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HCP production fulfills dreams, provides roles well-suited to actors

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By Robert Villanueva

Dream interpretation is part of the plot of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

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Dream realization is a fringe benefit for the actor playing the title role in the Hardin County Playhouse production, and the play provides other actors special opportunities as well.

Ben D’Amico, 17, landed the title role after a last-minute decision to audition. Winning the role fulfilled a dream he had since he was 13.

“We would always pass the State Theater, and I would always say, ‘I want to lead a show there,’” D’Amico said.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is performed at 7 p.m. today at the Plum Alley Theater in the Historic State Theater Complex with additional shows Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 13-16.

D’Amico called the play one of the best and most interesting productions he’s been in. The musical also is challenging, he said.

“It’s difficult because you don’t get a break,” he said.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is a musical based on a story from the Bible that focuses on the title character who can interpret dreams. Joseph’s 11 jealous brothers sell him into slavery, eventually resulting in Joseph being jailed. He is discovered by a pharaoh who appoints him to the No. 2 post.

“On the surface it’s a very fun show,” director Bo Cecil said. “It’s a very fast show.”

The show’s story also is broad and in ways mirrors the story of Jesus Christ, Cecil said. Audience members will be able to craft their own messages from the production, but the theme expressed in the song “Any Dream Will Do” is at the core of the play, he said.

With nearly no spoken dialogue, the show relies on music to tell the tale. The style of music ranges from calypso to country, with nods to other genres.

Even the narrator, played by Claire Allen, performs her role via musical numbers.

“She tells the whole story,” Allen said. “She’s almost in every single scene.”

While that aspect makes the production more challenging by keeping her on her toes, she said, it is also easier for her to remember her lines when they’re set to music.

And, like D’Amico, the play has provided a fringe benefit to the actress.

“I just love to sing,” Allen said. “It makes me happy.”

The sense of family that comes through in the story is probably what will stick with audience members, she said. Even though Joseph’s family does a lot of terrible things to him, he still forgives them in the end.

Josh Logsdon, who plays the pharaoh, said the most challenging aspect of the play was keeping up the energy level provided by the musical numbers. It was the music, however, that attracted Logsdon to the production when he first watched a production of the play on DVD.

“I heard the music; I was hooked,” he said.

As the pharaoh, Logsdon gets the chance to create a unique character, half Elvis, half pharaoh. Like his fellow actors, Logsdon saw his role as particularly suitable for him.

“It’s one of the impressions that I do,” he said of Elvis.

Despite the musical aspect of the show, it was not too difficult to stage, Cecil said.

“As far as musicals, usually you have a lot of choreography,” he said, noting that is not the case with this production.

On the other hand, he said, it is one of the largest casts for an HCP production, with 20 to 25 actors on stage at a time. Many of those are members of the children’s chorus.

D’Amico, who was not too familiar with the play before auditioning other than the fact that it was a musical based on the Old Testament, felt the role of Joseph spoke to him. He called the character “the definition of the human spirit.”

The role also gave him a chance to fulfill another acting goal of his, which was to appear onstage shirtless. He said there was no particular reason for that goal, but it was something he’s wanted to do.

Additionally, D’Amico said he was glad to work with HCP.

“For me, it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” he said.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.