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Lyric Theatre makes colorful casting choices for 'Technicolor Dreamcoat'

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Lyric Theatre makes a regular habit of bringing in national and regional talent, but for its production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" the company has gone a little more mainstream, casting former "American Idol" finalists Anthony Fedorov and Diana DeGarmo.

"Joseph" was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, is based on the biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. The favored son among 11 jealous brothers, he is betrayed, sold into slavery, and taken far from home. Throughout his ordeal, he uses wit, faith and his special gift of interpreting dreams to survive.

A fourth-season finalist on the television contest, Fedorov stars as Joseph. He became known for overcoming a near-fatal illness as a child that almost took his voice. After Fedorov was confirmed, Lyric reached out to third-season runner-up Diana DeGarmo about performing as the role of the narrator.

This is the first time that Federov or DeGarmo have been to Oklahoma City, and both have been surprised by the state of its arts scene.

"We were told that Civic Center was nice and that it had been redone. In your mind, that could be a million things, and we walked in and it is huge and it is gorgeous. I was like, 'Yes! All right, Oklahoma City!' I really appreciate that OKC respects the arts and keeps things fresh and new," DeGarmo said.

PERFORMANCE ANXIETY
She confessed a small bit of anxiety at performing at the Civic Center, but Federov is somewhat less anxious.

"I got to walk around naked in front of 2,000 people, so I'm not nervous at all," he said.

DeGarmo, who performed in Joseph as part of a choir in Atlanta when she was a girl, said the biggest challenge has been keeping all her parts in order. 

Federov who had never seen "Joseph" before, said the choreography has been his biggest challenge. He said he identifies with Joseph's honesty, selflessness and his desire to share his love with others.

"As you're growing up, you have to put up guards against people, because you can't be like that in real life, because either people are going to think that you're crazy or they'll take advantage of you," he said.

"Like Joseph's brothers," DeGarmo added.

She said that people get caught up on the camp factor and forget that "Joseph" is quite a sad story. Federov agreed, but said that the serious subject is well-balanced by the comedy.

"For the 'American Idol' fans who might be new to music theater, this is a modern musical for the whole family," DeGarmo said.

"You're going to be taken on a journey of lessons," Federov said. "This show is about love, hate, jealousy, redemption and forgiveness "? all these vital things that we need to understand to be good human beings," Federov said.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat stages at 8 p.m. Today-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday by Lyric Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker.

"?Eric Webb

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