CAHS prepares for musicals
Connellsville Area High School musical director/producer Henry Molinaro announced has chosen “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” as the first musical for the school's new state-of-the-art auditorium.
Molinaro described the musical as a great show that he believes the community will support. He said the new auditorium, expected to be completed in December, figured prominently in his decision to choose the musical.
“Mostly because we don't know when it will be available because they say it may be accessible by Christmas, but we don't know exactly. With this show we knew we could build sets elsewhere,” Molinaro said Tuesday.
The new auditorium will seat around 1,200 and will be handicapped-accessible. The stage will be 15 feet deeper.
There will be slightly more space available in the wings, as well as new sound and lighting equipment in the booths on the bottom floor. A new ceiling has been installed to improve the acoustics.
“The new auditorium will be a great vehicle to show off this production,” he said.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, with lyrics by Time Rice, is scheduled for March 7, 8, 9 and 10. The show will be the 42nd consecutive musical that the school has presented. The school first did the show 17 years ago.
“A musical of this caliber would not be possible without the support of the school district,” said choreographer Deborah Luczka.
“And the community. The people come out and support the shows we do, and if they did not come, we wouldn't be able to do the shows that we do,” Molinaro said.
The show is based on the biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors found in the Book of Genesis. Joseph's 11 brothers are jealous of him and his coat, which is a symbol of their father's preference of him. Joseph experiences dreams of one day ruling over his brothers. To prevent the dream from becoming reality, the brothers sell Joseph as a slave to passing Ishmaelites who take him to Egypt. They tell their father that Joseph is dead.
All the while, Joseph is living in Egypt as a servant. Eventually his gift of interpreting dreams puts him in favor with Pharaoh, and Joseph becomes the second-most powerful man in Egypt. A great famine results in Joseph coming face-to-face with his brothers once again.
“It was sold out the last time we did it, and we had to add a show. People come from the community and from the other areas as well because there are people who just love this show,” Luczka said.
Molinaro explained that the show was first introduced in 1968 as a 15-minute pop cantata; over the years, “Joseph” grew to become a full-fledged musical in its current format in 1974.
Vocal coach Michelle Harbaugh said the show has great music and features many different musical styles.
“It's like a modern-day opera because there are only a few spoken lines and the rest is music,” Molinaro said.
He said he also chose the show according to talents that he knew he had available to him. Molinaro has a lot of talent to choose from this year, with four classes of students— thanks to the addition of freshmen to the high school.
For “Joseph,” nearly 120 students — 20 more than usual — will be chosen as the cast.
“We have ninth-graders for the first time, and we are going to use them as the children's choir,” he said.
Auditions for the show are slated for the first week in December.
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.