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‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ sure to be a hit

By Staff | Apr 27, 2010

Move over, “American Idol.”
Talent more than abounds in the upcoming presentation of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” scheduled to hit the stage next week at North Fort Myers High School.
The play was the brainchild of the noted team of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Based on the “coat of many colors” story of Joseph from the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Genesis, this show was first presented in London in 1968. Broadway then followed, with rave reviews.
For trivia buffs, according to Wikipedia, it has been performed by over 20,000 schools and amateur theatre groups, and adapted to film, starring Donny Osmond, in 1999.
North Fort Myers High will do its own take — and if dress rehearsals are any clue, it is sure to be a hit. You can’t miss the energy from the second it begins.
It is a favorite production of NFM High Drama Teacher Michele Whitener.
“It’s more of an opera — no dialogue,” she said. “I like the different styles of music, from country to calypso to disco, so the kids always have fun, and a lot of different costumes are there for the different styles.”
And Elvis is involved.
It is the school’s biggest production of the year, Whitener said.
There are over 60 performers, 18 orchestra students and 15 technical crew in the production.
And they are talented.
“Joseph” starts the action, with a talented chorus and band members accompanying him, along with “The Narrator.”
It moves fast — no dialogue. Just singing.
“Our Joseph — Devin Dietsch — has such a beautiful voice,” Whitener continued. “When he sings ‘Close Every Door’ — which is a heartfelt, ballad, it is just very touching,” she said of a favorite part of the show.
“Also, ‘The Narrator’ is Haley Ondrejka, the female lead, who does a tremendous job,” Whitener said. “She does a great narrator making it informational, fun and stylish and very interactive with all the characters. She keeps the story moving.”
There are so many great numbers it is hard to keep track.
“One of my favorites is the ‘Egyptian Pharaoh’ number, which is always fun, and the ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph,’ number is especially inspiring, colorful and funky,” she said.
Whitener had done this show before years ago, and is looking forward to the re-do.
Robin Dawn of the Robin Dawn Dance Academy in Cape Coral has also done this show before, and has helped choreograph shows for the school for the last 16 years.
“I’ve actually been choreographing shows for over 35 years — here and at Broadway Palm and across the country,” she said.
Dawn said she is also impressed with this particular cast.
“This show is a great family show — it has everything, incredible vocals, unbelievable sets and the choreography.”
Damaris Preston is the dance teacher at the school.
“My students have all taken drama classes, and all learn the basics of a musical,” the teacher said. “We all work together — that is focus here at this school. We all influence each other.”
North Fort Myers High School Principal Kimberly Lunger said, “The play is a culmination of hard work from all departments — drama, chorus, orchestra, band, dance, visual and media arts. Every department has a hand in making our productions such a success.”
She continued, “Each spring, we get many calls from members of the community inquiring about the musical. We continue to get enormous numbers of locals that attend our shows. Many choose to see it numerous times. As always, our parents are a tremendous amount of support.
“We have such a huge talent pool, and this play showcases that,” she continued.
Performances are Thursday, April 29; Friday, April 30; and Saturday, May 1, at 7 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, May 2, at 2 p.m.
The cost for tickets is $5 for students and $8 for adults.
North Fort Myers High School is located at 5000 Orange Grove Blvd.
For additional information, call 995-2117.