Notre Dame students are gearing up for their next production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, which hits the Memorial Centre stage Feb. 12th-14th.
Curtain is at 7 p.m. with a matinee on Feb. 14th at 1 p.m.
From the musical library of Rodgers and Hammerstein with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, the Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colours comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable.
Joseph, his father’s favourite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams.
When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged.
He is purchased by Potiphar where thwarting advances from Potiphar’s wife land him in jail.
When news of Joseph’s gift to interpret dreams reaches the Pharaoh, Joseph is well on his way to becoming second in command.
Eventually his brothers, having suffered greatly, unknowlingly find themselves groveling at the feet of the brother they betrayed but no longer recognize.
After testing their integrity, Joseph is left to decide his brothers’ fate.
Set to an engaging ‘cornucupia’ of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble gum pop and rock, this Old Testament tale emerges both ‘timely and timeless.’
“I am so proud of them,” said teacher Stephanie Layden – who is directing the production – of her cast and crew. When she heard she would be staging the show, she was thrilled as it’s the first musical she ever saw as a child and it left an indelible impression. “It’s the first thing that was really awe-inspiring to me,” she recalls. “I remember the colours so vividly.”
Meanwhile, with such a well-known production, there is a certain ‘sticking to the original’ that you want to hold onto while still adding your own creative touches here and there.
“With this show in particular, people have expectations of what it should look like,” she explains. “It’s a crowd-pleaser, it’s a family show and it’s something where we really wanted to stay true to the original vision. We’ve added a few different comedic twists and that’s where really where our creative vision took us – a few scenes that we are making a little more ‘campy’.”
Cameron Chapman plays Joseph, Jill Goranson and Yvette Lagrange are the narrators, and William Abash is the Elvis-inspired Pharaoh.
Layden said there are 33 students in the production, not including 10 students that make up the technical theatre production team.
“What’s really neat about the program at Notre Dame is that it’s really student-focused. So I’ve had students doing choreography, I’ve had students creating costumes, and others have done all of the lighting, set design and set building. We also have a pit band performing with us instead of a recording, and it’s comprised of students as well. It’s really been a school-wide collaborative effort. I think that’s the coolest thing about working on this production.”
The challenge is also increased with a musical – it’s not just reciting dialogue in a dramatic way, but there’s the singing and choreography woven into the mix as well. There are about 22 musical numbers in the show.
And Layden said the students have exceeded expectations.
“At the beginning of the year, I set the bar pretty high and they have met it and exceeded it,” she said.
Ultimately, it all goes back to that sense of everyone focusing on a single project and giving it their all. “It’s a huge production – it’s massive, and you really need everyone onboard with dedication and teamwork, and we haven’t been let down.”
Tickets are available at Notre Dame’s office or from any musical theatre cast or crew member.