‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ Produced by Draper Arts Council
Joseph, played by Trent English, is held aloft at the end of the song “Go, Go, Go Joseph.” —Kelly Cannon
Gallery: ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ Produced by Draper Arts Council [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Kelly Cannon | firstname.lastname@example.org
The biblical story was brought to life during the Draper Arts Council’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Performed the first weekend of June at the Draper Amphitheater, “Joseph” was the first production of the summer sponsored by the arts council.
The musical was directed by Susan DeMill, who has directed “Joseph” 15 times throughout the course of her career.
“The community really loves it and it’s a great story,” DeMill said. “There is great music and it’s a happy story with a good ending.”
Written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical follows the biblical story of Joseph, the son of Jacob and the brother of 11 other sons. The brothers are jealous of Joseph’s coat of many colors given to him by Jacob. The brothers attempt to kill Joseph but instead, sell him into slavery.
In Egypt, Joseph is a slave to a millionaire, Potiphar. Joseph becomes a high-ranking slave when Potiphar’s wife makes advances on him. When Potiphar walks in on them, Potiphar jumps to conclusions and Joseph is thrown in jail. While there, Joseph gains a reputation for dream interpretation.
Soon after, the pharaoh is plagued with strange dreams. Joseph is asked to interpret the dreams. Joseph, upon hearing the dream, advises the pharaoh to prepare for a seven-year famine after seven years of plenty. Joseph is then promoted to the second most powerful man under the pharaoh.
During the famine, Joseph’s family travels to Egypt where they beg for food from Joseph, whom they do not recognize. Joseph tricks his brothers into believing the youngest, Benjamin, has stolen a cup. Joseph then reveals himself and reunites with his family once again.
The cast began work on the play at the end of March with full rehearsals starting in April. DeMill said the musical is more difficult than other musicals because it is a sung script with very little dialogue in between.
“You have to learn vocals and choreography, which is difficult,” DeMill said. “Dialogue is relatively easy to learn.”
Because of the difficulty of a sung script, DeMill specifically looked for actors who could sing, dance and act, what she referred to as a “triple threat.” DeMill was very pleased with the resulting cast.
“This cast is amazing. This is one of the most talented casts I’ve worked with,” DeMill said. “And they’re all nice people. It makes it a pleasure to work with kind people.”
When it came to technical aspects of the job, DeMill applauded the women in the show. While the men only have to change small aspects of their costumes, such as adding a hat, the women do full costume changes from scene to scene.
DeMill’s favorite part of the play is the end when Joseph is reunited with his father.
“As fluffy and lighthearted as this play is, that’s a very touching moment,” DeMill said.
Trent English plays the role of Joseph. English has known DeMill for many years and has stayed in contact with people involved with the Draper Arts Council. This production was his third time playing Joseph.
“At the beginning, he’s very humble, almost to the point of being oblivious,” English said, describing his interpretation of Joseph. “He goes through this spiritual journey and he’s a very strong character by the end of the show.”
For English, the most difficult part of playing Joseph is the emotional aspects of the performance.
“At the beginning, everyone is happy and together and then it goes to a dark area,” English said. “The most difficult part is trying to keep that consistent.”
English’s favorite part of the play is the song “Close Every Door,” which takes place when Joseph is locked in jail.
“It’s very emotionally powerful,” English said. “It’s the pinnacle of when his situation reaches rock bottom.”
To learn more about the Draper Arts Council and their upcoming performances, visit http://www.draperartscouncil.org. λ