stephen Murray, a third-generation Beaufortonian -- his grandfather was born on Parris Island -- is the president of Kazoobie, Inc., whose kazoo factory has been humming along successfully in Beaufort for more than a year.

As a student at Beaufort High School, Murray, 29, said he really loved acting. His drama teacher, Tim Brown, "was probably the one that saved me. I really didn't have much direction ... and he embraced me into the theater, put me in a show, and it was done. I was hooked."

When Murray was 14, Brown took students to Broadway, and it changed Murray's life:

"From then on, it's all I wanted to do. ... We came back from New York, and I just dove into theater."

He got a job at the now-defunct Shed Center for the Arts in Port Royal, doing lighting and sound after school. He went to the Governor's School for the Arts in theater during the summer between his junior and senior years and then went back the next year as the technical theater assistant.

Erika Pyle has known Murray since those high school theater days and worked for a time in marketing at Kazoobie. She described Murray as "the hardest-working guy on the team, a dedicated man to his friends, community, and his work. He was and is a man of action, ideas and, most importantly, a great friend."

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