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posted: 4/22/2010 12:01 AM

Crowd-pleasing musical 'Joseph' comes to Batavia

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  • Denzel Tsopnang narrates during Tuesday night's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" rehearsal at Batavia High School.

      Denzel Tsopnang narrates during Tuesday night's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" rehearsal at Batavia High School.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

This weekend, one of my favorite musicals comes to Batavia.

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is a snappy, fun musical, filled with humor that both young and old will find entertaining.

"This is a great show," said Sarai Prochazka, assistant director for the production. "It's a nice change and very funny. The audience will enjoy it. It's filled with lyrics that will get a lot of laughs."

Prochazka should know a thing or two about audience reactions. For the past few weeks she has been at director Page McCloud's side watching the production and taking notes. When the show goes onstage today, she will be assuming the duties of coordinating the different aspects of tech, lights, sets and house.

"I really enjoy being a part of the productions but I am not that comfortable being on stage," she said. "So for me, this is a lot of fun."

One who has found his niche on stage is David Sands, the talented senior who will be playing the lead character, Joseph. For him, the challenge for this production is the continuous singing and dancing.

"Since there aren't any spoken lines, the choreography can be a bit frustrating, coordinating all of the dancing," he said.

There are plenty of different dancing styles from calypso to disco, rock 'n' roll to country, with a few surprises in between.

"Joseph" is a feel-good musical based on the "Coat of Many Colors" story written in Genesis, the first chapter of the Old Testament. It was the second musical piece ever written by the popular team of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. It is based on a 15-minute cantata the two were commissioned to write for Colet Court, the preparatory school for St. Paul's School, outside of London.

After many rewrites and west end productions, the show evolved into a two-hour musical with hardly any spoken dialogue. It has been performed in more than 20,000 high schools since the rights first became available.

For Batavia High School, the challenge of "Joseph" is putting a large cast on a small cafeteria stage.

"There are over 50 members of the cast," said Sands. "But Mr. McCloud does a great job in blocking the show and making it all come together."

Making it all come together isn't as easy as one thinks. There is an orchestra of about 40 which has been practicing the score for weeks under the direction of John Heath. Choral Director, Paul Marchese, has been rehearsing the chorus as well since they are an integral part of the show.

It all looks so effortless when the shows goes up. That's because of the many hours the technical crew has spent moving sets, working on lights and managing props. Then there is the tremendous job of costuming 50 people.

"A lot of moms have been helping with this production," said Sands.

If you don't have your tickets for "Joseph," it's not too late. Although reserved seats are sold out for Friday and Saturday, there are plenty of reserved seats available for today and Sunday. General admission seats are available for all the performances.

Don't miss this outstanding show. This is a musical that will continue to make you smile long after the curtain has closed and the last bow has been taken.

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