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Sharing the spotlight in Edwards

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Rehearsal MO 04-26-08
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EDWARDS, Colorado ” Faced with an abundance of guy talent and a shortage of guy roles, musical directors at Vail Christian High School this spring arrived at a unique solution.

They cast two students to play the lead in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Senior Blair Halverson will play Joseph tonight; fellow senior Galen Jacobs plays Joseph on Friday. The teens learned the same songs and perfected the same moves, bringing consistency to the part they share.

“Actually, we’re both kind of blending into one being,” Halverson joked.

While directors routinely cast understudies for leads, giving two actors equal stage time as the same character is rare. Teachers said they didn’t want to shortchange either actor by denying him the starring role.

“As far as Vail Christian is concerned, this is their final curtain call and they both deserved a major lead part, in my opinion,” drama director Cathy Dalbow said.

Jacobs is a music prodigy who teaches piano and takes voice lessons. Halverson is a charismatic actor who rocked lead roles in school musicals.

Each makes a mean Joseph.

Just ask co-star Bubba Murray, an 18-year-old senior who plays Pharaoh.

“It’s nice to have a change of pace every once in a while,” he said. “They’re both very good singers. They’re both very good actors. I think they just kind of bring joy to the play, I guess.”

Supplying the joy takes hard work. Halverson and Jacobs said they learned their parts by singing along to the CD in their cars. During rehearsals, they switched off who played Joseph.

“Before every practice starts, we just ‘rock, paper, scissors,’ to see who’s Joseph and we both kind of learn from each other,” Halverson said.

When they aren’t playing Joseph, both actors take on the role of Joseph’s brother. That meant learning double parts.

“At first I was kind of skeptical on trying to learn two roles,” Jacobs recalled. “In the end, I think it’s helped. If one of us can’t make a practice, the other one is there to take the role of Joseph.”

Overlap happens with other characters, too. Because the musical has just two female roles, teachers assigned three ladies to play the narrator. They sing the part simultaneously.

“In some ways, you can kind of pull the audience in better because they’re splitting their attention between the three of you and you can engage them in a different way,” Narrator Makena Burner said. “So I think they get more intrigued with what you’re saying if there’s more than one person.”

The musical is the first event scheduled for the school’s new fine arts center and gymnasium. Located next to the high school, the nearly 35,000-square foot building houses an auditorium with room to seat 400. Workers completed the building’s interior at the end of April, but were still finishing the landscaping and painting this week.

“The performance is going to be the first thing in there, which is a perfect way to open it: with all of our talented students,” School Director of Development Linda Isbell said.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.


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