Campus News

Go, go, go ‘Joseph!’

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In two weeks’ time, spring musical auditions will be over and the cast list posted. Meanwhile, Bethel prepares for the audition process of a musical that is unlike any show ever performed on its stage. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (known to many simply as “Joseph”) has been selected as the spring musical for Bethel’s 2013 theatre season. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this will be the first time “Joseph” has ever been performed on the Doc Reimer Stage. Unlike musicals performed in the past few years, this show consists entirely of music—there are no spoken lines—and is heavily dance-oriented. It also offers males the opportunity to take center-stage as most of the lead roles must be played by men. Director Deb Swerman said she thinks that doing a show like “Joseph” will be a challenge, but a good one. “In my head, I’m thinking the huge amount of dance will be the most difficult aspect of the show to pull off,” Swerman said. “We have a wonderful choreographer, so I think we’ll be able to do it, but I think it will be a challenge to do it. I think it will be a good challenge.” Swerman also noted that the men’s dances are to be very physical, involving a good amount of leaping and jumping, and that the dancers will have to be in good physical condition. “And a good choreographer will choreograph dance that will complement the dancers,” Swerman added. Stage Manager Allison Baker shares Swerman’s enthusiasm for the beginning of “Joseph.” “It tells a timeless story that we all have heard, but in a new and exciting way,” Baker said. “For example, it has everything from hoedowns to Elvis.” The storyline of “Joseph” is based on the Biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors, found in the book of Genesis. The narrator (traditionally the only female lead in the show except for Potiphar’s wife) tells Joseph’s story to the audience through song while the other characters act it out through music and dancing. Breaking from the traditional story, however, is the fact that the Pharaoh is styled after Elvis Presley. The show consists of many different types of music, including rock and disco, and the characters are meant to be portrayed in a much more eccentric fashion than their Biblical counterparts. There is a large ensemble involved in the cast, and it calls for more men than women—unlike many female-dominated shows of years past. This is where Baker hopes that the men of Bethel will step up in the audition process. “The show has a very large cast, and many of them have to be men,” Baker said. The show was chosen in part because it would offer more male roles. In the last few weeks remaining before auditions, Swerman and Baker are playing the waiting game to see if the men will be taking advantage of this opportunity. The cast is expected to consist of 34 people, including at least 17 men. With such a large cast, Swerman and Baker encourage any and all to come out for auditions, which will be held in the Everest-Rohrer Fine Arts Building at 6 p.m. on Oct. 9. Those auditioning are expected to sing one minute of a song (must be memorized and should not be sung a cappella, so a hard copy of the sheet music with an accompanist line is necessary) and will then be asked to adapt their song to different characteristics. Because there is no dialogue in the show, this will give Swerman and the other decision-makers an idea of each individual’s acting ability. Those wanting to be considered for the role of Joseph must also learn the song “Close Every Door,” and narrator hopefuls must learn “Go, Go, Go Joseph.” Callbacks will be held the following day, Oct. 10. Swerman encourages all to audition and, of course, to come see the show. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” debuts on the Doc Reimer Stage on Feb. 14 and runs through Feb. 16. She expects it to be well-accepted and lots of fun. Well actually, as Swerman put it, “It’s going to be ‘fun, fun, fun till your daddy takes your T-bird away!’”  
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