PHS presents operetta

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Its roots may be in a Bible story, but the musical is all about realizing dreams in any time period, according to members of the cast of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

The operetta, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in 1965 and popularized in the 1970s, opens at 7 p.m. today at the Portales Performing Arts Center under the stage direction of Bill Strong and musical direction of Franklin Smith.

“It’s about dreaming and following your dreams, at least that’s the way I see it,” Portales High School student Lauren Main said.

Main is the understudy for the narrator’s role in the performance and will also perform the role during Sunday’s performance. Keri Flen is in the primary role of the narrator.

The narrator is a Sunday school teacher telling students the story of Joseph, his 11 brothers and his coat of many colors. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and rises from his slavery to eventually be reunited with his family.

Main said she sees the theme of the story through her character’s eyes, saying a teacher would tell children they can do whatever they want to do.
PHS student Orlando Kelly plays Joseph.

“They’ve got to know there are hardships in between, like being thrown in prison,” said Kelley, the stage veteran of the group with previous roles in “Oliver,” “The King and I,” “The Crucible,” and “Cyrano de Bergerac.”

Shelly and Main agree doing an operetta, with no spoken dialogue, is challenging, but the end result is satisfying.

“Trying to find the character is really hard,” Shelly said. “We’re supposed to be kind of cheesy and it’s hard to find your character with that.”

Strong says the production has turned out amazingly well considering rehearsals have only been ongoing since mid-February.

While dialogue hasn’t been a problem, Strong said the costumes for such an extensive cast has been challenging. Last minute touches were still being added Thursday afternoon.

Heather Stroud, who plays the vamp Mrs. Potiphar, says being a part of the large production, which includes students of various ages, has been enjoyable.

“It’s really fun to be your character, but what goes on backstage is way more fun,” Stroud said, noting the joking, camaraderie and playfulness of the cast and crew.
“Dreamcoat” with PHS band members providing the score has four performances scheduled and finishes up on Monday night.

At a glance

What: “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”
Where: PHS Performing Arts Center

When: 7 p.m. today, Saturday and Monday and 2 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $3 at the door

Who: Portales High School Performing Arts Department along with students from other schools in the district

Running time: About 90 minutes plus a short intermission

You should know: According to the cast, it’s not just a Bible story set to music. The music is upbeat and includes every style from rock to western to show tune to jazz. The story moves along fast and keeps the interest of all ages without the use of spoken dialogue.