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Crossing borders through music

Tristan Pongrujaporn and Irene Chang

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On Feb. 19-22, the DVHS Drama Program performed an ancient biblical tale with a modern, humorous twist in a multi-colored and multi-genre musical that received rave reviews from the audience.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” performers showcased their singing and dancing talents in the all sung-through musical, save for one or two spoken lines. The performance involved original components never before seen at a Dougherty show, such as a children’s choir and a performer “breaking the fourth wall” by leaving the stage and interacting with individuals in the audience.

Set in biblical times of Canaan and Egypt, narrators Jasmine Marie Reyes and Sania Karir took the audience on a journey involving Jacob (Taylor DuFrane), the king of Canaan and his 12 sons, Reuben (Griffin Puatu), Asher (Daniel Choe), Benjamin (Francis Arroyo), Dan (Samay Dubey), Gad (Jonathan Go Oco), Issachar (Ryan Chan), Judah (Krista Moon), Levi (Garrison Wong), Naphtali (Dillon Aurelio-Perata), Simeon (Spencer Grenley), Zebulon (Robin Fu) and Joseph (Kyle Punsal).

To the audience member clueless to the background story and the general theme of the musical, it was, at times, confusing. With the sudden changes in music, tapping into all genres such as reggae, rock-and-roll and country, as well as certain scenes bordering on inappropriate, such as Mrs. Potiphar (Megan Olivera) attempting to seduce Joseph (Punsal) in “Potiphar” of Act I, some viewers found the plot overwhelming.

“I wasn’t really sure what was going on,” sophomore Albert Muljono  admitted. “But it was funny and entertaining.”

Many audience members who came to view the performance agreed that they were satisfied with the overall outcome of the ensemble and main cast’s vocals and dance.

“It was phenomenal and definitely worth watching,” senior Anthony Ray Chen said. “The pharaoh was hands down the funniest part of the musical, and Griffin’s French accent was just amazing!”

Sophomore Neil Braganza said it was a humorous aspect to an inspiring story about a guy who chased a dream and “got it.”

“I’d rate it a solid 10 out of 10,” he added.a

Even with the positive feedback, the shows were not without a few slip-ups. During the Feb. 20 show, the start of the first song sounded muffled, as if the microphone was not working well.

In a rock-and-roll-themed number called “Song of the King,” the Pharaoh’s (Dillon Aurelio-Perata) Elvis-Presley-style wig dropped after he lashed his cape about and pulled it down. A burst of polite laughter trickled from the audience, but quickly increased into true humor as Aurelio-Perata’s electric performance carried on without a hitch and incorporated the wig-drop into his part, stroking it as if it were an animal. The Pharaoh evidently turned out to be one of the favorite scenes in the show, from actors and audience members alike.

After the second night of the show, Aurelio-Perata commented that the performance was great, and different from all the other shows he has been in.

“I’ve been acting and performing for seven years, and this is my 32nd play I’ve done, but it’s one of my top three favorites,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like it.”

Aurelio-Perata’s iconic interaction with the audience, in which he stepped down from the stage and ran through the crowd during “Song of the King,” made “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” the first show in Dougherty history to feature “breaking the fourth wall,” a technique used by performers to remove the limits of the stage and include the audience as a part of the performance.

“I’ve never done it before either,” Aurelio-Perata said. “I asked Vega if I could do it, and he said ‘I don’t know if it will work, but you can try.’ And it worked! I think the audience really liked it, and I loved it.”

And as for the wig “I’ll never tell,” Aurelio-Perata said with a wink.

Kyle Punsal scored the lead role of Joseph for this production and stated that this was his first performance ever. He also said that he learned how to sing over the summer when he grabbed his family’s old karaoke set and sang.

“The whole reason I ended up auditioning for the musical was because of Ms. Walker,” Punsal said. “One day she told me she had to talk to me and I thought I was in trouble. She took me to Mr. Vega and said, ‘This is Kyle and he will be auditioning for the musical,’ and I just stood there speechless.”

Many cast members agreed that the performances went without a hitch and that they enjoyed each and every moment spent on stage with their fellow thespians.

“It’s been pretty fun and challenging, but it’s more challenging [with] the fact that the musical is all sung-out, requiring us to give more energy,” said Punsal.

With “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat” being the last musical of the 2014-2015 school year, there are many seniors who are saying their final farewells to the Dougherty stage as a drama student. Some students are sad to be leaving, such as Megan Olivera, “I was bawling!”, but Taylor DuFrane isn’t in a melancholic state.

“I’ve been so used to doing shows these past three years that it really hasn’t kicked in for me yet. I guess I’ll feel it when I’m sitting in the crowd myself one of these days,” DuFrane said.

By the end of the week, Vega had totaled up the statistics of the show and he said, “It did very well, the drama program made about $3,000 in profit”.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is the epitome of musical comedies with a plethora of catchy music genres. If you missed your chance to go see this performance, then get ready for the drama program’s student-run One Acts Festival on Apr. 23-25.

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Crossing borders through music