Dan Mullens, Moffat County High School's musical director, seated at the piano, works on a song with the brothers group Tuesday. The brothers are one of three ensembles that will perform during the fall musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Dan Mullens, Moffat County High School's musical director, seated at the piano, works on a song with the brothers group Tuesday. The brothers are one of three ensembles that will perform during the fall musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Musical at Moffat County High School kicks off rehearsals

'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' opens Nov. 19

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Tucker Trujillo, left, and James Hebert look over lines in a song to be performed at the fall musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Trujillo is a member of the brothers choir ensemble, and Hebert will play the lead role of Joseph for the first two presentations, and the Pharaoh for the next two.

— It was after 7 p.m. in Moffat County High School's choir room, and musical director Dan Mullens had no idea where his group of 30 chorus singers found the energy to climb over chairs, do pull-ups on a bar six feet in the air and yell out their soprano parts.

"Personally, I don't know where you get this much energy after the long day of work you had," he said, not even trying to talk over the rowdy students. "But wives, girls, the banana is a peaceful fruit. I need less of the bananas."

He then led the main chorus, with their underlying la-la-la's, and the wives chorus, singing the words "banana" over and over, through the song "Benjamin Calypso," an upbeat protest against the arrest of their brother Benjamin.

Mullens chose "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as this year's MCHS fall musical.

From when the cast list was posted until opening night Nov. 19, the cast and crew have about 9 1/2 weeks to smooth out the edges and put a final product together.

Mullens admits there will be moments of panic in the weeks to come, especially around the deadline that the cast has to have every note and every word memorized.

However, having performed in the musical as the lead brother in high school, the young director thought "Joseph" would be a good choice for MCHS.

The musical features all singing parts with little spoken words.

It was originally a performance of the story "coat of many colors," in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Genesis.

However, Mullens says the religious parallels end there.

"It's taken from the Bible," he said. "But, a lot of liberties were liberally taken."

He said he chose the show, his second as a choir director, because he thought the Craig audience would enjoy it, but also because of the up and coming talent pool.

"The songs are easy to learn," he said. "And, hopefully once they learn them, they can start to really have fun with them."

In his second year with the musical, he said he was impressed with the auditions.

"We just had an amazing amount of female talent," he said. "So we doubled on a few of the parts."

The narrator, a lead female part, was split so that Karen Bolton will play the part two nights and Kyra McClellan will play it the other two nights.

Mullens also said the male portion of the cast has really impressed him.

At the end of Tuesday's rehearsal, the 11 brothers gathered around the piano and belted out their parts from bass to tenor, trying to find the French finesse that would give life to the "Those Canaan Days," a lament to the selling of their brother Joseph.

Some had sung before but never been trained. But, Mullens saw potential in his male group.

"This is a great song," he said to the brothers. "It has so much male bonding in it."

Mullens said that last year, only about five or six male students were in the musical.

This year about 15 brought their baritones and tenors to the chorus.

"It's one of the biggest casts I've seen in a few years," Mullens said. "When the kids' chorus gets up there, we could have 50 to 75 people on stage."

But, when the audience sits down Nov. 19, they won't see all of the time the chorus spent crowded around the piano working out harmonies. They won't see the parents who volunteer their time to make the costumes.

"There are so many layers that go into it," he said. "There's the music, the pit orchestra, the costumes, the public relations. On top of it all, they have their grades they have to keep up at school."

But, he said, MCHS has always had a strong musical program, and though he is in his second year as director, he has seen the potential MCHS has to produce a solid theater production.

"The kids want to do it, and they're the ones that put the work in and enjoy doing it," Mullens said. "The passion and enthusiasm is there. All I'm doing is going along with it."

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