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Tosa West dreams big with 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'

Wauwatosa West High School freshman Gabe Fisch, 15, studies Advanced Algebra 2 as he waits to rehearse his part as "Brother Dan" in a dress rehearsal of the school's musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Wauwatosa West High School freshman Gabe Fisch, 15, studies Advanced Algebra 2 as he waits to rehearse his part as "Brother Dan" in a dress rehearsal of the school's musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Photo By Peter Zuzga

March 19, 2014

Flavored with an 18-foot Pharaoh head, a 12-foot puppet camel, Egyptian dog headpieces and vibrant lighting that makes the stage — dare we say — Technicolor, Wauwatosa West High School's spring musical production of "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat" dreams big and is expected to deliver.

"This is not your typical high school show," said Adam Steffan, theater director and choreographer at Tosa West. "This is taking high school theater up a notch."

It's not hard to see how. Tosa West partnered with Eisenhower Elementary, Wittman Middle, Wauwatosa Montessori and Immanuel Lutheran to create "Joseph's" children's choir. With 50 Trojan players and almost 50 third- through eighth-graders, "Joseph" creates a community out of the cast.

Set designers even extended the stage beyond the orchestral pit to accommodate the extra players.

West's rendition of "Joseph" does not deviate much from the 1991 feature film starring Donny Osmond, or the biblical story, in which 12 jealous brothers sell their brother Joseph into Egyptian slavery, where Joseph interprets dreams to win Pharaoh's favor.

Modern twists include Pharaoh (played by Tosa West senior Josh Koch) likened to Elvis and dance numbers reflecting Bob Fosse choreography with eclectic music, a ho-down and disco.

"It's building up to a big achievement," Koch said.

Steffan also recruited professionals to aid in the production. Nancy Visintainer-Armstrong, a Wauwatosa resident and Tosa West alumnae who choreographed the 2003 United Bangkok Artists International production of "Joseph" in Bangkok, Thailand, assisted with Tosa West's choreography.

For seniors, "Joseph's" tale of forgiveness implores them to "bury the hatchet" with old grievances and "absorb the experience" of their final production, Koch said.

"It's such a powerful show," said Kateri Kuhn, senior dancer in the production. "I want the audience to come away with 'wow.'"

And even with 850 seats to fill, Steffan expects the theater to sell out for all performances.

"This is our championship and shows the community what we're capable of," Steffan said.

Just The Facts

Event: Musical production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

Times: 7 p.m. March 21, 22, 28 and 29 and 2 p.m. March 23

Location: Wauwatosa West Theater, 11400 W. Center St.

Ticket prices: $15 adults, $12 senior citizens and students, $10 students with Activity Pass and Gold Pass holders and $8 for children 10 and under. Purchase tickets online at trojanplayers.com, by calling (414) 773-3243 or at the door.

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