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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat dates to 1968. It was the first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be performed publicly, and has been produced thousands of times since because of its engaging Old Testament story, with a theme of forgiveness and reconciliation, and its high-octane music and dancing.
This year St. Ursula Academy will add it to the school’s dramatic repertoire, with performances slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Franciscan Theatre of Lourdes University. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, and are available at 419-531-1693 or by visiting toledosua.org.
The musical tells the “Coat of Many Colors” Biblical story of Joseph and his 11 brothers, who take sibling rivalry to a new level. It has one spoken line, with the rest of the story told through song.
St. Ursula’s production has 70 cast members and fills the important role of narrator with three performers, senior Sierra Sturt, junior Kennedy Bohm, and sophomore Daniella Gilbert. Stephen Gullette, a senior at St. Francis de Sales High School, plays Joseph, a role he attained through an open audition. Other high schools with male actors in the show are Ottawa Hills and Toledo School for the Arts.
The production director is Elizabeth Horrigan, now in her 20th year of directing productions at the Catholic girls high school. Allison Krzyminski and Wen Chin Liu are musical co-directors. Heather Klatt oversees choreography, and Melissa Beland is in charge of set design and construction, assisted by Mary Elaine Schoen. Cathy Kerschner is costume designer.
“I love educational theater. I love high school theater because they’re willing to take so many risks,” Ms. Horrigan said of the crew and cast members.
Ms. Horrigan said the $40,000 production hopes to break even through ticket sales. The rights to the musical alone will be $4,000 to $4,500, she said, and theater rental will have to be paid. She depends on a team of volunteer moms to tie-die the brightly colored costumes.
The musical tells the story of Joseph, favorite son of his father Jacob, who presents him with the coat of many colors, to his brothers’ intense jealousy. They throw him into a well and sell him into bondage.
Eventually, after many incidents and songs, Joseph is released and rescues his brothers from famine. Recognizing their genuine sorrow for their treatment of him, Joseph forgives them and again dons the magnificent coat their father gave him. They are a family again.
The production also includes a nine-minute megamix, a medley remix of the show’s best songs that makes for “high-energy fun,” Ms. Krzyminski said.
Maddie Lewandowski, a St. Ursula junior, said she taken by the production’s musical diversity. Although not the first pick for Simeon, one of Joseph’s brothers, she landed the role after someone dropped out.
She sings the song “Canaan Days.” “I love it,” she said. “I was really lucky.”