News Column

'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' brings Bible story to life

July 17, 2014

By Donna Gable Hatch, Kerrville Daily Times, Texas



July 17--There are many great stories between the covers of the Bible, one of which comes from the book of Genesis and follows the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. The parable was plucked from the Holy Book by the writing team of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber and transformed into a Broadway blockbuster titled "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Playhouse 2000's production of the musical opens Friday at the Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts, 910 Main St., and continues through Aug. 2. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 27. Tickets range from $10 to $25.

The humorous musical retelling follows the trials and triumphs of Joseph -- Israel's favorite son, and a man who is blessed with prophetic dreams -- as he is sold into Egyptian slavery by his 11 jealous brothers and comes out the other side a stronger person.

The musical score is full of unforgettable Broadway tunes -- a cornucopia of musical styles, from calypso and rock 'n' roll to country -- including "Those Canaan Days," "Any Dream Will Do" and "Close Every Door."

"We chose 'Joseph' because it gives us another chance to put everyone from children to grandparents on stage together," director Jeffrey Brown said. "It's also a wonderful show for families to see together, which is a big reason we work so hard to put together outstanding performances using local volunteers."

The musical, he said, "is a very free-wheeling show; there are lots of opportunities for improvising the action. It's fun, but it takes a lot of time and creative energy to keep everything moving forward."

Heather Cunningham and Amelia Weatherford choreographed the production, and the musical director is Michael Kahl, an assistant professor of music at Schreiner.

The role of Joseph is played by Tony Farmer, known to audiences for his role in Playhouse 2000's production of "Happily Ever Laughter," the Point Theatre's musical "2 by 5," and Yellow Lab Production's "Equus."

"I think what really speaks to me about the character of Joseph is his childlike innocence," Farmer said. "Joseph is just a loving kid, much like I would describe my younger self, who wanted to share his dreams with those around him that he loved."

The most challenging part of the role, Farmer said, "has been having to learn how to manage my choreography in my amazing colored coat that I wear."

Farmer said the show has provided him a chance to perform with some of his friends, including his partner, Adam Guerra, who portrays Joseph's brother, Naphtali, who Brown said delivers a show-stopping performance in the second act. The song is titled "Benjamin Calypso," and it is "a themed pastiche song that serves to profess the innocence of a brother accused of stealing," Brown said.

Wright Roussel, who portrays Joseph's father, Jacob, said the show's choreography and rousing music has been demanding, but the cast has soared to meet the challenge.

"The show has been choreographed in such a professional and brilliant manner," Roussel said. "Our director, music director and two choreographers are so good at what they do."

Farmer agreed.

"Someone should see this show because it is a colorful, happy, life-filled and very family-oriented show. There is so much energy and excitement on stage," Farmer said. "The audience will be singing along by the end of the show, and there is no way to get these beautiful tunes out of your head when you leave."

The show's large cast also features Michelle Sorenson as The Narrator, Chris Distel as The Pharaoh and the husband/wife team of Marcus Goodyear and Amy Goodyear as Capt. Potiphar and Mrs. Potiphar, respectively.

In addition to the featured players, the cast includes more than 20 actors who portray additional brothers, various Egyptians, "Hairy Ishmaelites," and more, including a children's chorus.

"The purpose of 'Joseph' is for the audience to have a good time, while hearing a little more about an important and historical story," Brown said. "If we can get everyone up, dancing and singing along with us in the finale, we'll have done our jobs."

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(c)2014 the Kerrville Daily Times (Kerrville, Texas)

Visit the Kerrville Daily Times (Kerrville, Texas) at www.dailytimes.com

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Source: Kerrville Daily Times (TX)


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