A musical romp | VailDaily.com

A musical romp

Kathy Heicher
AE Musical JATD2 BH 3-8 Vail Daily/Bret Hartman

Eagle Valley High School Spring Musical

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

Eagle Valley High School, Gypsum

Thursday, Friday, Saturday 7 p.m.

Tickets: $8 for adults

$5 for students and senior citizens

$2 for kids under 5-years-old

Possible Pull Quote: “Even people who don’t like musicals are going to love this,” Amy Harris, student director, cast member

When the future cast of Eagle Valley High School’s spring musical learned that this year’s selected play, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” was based on a Bible story, they were apprehensive.

“Nobody wanted to do a Bible story,” recalls cast member Amy Harris. The youthful cast was nervous about the fact that the dialogue in the play is entirely via song. They worried about filling the large number of male roles. They feared their friends wouldn’t want to see a play based on a Bible story.

After two months of practice, those fears have vanished.

“It turned out to be awesome,” says Harris. She and her fellow cast members, pumped up for the opening of the play this week, say they’re having fun with every aspect of the production, ranging from the colorful costumes to the extravagant sets, and yes, even all of those songs.

“It’s gonna be fun. It is fun,” says senior Jesse O’Brien, who plays the lead role of Joseph.

“They’re eating their words,” teases play director Cathy Strickler, with a smile. Harris and Jana Brownlee do double duty as actresses and student directors.

Strickler and musical director Pat Sheehy have marshaled their 49 member crew and cast into a thoroughly enjoyable production of the play that drew audiences to Broadway for years.

The musical is indeed, based on a Biblical story. Joseph, one of 12 brothers, has the ability to interpret dreams. He’s a bit of a show-off about that talent, enough so that he angers his jealous brothers. They sell him as a slave.

Joseph ends up in Egypt, where he makes the best of the situation. After interpreting a dream for the pharaoh, which saves Egypt from famine, Joseph becomes the pharaoh’s right hand man. Along the way, he must deal with various temptations and obstacles. The ultimate test is whether he will be able to forgive his brothers when they come into his life again.

“It’s a never-give-up story,” explains Harris.

The music for “Joseph” was written by Andrew Lloyd Weber, with lyrics by Tim Rice. The once-apprehensive cast members are having a blast with the variety of music.

There’s a little bit of disco, some country swing, calypso, jazz, a 1960s-style go-go song and a show-stopping Elvis number, lead by Cory Gilmore in the role of the Pharaoh. (Get it? Pharaoh-Elvis-the King.) Every song has a different style, but also a story important to the underlying theme.

A singing chorus of narrators, Stephanie Morris, Elizabeth McMichael, Jacque Laman, and Megan Matthews, ties the story line together.

“The audience should key in on the narrators. For people who don’t know the Bible real well, or the story itself, it is very important to listen in on what the narrators are doing. We are telling the story,” says Morris, a veteran of numerous Eagle Valley spring musicals.

Layman, a senior making her first debut in the high school play, said she learned the music in a week. Several cast members commented that learning the songs was actually easier than memorizing dialogue lines.

“We have a lot of talent in the play this year. We’re putting on a show people will really like,” adds McMichael.

Choreography for the play was directed by local dance teacher Cheryl McQuaid, assisted by student choreography director Kendra Kahlow.

“They took all of these rhythm-less people and make them look great,” laughs O’Brien.

Student Stage Manager Crystal Breshears and her crew manage the big sets. Teacher Sue March’s advanced placement arts class has done a great job painting pyramids, creating a sphinx, and generally designing sets that add to the fun of the production.

For this production, the directors decided not to rent costumes and props. Rather, they’re homemade. Nickie Fowles, local mom and volunteer extraordinaire, who always has a hand in the local productions, has been busy at her sewing machine, along with helpers Beth Morales, Jeane Mitzelfelt, Pam Padgeh, and Sandy McConnell. The costumes are as bright as the production.

Practicing since January, the cast members are nearly euphoric about the play. They’ve built a camaraderie that makes even the long dress rehearsals fun.

“Even people who don’t like musicals are going to love this,” promises Harris.

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