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Operetta offers ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
The book of Genesis, with a little help from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, brings forth one of the liveliest stage productions of all time.
Christy Rutherford and Robin Hall, directors of the 45th Sequim High School operetta, have brought back their popular rendition of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Six performances run 7:30 p.m. May 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 at the Sequim High School auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.
Rutherford and Hall have done 18 operettas together and last did “Joseph” in 2006.
The play focuses on Joseph’s sale into slavery by his brothers, his rise to prominence with the pharaoh and a humbling finale with his brothers.
Rutherford said a rumor leads many to believe the musical was written on a bet that each song couldn’t be done in different musical genres.
Songs range from country western “One More Angel in Heaven” to disco “Go, Go, Go Joseph” to rock and roll “Song of the King.”
Hall said performing the different genres has been no problem for performers.
“The one thing about this show is that it’s all music,” Hall said. “There’s no stage direction. You can take it anywhere you want to. We know the audience will be entertained.”
Most of the show is tongue-in-cheek, Rutherford said, with some heartfelt moments.
“It’s just a really fun show,” Hall said. “We have a lot of things that you don’t expect to show up that do. The audience is definitely going to laugh for a couple of hours.”
New coat of paint
James Willis, who plays Joseph, said the play is bigger and better than the previous version because they added more levels from which actors sing and dance and more lights to the stage.
“It’s definitely more colorful,” he said.
More than 100 people perform on stage and in the “heavenly choir,” made up of community members, parents and teachers. Rutherford said many of the singers saw the previous play and were excited to be a part of it.
“People are still talking about it five years later,” she said.
Some of the cast, including Willis, a high school senior, were in that version as well.
“It’s kind of weird,” he joked. “I played Jacob, Joseph’s dad, in seventh grade. It’s been a mix between stressful and a lot of fun.”
Willis said he remembers all the songs and it’s been easy transitioning back into the operetta. His slight issue is with the difficulty of the songs.
“I’m not a natural tenor and it’s straining me a lot,” he said.
Despite long hours belting out biblical tunes, Willis and others seem ready to rock. His favorite song is the reprise of “Any Dream will Do” in the finale.
“It’s the sincerest moment for Joseph where he just lays it all on the table,” Willis said.
The directors opened up the traditional solo narrator character to three seniors, Rachel Chumley, Stephanie Dunbar and Jessica Lauritzen. Rutherford said there weren’t many female parts, and felt the change was appropriate because there’s so much singing.
“For one girl to do it would be hard,” she said.
The girls agreed this is the biggest play of the year.
“More students get involved and show an interest in the operetta than the others,” Lauritzen said.
“People will like this spin on the biblical story,” Chumley said.
“It’s family-friendly and a lot of fun. (Audience members) will definitely leave the auditorium singing.”
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.