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San Tan Valley Teen Steps into the Limelight with "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

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Shayla Forero was only 7 when she first performed with the children's choir in Limelight Performing Arts' production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Six years later, Limelight is bringing the epic production back to the stage, and Forero, 13, is stepping into a much bigger role.

"I play the apple dancer, an amazing role that's also very challenging," said Forero.

The musical brings to life the age-old bible story of Jacob and his 12 sons. Told through a kaleidoscope of song and dance, it takes place in Canaan and Egypt many centuries ago and tells the story of Jacob's favorite son, Joseph, whose jealous brothers sell him into slavery.

The apple dancer represents a key moment in the story when famine has descended on Canaan and the brothers and their families are starving. When Forero enters the scene – eating an apple – the brothers each try to steal the precious fruit away.

"This scene is one of my favorites in the musical," said Marie South, who, along with Limelight's artistic director, Emma England, is directing the show. "The music is tango, and the brothers take turns pairing up with Shayla, trying to take her apple while she holds it out of reach. It's entertaining and very good dancing, but it also underscores the desperation the brothers are feeling at that time."

The role requires considerable performance ability, but Forero has worked her whole life for challenges like this one. The San Tan Valley resident has been training in many styles of dance along with acting and voice since before she started kindergarten.

Beyond her featured role in the "Canaan Days" scene, Forero is on stage throughout the show as a member of the ensemble.

"Unlike most productions with a couple of leads who carry the story, 'Joseph' is an ensemble-driven show," said England. "The performers in this cast have to be true triple-threats."

Indeed, the 90-minute production features nonstop singing and dance. Every word in the musical is sung, and every scene is choreographed from beginning to end.

"The hardest part for me definitely is remembering everything," said Forero. "From all the dance moves to all the singing harmonies, it's a lot to do at once."

But she's certainly up for the challenge.

"I think the audience is going to love the fact that there is never a dull moment. Every song is filled with life and fun."

Audiences will see the biblical story come to vibrant new life with colorful characters and costumes, modern choreography and a range of musical styles – from country western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and a Pharaoh who sings Elvis. With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show includes Broadway favorites like "Close Every Door," "Go Go Go Joseph" and "Any Dream Will Do."

"'Joseph' gives our performers a chance to showcase their talents in a huge way," said England. "The show is funny, inspiring and full of color, yet at its heart is a powerful message of love and unity for children and adults alike."

As for Forero, she's thrilled to be doing the show a second time. It's an opportunity to spend time with her cast mates while also honing her craft.

"I love being surrounded with the people I love, and I love watching the show getting put together and seeing all the progress we make," she said.

She is part of an epic cast of 50 youth performers ages 6-19 from across the East Valley. "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" performs at the Mesa Arts Center from Aug. 4-14. Tickets are $15 plus box office fees and are available at the Mesa Arts Center box office, at MesaArtsCenter.com keyword "technicolor," or by visiting ll-pa.org. Group discounts are available.
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Saturday, 18 May 2024

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