Hanford High takes on big production

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerJanuary 25, 2013 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of Hanford High's largest productions to date, with a 50-member cast and crew.

The show, which opens Feb. 1 in the high school's auditorium, includes a chorus of 33 Tri-City elementary and middle school students.

The production -- a biblical story about Joseph and his coat of many colors -- has little dialogue and mostly singing. A narrator keeps the audience enlightened as well as entertained.

Director Matt Leggett added three narrators to the production. Paige Foelber, 16, is one of them.

"It is challenging to remember the differences between what to sing with the other two narrators," she said. Her character develops a crush on Joseph as the musical progresses, which doesn't sit well with the characters of the other two narrators.

"Interacting with the other narrators is fun, and I truly enjoy working with them because we blend and get along well," Foelber said.

Ellie Seaman, 17, and Emily Carlson, 16, portray the other two narrators.

"I really enjoy playing one of the narrators because I get more leeway with acting than girls usually do when they play the role of the narrator," Seaman said. "My character is the snarky one, who is quick to throw Joseph under the bus when his brothers sell him to the Ishmaelites, and thinks he deserves his terrible misfortunes and struggles.

"This point of view is especially fun to play, and I really like being the bad guy for a change."

Sean Hendrickson, 17, plays Potiphar, the wealthy man who buys Joseph, then has him thrown in prison because he misjudges his relationship with his promiscuous wife.

"I enjoy playing the high-society stereotypical rich man," he said. "I think what's been hardest on me has been learning multiple roles (because) I also play one of Joseph's brothers. But I'm glad I'll be closing out my last year at Hanford with such a fun and energetic show."

Tyler Zirker, 17, is having all kinds of fun portraying Joseph.

"At first, he's naive, insulting and the guy you love to hate," Zirker said. "Soon, though, you're strong-armed into feeling bad for him. And, by the end, you maybe even like him. Joseph has some seriously awesome vocal parts and some of the best lines ever."

For those unfamiliar with the tale, Joseph is the youngest of Jacob's 12 sons. He's also the favorite son and receives a coat of many colors from his father.

Naturally, his brothers are jealous of the favoritism, so they sell their youngest brother into slavery, then tell their father Joseph was killed during an outing. As Jacob mourns the loss, the brothers rejoice.

Spencer Anderson, 17, plays Joseph's oldest brother Reuben. He said the role presents a challenge of singing, dancing and acting, as well as having the entire dialogue in song.

"This is a very physical show," he said. "Most rehearsals have been spent solely on practicing expressing our character's desires through choreography. There is such a variety of emotions in this play, and each song presents its own diverse energy."

Joseph proves he's a survivor despite being sold into slavery. He becomes the powerful confidant of the pharaoh after the ruler learns that Joseph can interpret his nightmares.

Joseph predicts seven years of prosperous crops followed by seven years of famine, so the pharaoh takes Joseph under his wing and puts him in charge of preparing the kingdom for the impending famine.

The famine takes a heavy toll on Joseph's family, and his brothers journey to see the pharaoh for help. But they end up dealing with Joseph, though they don't recognize their brother at first.

Joseph wants vengeance on his brothers for selling him, but if you want to find out how that happens, you'll have to go see the show.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1-2, 8-9 with a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 9 in Hanford High's auditorium, 450 Hanford Ave., Richland. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and are available at Adventures Underground, 1391 George Washington Way, Richland, or at the door.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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