Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Wrap up in Joseph's dreamcoat

Wrap up in Joseph's dreamcoat

Members of the cast of "Joseph," Niki Penrose, left, Spencer Thomas, Kevin Wade, Dylan Millar, Amy Jo Weaver and Josie Allison, teach a valuable lesson through song and dance. Photo by Heather Black

"I closed my eyes, drew back the curtain,

To see for certain what I thought I knew,

Far far away, someone was weeping,

But the world was sleeping,

Any dream will do."

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have concocted some catchy tunes in their tenure as reigning knights of the musical theater world, but the theme tune from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is probably the best known—after the one about a guy who prances about in a mask and opera cape.

Continuing its attachment to the duo's work (it produced "Jesus Christ Superstar" two years ago), the fabulous St. Thomas Playhouse presents "Joseph" in full Technicolor, with a dream coat snatched from the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Once again, STP has come up with a whimsical blend of fun, frivolity, drama, despair and ultimately, hope. And the fact that you can sing along to most of the tunes is an added bonus (although they may ask you to refrain from doing so).

Based on the biblical tale of Joseph, the son of Jacob, the play deals with jealousy, revenge and ultimately, forgiveness, as Joseph's siblings (the biblical 11 brothers turn, out of necessity, into nine brothers and three sisters in STP's version), jealous of the attention their father bestows upon Joseph, sell him into slavery. Through a series of twists and turns, sprinkled with those oh-so-catchy tunes, Joseph wins the attention of the Pharaoh and becomes one of the most powerful men in Egypt.

Director Anna Johnson, whose previous STP productions have included "The Wizard of Oz," "Agnes of God," "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ Superstar," added her own spin to the production to highlight the important message of forgiveness the play delivers.

"The topic of forgiveness is one of the most powerful themes we can explore, and, on a large scale lots of things have been done to us as individuals, a community, a country and a world. It is important to focus on how powerful forgiveness is."

As director of children's ministries at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley, Johnson was keen to open up the message of the play to the younger generation. Her production starts in the present day in an inner-city playground. "It speaks to children and it teaches a lesson about forgiveness, which is the most important thing, and so I thought the playground would be a good place to start, as school is where you learn these things."

As the audience enters, the cast will be found playing in the schoolyard. The audience will then take their seats in bleachers surrounding the play area. From a schoolyard altercation the show segues into biblical times, as the modern-day narrator attempts to teach a lesson of forgiveness through the story of Joseph.

With a cast of more than 50, "Joseph" promises to be a fun-filled evening. Sarah Gorby plays the narrator; Joseph is played by Kevin Wade ("a fabulous, amazing actor and singer/dancer who is a senior at The Community School"); Chris Campbell plays the Pharaoh, and Tim Eagan makes a cameo as Elvis. Father Brian Baker also makes a guest appearance as Jacob, the father of Joseph.

With choreography by Sara Gorby and Paula Caputo, scenic design by Joseph Lavigne, lighting by Jay Cutler and costumes by Michele Jefferson, this show promises to be a professional looking, spectacular feeling, rollickin' good time.


"Joseph" opens at the nexStage Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 13, and runs until Sunday, Oct. 16. Shows begin at 6:30 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets are $12 for youths and $19 for adults. To purchase tickets visit Iconoclast Books in Ketchum or Hailey or call Anna Johnson at 726-5349, ext. 13.

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