Campus News

‘Joseph’ dazzles in a record-setting weekend

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After months of hard work and hours of tireless practice in the week leading up to the performance, Bethel College’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" has come and gone. And boy did the hard work pay off! The musical, which took place from Feb. 14 – Feb. 16, totaled the highest attendance and highest revenue in one weekend in the history of Bethel’s theatre department. And on top of that, it was just plain fun. “The word that comes to mind when I think of this musical is ‘fun,’” said freshman Tim Horton who played the part of Dan. “'Joseph' is definitely a crowd pleaser.” And please the crowds it did! More than 4,100 people attended the musical over the weekend with two showings on Thursday, one on Friday and two more on Saturday.
Joseph, played by Tyler Mick, kneels before an Elvis Pharaoh in a dress rehearsal for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Bethel College. Photo by Ashley Albrecht.
The play followed the biblical character Joseph, played by Bethel senior Tyler Mick, as he went from the favorite son among twelve brothers to a slave in Egypt and finally became second in command over the entire kingdom of Pharoah. Along the way, there was singing, dancing and even a surprise Elvis sighting. “Most of the performance is with the whole chorus, not just a few main actors,” said sophomore Jimmy Bennett who played Joseph’s father, Jacob. “So it’s really fun interacting with everyone on stage at the same time doing a lot of dance numbers and singing together.” “It was music the entire time,” Mick said. The smiles and laughs did not stop as the stage came alive with color and excitement in a story of redemption and following one’s dreams. This was Mick’s first leading role, and he really enjoyed the experience. “The music is all kinds of fun,” Mick said, “…plus (I was) able to spend time with so many fun people on the cast and crew.” And he was not the only one who had a good time. “The script is fun, the music is fun, but beyond that the people involved were a lot of fun,” said senior theatre major Hannah Taubitz who played the narrator. “We just had a great time getting together and being ridiculous for most of the show.” Some crowd favorites were the performers who played Joseph’s 11 brothers. They said these roles were especially fun because they were able to just be themselves. “The brothers’ job was pretty much to have fun on stage and ham it up,” Horton said. “If we were all brothers, we would have acted that way,” said freshman Stefan Roose, who played Issachar. But it was not all fun and games. With 42 rehearsals over a period of a few months, many hours of hard work were put in behind the scenes before the lights ever hit the stage. In the week leading up to the performance, the stress was mounting. But just like Joseph, the cast and crew came through with flying colors. “They really cranked it up,” said Richard Young, the theatre director at Bethel College. The stress did take its toll, however, as a sudden bout of sickness hit the cast at the worst possible time – only hours before the Friday evening performance. In a production of this magnitude, however, one has to expect that there will be bumps along the road. “That happens with most musicals,” said Taubitz. “I’ve been involved with (past musicals) in some capacity and I can’t remember a single one where somebody wasn’t sick.” Everyone took the hardships in stride, and, if you ask Young, you only have to look as far as the crowd’s reaction to tell whether or not the production was a success. “The standing ovations pretty well speak for themselves,” Young said. In the aftermath of the performance, many have offered up their own praise for the musical. “I thought all the choreography was great,” said sophomore Nathaniel Montiel. “…especially the ‘70s part.” “My favorite part was (junior) Jesse Maurer as Pharoah," said senior Levi Riggenbach. "But he was really Elvis.” The response is a welcome reward to those who worked so hard to make Joseph a success. “I think everyone had about as much fun watching it as we did performing it,” Bennett said. “It’s very satisfying,” Mick said. “Even if only one person came, we’d go out and perform the entire show for them, but…it’s good to know that we’re appreciated.” With record numbers walking through the doors of the Everest-Rohrer Auditorium over the weekend, it seems safe to say that the performance was appreciated indeed. You can find more photos of the show here.
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