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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Joseph’s Technicolor Coat revives CMT

As children, many kids attend Bible class where they would learn verses and stories of the book’s heroes. Most know of the Old Testament tale of Joseph and his colored coat. The story has been retold down generations, from parent to child, remaining a lesson of God and morals.

Rarely are such sagas recreated as musical stage productions ready to awe the audience with theatrical drama.

The Children’s Musical Theaterworks’ (CMT) dedication and hard work peaked, as they performed their final dress rehearsal of the Broadway success, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, March 6.

Full of actors ages 12 and up, the production continues CMT’s reputation for presenting the best performers in town while giving classic Broadway shows fresh makeovers.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the recreation of Joseph (Daniel Rodriguez), the Biblical figure known for gifts with dream interpretation. Joseph is doted on by his father, Jacob (Greg A. Lapp), who favors him over his brothers in memory of his favorite wife. As a testament to his love for his son, Jacob presents Joseph with the famed Technicolor Dreamcoat, while his eleven brothers “turn a shade of green”.

Spurred on by uncontrollable jealousy, the brothers sell “poor, poor Joseph” to a band of Ishmaelites. They tell their father (by way of a country western act) that Joseph was killed by a goat while their brother is sold to Potiphar (Lapp), the wealthiest nobleman of Egypt.

Joseph then embarks on an adventure of every extreme: Potiphar accuses him for his wife’s infidelity, but Joseph, lead by his gift of dream interpretation, is soon taken under the wing of the Pharaoh (Brian Pucheu) himself.

Onstage, the tale of Joseph literally comes alive with choreography and music of every flavor. From a spoof of Elvis Presley and his fan girls to a disco fever groove and a hilarious Parisian melodrama, each number represents a different genre of music.

CMT captures the humor and charm that made the original Broadway production so memorable. The music never ceased, flowing without any hindrance of a boring dialogue.

Many are unaware of the minor hitch the CMT Company met last Feb., that deterred them from swiftly preparing a show. The members already began rehearsing Jesus Christ, Superstar, their original show, when they received the call that set the company back.

“We got a phone call from the Rogers and Hammerstein Company and they said they’d put a hold on the play for a little while, but that it wasn’t a big deal,” Elizabeeth Wettstead, Marketing Director, said. “Finally we got a hold of the president of the company, and apparently, they’re really particular about the dates we can perform the show. It had only been nine months since they’d brought the show to town and they required a year.”

With a quick decision, they switched plays and began the auditioning process, rehearsals, set and costume designs again. Director S. Eric Day, though understandably stressed during the time of the switch, knew that Joseph was an easy replacement.

“We lost Jesus Christ, so we put his great, great, great grandfather a hundred times over on stage instead,” Day said.

Even with a few days lost from the rehearsals, the actors and actresses of Joseph never let the setback deter them. They performed with vigor and excitement, dedicating themselves to their roles without the fear of embarrassment.

Though many of these performers are titled “amateurs”, most have been involved with CMT productions for several years. Bullard High School senior, Mark Bartlett, in the role of Simeon, began his career with CMT as a freshman and has starred in too many musicals to count.

“I quit counting the shows I’ve been in,” Bartlett said. “I’ve been onstage since I was six. Simeon isn’t the biggest part I’ve ever had; I played Jonny Warner in Zombie Prom last summer.”

Though not the marquee role, Bartlett completely carried ‘Those Canaan Days’ with an appropriately outrageous French air, complete with a beret and cigarette. Bartlett’s performance picked up the slack of the last number (the Elvis style ‘Song of the King’), during which the slightly auto-piloted ensemble lacked energy, despite Pucheu’s perfect performance of the king of rock ‘n roll.

Daniel Rodriguez, 20, had to follow a big part as Joseph and tackled the task admirably. Overcoming the occasionally overpowering volume of the music, Rodriguez took control of the show even more so than the narrators (Joey Guidici and Miranda Mayo).

“This is what I always want to do,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not like anything else in the world. I’m planning on going to Fullerton for their drama and arts program, because really, I have to be onstage to be happy.”

As the director, Day took the artistic liberties his license entitles him and aimed for the feel of a children’s story.

“I love the beginning process of imagination,” Day said. “I wanted the play to be like a pop-up book, so you’ll see lots of books onstage and things like that. Seeing it brought to life makes the hard work worth it.”

CMT will put on several more weekend performances from March 7-15, with evening shows at 7:30 P.M. and matinees at 2 P.M. They will also perform two school shows on March 7 and 14, at 9:30 A.M. To buy tickets, call (559) 442-3140.

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