Grand Haven High School musical opens Thursday

Krystle Wagner • Nov 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — The action and characters of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” will be coming to life at Grand Haven High School this weekend.

The curtain opens at 7 p.m. Nov. 17-19 at the high school’s Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $12 for adults, and $10 for students and senior citizens. They can be purchased via the “Seat Yourself” icon on the Grand Haven Area Public Schools’ website, www.ghaps.org, or at the door before each show.

Director Rita McLary said she’s excited about this show, which initially started out as a project in prep school between composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and playwright Tim Rice. After the two achieved fame in the 1970s, they picked it back up and made a few revisions before releasing it.

This fall’s show is family-friendly and filled with color, movement and action happening on stage, McLary said.

“The audience is bound to enjoy it,” she said.

Although auditions weren’t held until the beginning of the school year, GHHS senior Ben Lutz started studying characters and the show during the summer. Lutz, who plays Joseph, said he’s wanted a leading role since his freshman year.

Lutz said he loves acting and tech because both provide him a way of portraying the element in two mediums. The 18-year-old has spent time developing projections to be used in this weekend’s show to help add an extra element to the scenes.

Since GHHS senior Gavin TenBroeke wasn’t familiar with the musical, he looked up the show that featured Donny Osmond, and found it was filled with “loads of fun.” TenBroeke plays the Pharaoh, and Levi, one of Joseph’s brothers.

TenBroeke, 18, has spent about 15 minutes each day stretching in preparation for doing the splits during one of his songs. Laughing, TenBroeke said he wanted to end his high school career with a “big bang” and that was a way to do it.

In addition to the performers on stage, students are also working behind the scenes to make the show possible.

Although the audience sees the actors and actresses, GHHS senior Morgan Tiles is backstage ensuring things run smoothly. The student tech director said it takes a lot of preparation and coordination, but she enjoys making the magic happen behind the curtain and being involved in productions without having to be on the stage.

With the musical involving characters singing the entire time, McLary said students have learned how to make costume changes and switches to the set as the show goes on. Since the main portion of the set is stationary, Tiles said people might be surprised because there are pieces moving in and out of scenes.

Given the time period and the show’s setting, GHHS sophomore Jaela Norkoli researched hieroglyphics to include on the set. The 15-year-old added hieroglyphics on the set’s door that reads “exit.” She also wrote “Mrs. McLary” somewhere on the set.

Norkoli is also a member of the chorus.

GHHS senior Mason VanMeurs said he worked alongside McLary to take the show’s lighting to another level. VanMeurs, the lighting designer and operator, said the lighting is a new chapter for the school’s productions as they now have moving lights, color lights and an LED strip of lights.

“It’s a lot of work (programming the show’s lights), but it will pay off,” he said. “It looks really cool.”

The high school students will be joined on stage by some White Pines Intermediate School students, who make up members of the children’s choir. The younger kids will accompany the main chorus and cast.

Fifth-grader Payton Hosley said she auditioned for the musical as a chance to see if it’s something she would like and if she would be interested in continuing when she goes into middle school and high school.

TenBroeke said he hopes people have a good time and that the show leaves them dancing in the aisles.

Aside from having fun, Lutz said he also hopes people take away the message of being determined and what can be accomplished when people persevere.

“Don’t give up,” he said.

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