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Beat goes on in Whidbey Playhouse musical
Oak Harbor residents will be humming Andrew Lloyd Webber show tunes the whole month of November.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” opens 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov.1 at the Whidbey Playhouse and runs through Nov. 24.
Auditions were held in August, and the cast has worked hard to perfect its performances. As soon as the music starts, it’s hard for the audience not to react to the beat.
“I cannot sit still during this,” said Mary Lou Chandler, producer of the show.
Rusty Hendrix is the show’s director. Chandler has produced every show Hendrix has directed. Over the years they’ve formed a symbiotic relationship.
“I can read her mind, and she can read mine,” Chandler said.
THE MUSCIAL follows Joseph, who is one of Jacob’s 12 sons. Joseph is his father’s favorite and this upsets his brothers. After receiving his coat of many colors from his father, the brothers decided they’ve had enough. They sell Joseph into slavery, and then fake his death so Jacob thinks he’s dead.
Joseph survives many hardships, from being a slave to being thrown in jail. As the musical follows his journey, the audience is able to see how he perseveres.
“I can relate to him,” said Michael Garon, who plays Joseph. “I love this story, and it teaches very important lessons about life, family and brothers.”
GARON GRADUATED from Oak Harbor High School last spring, and will be joining the Navy soon. He loves preforming on stage.
“I love lending a smile tosomeone who doesn’t haveone,” Garon said. “I love making people laugh.”
Even though Garon prefers making others laugh, he can switch to his serious side when needed. During his solo “Close Every Door,” when Joseph is locked up in jail, he brings the audience right into the cell with him.
The entire play is filled with homages to different genres of music. It has the traditional musical scores, but also plays around with country, reggae and 1950s rock and roll.
THE MOST iconic character in the play is Pharaoh, who is themed off of Elvis Presley. Cast in that role is Dr. Douglas Langrock from Whidbey Community Physicians.
“I always wanted to be Elvis,” Langrock said. “Most singers do.”
The show is family oriented, so it’s a great play to take the whole family to see, Langrock said.
Musicals are a lot of fun to be a part of, and the whole cast loves hamming it up for an audience.
“It’s definitely a fix,” Langrock said. “When its over, you’re looking for another one.”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS may recognize other community leaders in the cast, among them Oak Harbor City Councilwoman Tara Hizon.
Hizon plays the narrator.
Before auditioning, Hizon said she had not seen the play before. She likes the narrator’s role because it allows her to pop in and out of the story and speak directly to the audience.
Watching the cast members on stage, viewers can see that they’ve formed a bond with one another.
“Every cast becomes a weird family,” Hizon said. “Each and every person is so talented and amazing in this production.”
NO ONE gets a break during this show. Jim Reynolds plays the eldest brother Reuben and one of Pharaoh’s slaves, and he’s not the only one playing dual roles.
“There’s no sitting out on this one,” Reynolds said. “We’re up there the whole time.”
Because the show features the performer’s trinity of singing, dancing and acting, Reynolds said it’s very difficult to pull off. But when it all comes together, it becomes an amazing production.
NOT ONLY is the cast full of community members, but so is the set. Hendrix said he wanted more people to be a part of the show, so she asked if the art students at Oak Harbor High School could help out. More than 30 advanced placement art students painted the background panels.
“It’s about involving the community,” Hendrix said. “I gave them a theme, and I’m really excited with how it turned out.”
Two of them showed up during a dress rehearsal to see their work.
“It makes all that work worth it seeing it onstage,” said Angela Morse, OHHS senior.
Morse attended the rehearsal with Caiti Woodward, a high school senior. Both said it took a lot of hard work and dedication to finish. Looking at the panels lit under stage lights gave them both satisfaction.
“It’s way cooler to look at it now,” Woodward said.
Tickets for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” are $18 and may be purchased at the Whidbey Playhouse, 730 S.E. Midway Blvd., Oak Harbor. Show starts Nov. 1. For more information, call 360-679-2237, or www.whidbeyplayhouse.com.