‘Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
ELGIN — Meegan Andersen’s parents were pastors, so she’s well-acquainted with the biblical story of Joseph. She’s less familiar with narrating the musical, “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
The actor, who usually plays character roles, said being a narrator is very different.
“It’s not as challenging acting-wise,” Andersen said. “It is challenging, though, to be present in every moment. It has stretched some acting skills for me.”
Andersen, who grew up in Summerville and recently moved back to the area after 11 years in Portland, shares the narration with Shahayla Ononaiye.
“When we started rehearsals, we sat down and split the whole thing in half,” Ononaiye said. “We looked at how we’d play off each other’s strengths.”
Ononaiye said she and Andersen initially wanted to portray a “good” narrator and a “bad” narrator, but that was difficult because the narrator tends to side with Joseph throughout the show.
“She sings real low, really powerfully, and I can do higher parts,” she said. “We played off of that.”
Both alumnae of Eastern Oregon University, Andersen and Ononaiye have worked with director Kenn Wheeler, associate professor of theatre.
Wheeler, who came on as director after the show had already been cast, said he was glad to find his former students in their roles.
“This is, for the most part, a young cast,” he said. “There are a few actors — like Meegan, Shahayla and Liam (Bloodgood, who plays Joseph) — who have shown maturity and brought some balance to the production.”
Wheeler said Andersen and Ononaiye alone are worth the show’s ticket price.
“They are both so talented,” Wheeler said. “Their voices are incredible.”
Vocal talent is crucial for this production, which tells the story entirely through song. Moreover, it’s told through a variety of genres of song.
“It brings in 10 to 15 different genres, which is interesting, especially if you’re a music buff,” Andersen said.
Ononaiye said that’s what makes the show unique.
“There’s a ’70s scene, there’s something I don’t want to mention here because it’s a surprise, but it has to do with current events, the ho-down (and) ’50s Elvis stuff,” Ononaiye said. “It brings in a little bit of everything.”
Andersen said the musical elements appeal to audiences who aren’t as familiar with the biblical story.
Bloodgood was unable to make it to the Elgin Opera House’s media preview night last week.