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By Grace Ballenger

It’s a typical Wednesday night in November and a group of high school kids
are lounging around the high school auditorium, talking with friends and
laughing. Suddenly, rock music blares from the speakers and the students
run to the stage, launching into an energetic dance number. The auditorium
floor is deserted save a few cast-off shoes. On the stage, the students
shift from arrangement to arrangement, in an endless variety of perfectly
synchronized dance moves. A few stragglers wander in, run to the stage, and
instantly pick up where the group is, blending in seamlessly after a few
seconds.
Next they start another dance number. The choreographer watches from the
floor, pacing back and forth, critiquing different groups, giving orders
and discussing key points with Mr. Hickey, the director of the production.
Different groups run through their steps, stopping to fix things as needed.
Those who aren’t working stand around, talking quietly.
Welcome to a typical dance rehearsal for the new Fall Musical here at
Holliston High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. After
the success of The Sound of Music, Mr. Hickey decided to do this show
because it was one of the only ones that could compare to the large scale
of The Sound of Music.
According to Mr. Hickey, “It’s the next thing to do.” While Mr. Hickey
acknowledged that “Some kids were upset because there are really no solo
moments,” Hickey also acknowledged the importance of including as many
people in the production as possible, saying that “Last year we did The
Sound of Music, which wasn’t an ensemble show at all. I had the nuns, but
no big ensemble. I needed a show that would feature a big ensemble.” The
show was met with mixed reaction from the students. Some had heard of the
show before, but others had not.
When asked about the musical, Mr. Hickey described the show as a “high
energy, youthful extravaganza set to a biblical story of a young boy named
Joseph,” adding that the musical is “timeless,” and “a coming of age
story.”
Cast members Meghan Driscoll, Nick Lynch and Kathleen Regan were quick to
identify the key messages of the show, saying that the show is ultimately
“about dreaming and following your dreams. The story is originally biblical
in nature, but the religious message is almost lost in the wide variety of
songs which include everything from calypso to rock to country to bubblegum
pop.” As cast members put it, the songs “are so fun, honestly. It’d be hard
not to enjoy what you’re learning. There’s something that everyone will
love.”
The dancing also plays an integral part in the musical. Mr. Hickey  helps
the cast learn the dances, but the bulk of the dancing instruction is done
by choreographer Ms. Struyk. According to Mr. Hickey, there is “Never a
moment of simply standing around for more than five seconds at a time.” One
of the cast members, Meghan Driscoll, describes the dances as “intense, a
lot of work and a lot of fun,” adding that “We have a choreographer that
comes in and she’s amazing. She knows what she’s doing.”
The costumes also receive praise from the cast members. Mr. Hickey
contacted a theater program in Connecticut and was able to secure the use
of the costumes from the original 1993 Broadway version of the musical. Mr.
Hickey describes the show as a “costume heavy show,” explaining that since
the set doesn’t change much, the show relies upon the costumes to create
the atmosphere.
The creation of the musical has been a long process. Mr. Hickey began the
planning for the musical in June after school let out. Those who wanted to
audition for a part auditioned two to three times for singing, dancing and
acting. The cast has rehearsed for nine weeks, four or five times a week
with rehearsals usually being three hours long. Additional preparation was
also done on several Saturdays to build the set.
When asked how a musical comes together the cast members said, “It’s just
practice, you do it over and over until you get it.” The extraordinary
amount of time that was spent on the musical has allowed the cast to
develop very close bonds.
Mr. Hickey believes that the cast “Worked extremely well together.” The
cast comes from all grades and many of them didn’t know one another before
starting the musical.
The cast members add that “This is one of those plays where everyone bonds
because we’re all together all the time.” This bond between cast members is
shown in the events that they plan outside of the rehearsal time and by
small things, like a group rendition of “Happy Birthday” for a cast member
who was celebrating a birthday.
It is clear that everyone involved thinks that the show will be a success.
Cast member Nick Lynch says that “a lot of people know the story of the
musical already, so there are high expectations.”
However, Kathleen Regan says, “I think this show is going to sell out. It
will be the best show I’ve been in.” Mr. Hickey feels that the cast members
have “Surpassed my expectations once again.”
Ultimately Mr. Hickey believes that “If people miss this show they’re going
to hear about it and feel that they missed out.” The show will be performed
on the 17th, 18th and 19th of November at 7:30 pm.

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