‘Go, go, go Joseph!’ Draper Historic Theatre presents Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musicalMar 17, 2021 10:03AM ● By Katherine Weinstein
Pharaoh, played by Justin Stanford, strikes a pose in the Draper Historic Theatre production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” (Photo courtesy Mindy Eckroth/Draper Historic Theatre)
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
Fifty years ago, the original recording of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice was released in the United States. Since then, the musical retelling of the Old Testament story of Joseph and his coat of many colors has become a beloved staple of American theater. Draper Historic Theatre will present this classic March 12 through 27.
“We started this journey a year ago,” explained Assistant Director Melissa Van Dam. The pandemic caused this production of “Joseph” to be postponed twice in 2020. For the production team and actors who have been with the show from the beginning, it has taken on a whole new meaning as a labor of love.
“This is a show we’ve been working on for over a year,” said Director Mindy Eckroth. “We’re so excited to be putting it on, there’s a new energy behind it. We’re just grateful to be here.”
“There’s a feeling of perseverance,” added Van Dam. “We have a really strong bond, like family,” she said of the cast.
One of the main themes of “Joseph” is, in fact, family. Anthony Limb, one of the actors who plays the title role, explained, “I really love that it’s kind of a silly story in the way that it’s told, but it’s very touching. The story is about a family that falls apart and then comes back together. It’s about forgiveness.”
This is not the first time that Limb has played the role. Eleven years ago, as a high school student, Limb donned the famous coat of many colors for an after-school production in his home town of Clearfield. His mother sewed the costume and it is seeing the spotlight once again. “It’s the same coat I wore all those years ago,” said Limb.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is arguably one of the most often-performed musicals in the state of Utah. Draper Historic Theatre has put its own unique spin on the show, however.
When it comes to the role of the omniscient Narrator, audiences at Draper Historic Theatre will be seeing double. Amber Ethington and Sarah Schaeperkoetter are each playing the Narrator as the role has been split in two. “We interpret the songs and dialogue differently,” explained Ethington. “We build a rapport with each other as well as everybody else in the show.”
“The role of the Narrator is so versatile and requires such a broad range,” said Schaeperkoetter. “It’s fun to interact with the other characters and the audience.”
As in many Draper Historic Theatre productions, the main roles in the show have been double cast. There are actually four actors in total playing the Narrator and two playing Joseph, Pharaoh and other roles. Audiences will see different actors depending on the performance they attend.
This particular production also features innovative lighting design and orchestration that was digitally transposed and recorded by the music director. The costumes will incorporate face coverings for the actors and the blocking and choreography has been re-done with social distancing in mind.
“We are just so grateful to be able to make art during these times. We’re being super, super careful,” explained Eckroth.
Measures are being taken to keep audience members safe as well including routine cleaning and sanitization of the theater, mask requirements and distance between seated patrons.
Several cast members spoke of how “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” resonates with the moment we are all living through. Limb finds inspiration in the story. “Joseph is an innocent person thrown into challenging circumstances who keeps his faith in God while coming through it,” he said. He feels that the show is more impactful now and invited audience members to come and “take something special back home with you.”
“Honestly, with everything that divides us right now, this show is all about what brings us together—overcoming hardship and finding family again,” said Van Dam.
Schaeperkoetter summed it up: “‘Joseph’ appeals to all audiences. It’s so entertaining, relevant and vibrant you can’t help but smile when you see it.”
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” directed by Mindy Eckroth, will be presented at Draper Historic Theatre March 12-27. Draper Historic Theatre is located at 12366 S. 900 East. The ticket hotline is 801-572-4144 during performance weeks. Tickets may also be purchased via the theatre website at drapertheatre.org.