Herricks Players celebrate 43rd year with Rice, Webber classic

(Photo by Tom McCarthy)

The Herricks Players will be celebrating their 43rd year with a presentation of the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on Nov. 8-10 and Nov. 15-17.

This is the second year where John Hayes, founder of the program when it was known as the Herricks Community Players, will not be directing the production.

“It’s wildly entertaining. It has a huge live orchestra which you don’t see very often and it’s great theater right here in people’s backyards,” director John Mezzo said in an interview at a dress rehearsal Tuesday.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story is based on the “coat of many colors” story of Joseph from the Bible’s Book of Genesis.

Mezzo, who said he has been performing with the players on and off since 1991, said this is the first production he has directed for the Herricks Players.

“It’s been challenging, but rewarding,” Mezzo said.

“The Herricks Community Players has been in existence for over 40 years,” Mezzo said

Mezzo said that the organization has been rebranding itself, designing new logos, increasing outreach and changing the “Herricks Community Players.” They now go by “Herricks Players.”

Mezzo said that he even proposed to his now wife on stage in his first Herricks Players production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in 1991.

“We typically do two shows a year,” Mezzo said.

In the fall, the players host a small musical or a play and in the spring they do a “big” musical.

John Hayes was always the director and his wife, Carole, usually serving as a producer until he had to step down due to illness, Mezzo said.

The organization will become more democratic, Mezzo said, where the players’ board of directors will choose a new director for each production.

The Herricks Players mainly offer adult productions, but once in a while, they will pick shows requiring children, like this fall’s musical including a children’s choir.

The Herricks Players are sponsored by the Herricks Community Fund, Hayes said.

“The kids are amazing. They are vocally beautiful,” Mezzo said.

Hayes, while no longer directing or officially involved with the Herricks Players, stopped by Tuesday’s dress rehearsal to watch.

“I loved every minute of it,” Hayes said. “It was my gift to the community.”

Hayes said that he hopes the Herricks Players will live for another 40 years, noting that he was happy to see new faces in this fall’s production.

“I’m so happy they’re keeping it alive. That’s what I always feared. I was always afraid that when I couldn’t do this anymore that someone would come in and take it and it would only last for two or three years,” Hayes said.

Carole Hayes said that she and John want to pass the Herricks Players to the next generation. She joked that if she hadn’t joined the Herricks Players with her husband then she’d never see him because he’d never be home.

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Tom McCarthy

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