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Franklin High School stages Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

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FRANKLIN - Students at Franklin High School are dreaming in full-color, getting ready for a show that's anything but bland.

Performances of the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" will start Friday, March 31, taking the audience on a ride back to biblical times for a vivid retelling of the story from Genesis through non-stop song, dance and color.

Technically considered an opera, the whole musical is sung without breaks for dialogue, keeping the story moving and the performers energized.

"It's very lively," said Jessica Jewell, a member of the chorus. "And even with the slower songs, it brings a lot of energy and it makes us be more uplifting and excited."

The show features more than a dozen songs with a variety of music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, creating a dynamic and fast-moving story.

Student talent 

With such a strong emphasis on the music, the show is able to spotlight the musical talents of the students, according to director Jamie Schlecht.

"I think it's a very, very strong cast," said Schlecht. "The talent is strong overall, with students in the orchestra pit and even students running the show. It's very student-focused and student-led."

The show also features a children's choir made up of students in Schlecht's middle school choir class at Forest Park and siblings of students involved with the show.

"It's really including every member of the community," said Vy Pham, an FHS student in the chorus. "And it gives the kids the opportunity to experience what it's like (being in a high school show)."

Students from other areas of the high school are helping out with the show, as well. The high school's Construction II class and other student volunteers built the set, which features a sand-colored platform with two tall staircases.

In Technicolor 

Even though the set itself isn't particularly colorful, the show does not intend to fall short on its Technicolor promises. The cast will be dressed in a rainbow of colors, driving home the show's emphasis evident in its title.

"You'll see a lot of that in our lighting design, as well," Schlecht said.

The star of the rainbow, however, is the dreamcoat worn by Joseph. According to Brandon Heath, it's one of the highlights of playing the title role.

"The thing I like about playing Joseph is that I start off as a 16-year-old kid and I have to transform into a 40-year-old man by the end of it, transforming from a cocky teenager into an old man," Heath said. "And the dreamcoat is pretty cool, too."

Singing the story 

Heath describes the story as Joseph's coming-of-age tale, starting off with showing Joseph as his father's favorite son because he has the gift to interpret dreams.

"We follow Joseph as his brothers get jealous of him, and as he gets imprisoned until he can use his gift to get him out of it," Heath recounted. "Then he becomes pharaoh's number two guy, and we get to see him and his family and his brothers all come back together again."

And the whole way through, Joseph is singing about his journey – or at least being sung about, whether he monologues about his dismal situation in "Close Every Door," Heath's favorite song, or gets some encouragement in "Go, Go Joseph."

Heath said the story is perfect for anyone to enjoy.

"It's family-friendly. It's definitely something different from what a traditional musical is because of all the music, and it's kind of silly sometimes with all the different characters like the Pharaoh (played by Sam Pike), and it kind of explores silly characters like that, and others in the story who are very serious characters. It's interesting to see all those characters interact," Health said. "It's just a super fun show."

If you go 

What: "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

When: 7 p.m. March 31, April 1, 7, and 8, and 2 p.m. April 2

Where: Saber Center for the Performing Arts, 8222 S. 51st St.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $8 for students, and $6 for seniors age 65 or older. Available online at tinyurl.com/fhsjoseph2017 or at the box office (open 5-7 p.m. March 27-30, April 4-5)

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