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Razzle dazzle

By Staff
RHS senior shines in 'Joseph' play
Kim West
FLORENCE – Clad in a shimmery gold-and-blue jumpsuit and armed with a dead-on impression of Elvis, Tucker Hammock pulled off a dual role in front of a sell-out crowd at the newly-renovated Shoals Theater Saturday night.
Hammock, an 18-year-old senior at Russellville High School, played the supporting role of Pharaoh as Elvis Presley in last week's four-day run of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," a musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and based on the Bible story of Joseph from the book of Genesis.
"This play was fun because I had to portray a pharaoh and an actor at the same time," said Hammock, who starred as Jean Val Jean in the Birmingham production of "Les Mis/rables" last fall. "This was a lot happier and more upbeat show than Les Mis, and I also got to dance."
In addition to singing numbers such as "Song of the King (Seven Fat Cows) in the style of Elvis, Hammock also had to emulate the legendary singer's hip-shaking dance moves.
"I kind of grew up with Elvis – my grandparents were big Elvis fans," Hammock said. "When I was three years old, I watched an Elvis movie and I remember pulling up some chairs and playing guitar."
Since the age of six, Hammock has acted in more than 20 productions, including "Beauty and the Beast," "High School Musical" and "Godspell." He also plays piano and guitar, performs with the RHS Singers and has been selected to the All-State Choir for the past five years.
In addition to performing, he still finds time for his other passion – basketball.
"I don't really have a favorite – it depends what day it is because some days I'm all fired up about basketball and other days I'm thinking about acting," said Hammock, a 6-1, 190-pound forward for Russellville, which finished as the Class 5A state runners-up last season. "Both are equally fun to me and I try to do both to the best of my ability."
Alan Flowers, who directed the Shoals Theatre production of "Joseph," said Hammock has a flair for acting.
"He's an absolutely wonderful person to work with and he's extremely talented and mature for his age," said Flowers, an instructor at the University of North Alabama. "He has a real flair for musical theater and he fit the part of the Pharaoh of everyone who tried out because of his size and understanding of the part.
"We had a tremendous response, and it was a huge success at all four performances. I was delighted with the turnout and support."
Hammock said the audience's response affects his performance.
"I kind of feed off the crowd's energy, and a little help from the audience goes a long way because they can get your confidence going," said Hammock, who plans to major in either music business or musical theater in college. "I just feel at home on stage, and I want to try doing it for a living."
Susan DeArman, an English teacher and former drama instructor at RHS, said Hammock has a natural ability to perform.
"He's as good as any seasoned adult I've seen perform," said DeArman. "He's well-liked by his peers within a play, and he can do whatever he's asked to do because it comes naturally to him."

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