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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Try on sizable 'Dreamcoat'
A classic musical comes to the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center.
By BARBARA L. FREDRICKSEN
Published July 13, 2007
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started out in 1968 as a 15-minute play with music that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice had written for a private school in London.
By the early 1980s, the biblical cantata based on an Old Testament story had expanded to 90 minutes and was a huge hit on Broadway.
The Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center opens its version of the show at 8 tonight and continues through July 29.
The show has a cast of more than 50, an orchestra of seven musicians, two directors (brothers Rick and Tom Bronson) and a sizable production staff.
"I like to do a big cast," Rick Bronson said. "I like to give everybody who wants to do something in community theater the chance to do so."
That includes families who show up to watch one member audition, then wind up joining the cast themselves. The program is full of families: Jennifer and Julie Bierchen; Casey and Lorin Bloomberg; Cody and Kristy Carlson; Chris, Courtney and Shelby Carmichael; Christy and David Hedgepeth; Danielle and Mark Pinals; Linda, Vanessa and Victoria Yore; and Maria and Susan Zoller.
There are seven Bronsons involved in this show, including the directors' mom and dad, Mickey and Milt, who made the costumes. (Milt also plays Reuben, one of Jacob's sons.)
The family connections seem appropriate, since Joseph is about a big extended family.
The family is that of Jacob (Lanny Freeman), who has 12 sons by two wives and two concubines. Like many fathers, though, Jacob has a favorite son, the handsome and smart Joseph (Cody Carlson).
When Jacob gives Joseph a beautiful coat of many colors, the brothers grow jealous and sell him into slavery, fibbing to their dad that he's been killed.
The slave traders sell him to the wily Potiphar (also played by Freeman), where his fortunes take a series of dramatic turns that eventually lead him back home.
Although the original story is filled with heartache and betrayal, the musical version is lighthearted and full of fun, using a variety of song styles.
For example, when the brothers tell their dad that Joseph has been killed, they do it with a cornpone country song, One More Angel in Heaven.
When drought and famine hit the land, the brothers lament the loss of good times with a French bistro-tinged ballad, Those Canaan Days.
And when the brothers travel to Egypt to beg for food, and Pharoah's right-hand man (who just happens to be Joseph, though they don't know it) demands that youngest brother Benjamin (Austin Ciliberti) be arrested, the brothers do the Benjamin Calypso, imploring him not to punish their beloved little brother.
The lively, colorful show is less than two hours long and is suitable for adults and children.
If you go
Where: Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, 324 Pine St.
When: 8 tonight, Fridays and Saturdays through July 28, and 2 p.m. Sundays through July 29