“Joseph” brings Broadway production to town
Joseph (Bridger DeJong) in bondage after Potiphar sends him to prison
Congratulations to everyone involved in the fantastic production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s classic sung-through musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The play, which is famously demanding in terms of its rapid pacing and high production design, was professionally directed, acted and staged, and thunderously applauded by the audience.
Director David Teeples, along with assistant directors Elyzabeth Teeples, Travis Huckaby, Kellianne Huckaby, and Chalae Teeples put on an exceptionally well-orchestrated production that spotlighted a number of impressive young leads, and allowed a chance for everyone involved to shine throughout the play. Considering that the play involves almost no dialogue outside of singing, the performance was executed with a high degree of precision and momentum.
Choreographers Lacey Joy Clark and Ashley Price, as well as student choreographer Kaleigh Worrell, also did a fantastic job of making the scenes dynamic and using the stage space efficiently to maximize the visual dimensions of the story. Costumes by Shannon Worrell and Carolee Cox were another key component of the production. Along with the makeup, costuming choices were great adaptations of the original stage productions, with some modern updates that helped keep the story fresh nearly 55 years after its first run.
Not enough can be said about the Lighting, run by Jeff Richins, Elyzabeth Teeples, and Conner Worrell, which was key to the moods required throughout the play’s evolving storyline. The set design and props were outstanding, with Jeni Sperry, Jeremy DeJong, and Ada Campbell deserving special praise for the quality and craft involved. The stage crew of Mordecai Charles (who celebrated a birthday), Ada Campbell, Jeni Sperry, Ella Sperry, Paige Wilson, and Kala Layton keeping things moving swiftly throughout.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is a retelling of the story of the Biblical Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers, his imprisonment by Potiphar, and his rise to power in the court of Pharoah. Joseph (Bridger DeJong) receives a coat of many colors (red and yellow and green and brown…) from his father Jacob (Daniel Lenaghen), which causes his eleven brothers to become jealous and throw him into a well. He is saved from death by passing merchants, but sold into slavery to Potiphar (also Daniel Lenaghen), whose wife (Makiya Shulz) eventually accuses him of assault after he rejects her advances.
Joseph is thrown into jail, where he gains notoriety as the interpreter of the dreams of the baker (Kaleigh Worrell) and the Butler (Sarah Young). Eventually, word of this gets to Pharoah (Kolton Cox), who calls upon Joseph to interpret his troubling dreams. Joseph predicts an upcoming famine, allowing the kingdom to plan ahead and avoid catastrophe. In the meantime, Jacob’s family suffers through the famine, leading them to approach Pharoah for food. Joseph, after initially teasing his youngest brother Benjamin (Jayson Spencer), reveals his identity to his family, forgives them, and everyone is reunited in a final song medley.
Throughout the play, the Narrator (Lolee Teeples) and her two companions (Raegan Smith and Natalie Webster) provide a running commentary on events, almost entirely in the form of song. The demands on all of the actors to not only memorize lines, tunes, and choreography were high, but the Narrator and backup singers moreso than anyone else as they were threaded through nearly every scene in the play. All three of them did an impressive job, with a range of standout dance and song numbers, as well as a need to convey energy and clarity throughout. Teeples definitely created a consistent and impressive vocal throughline for the play.
The other major players in the production were also impressive. In order for the character of Joseph to work, the actor needs to be convincing and charismatic, which Bridger DeJong handled to a high degree. From a captivating spotlight performance in “Close Every Door” to leading large ensembles in numbers like “Pharoah’s Dream Explained,” DeJong was magnetic in all of his scenes.
Similarly, Kolton Cox owned the role of Pharoah, an Elvis-like rock star in the classic Webber production. Playing a character with the swagger of an Elvis and properly conveying the confidence necessary to put the character over can be difficult, but Cox was equal to DeJong’s energy in their shared scenes. Additionally, Cox excelled at capturing a King-style vocal performance—so much so that he was able to carry to the back of the room during a microphone outage without missing a beat.
Daniel Lenaghen should also be noted for filling two distinct roles—Jacob and Potiphar—and making them distinct from one another in voice and performance. His Potiphar, especially, managed to be menacing and entertaining at once. Makiya Shulz, as Potiphar’s wife, was also impressive at conveying the emotional energy of the scene, which was physicality as much as song.
While the major players were all very impressive, those fulfilling the smaller roles were also fantastic. The production has been in rehearsal for long hours over the last few months, and it certainly shows. The timing, staging, and choreography of the often dozens of actors on stage at once was extremely well done. The large ensemble numbers, from “Jacob and Sons” to “One More Angel in Heaven” to “Joseph all the Time” and the “Megamix” were visually captivating, and the dance choreography was very well done, especially considering a full cast on stage, allowing many of the actors spotlight dances throughout.
In addition to the marquee players, Curtis Huckaby played Reuben, Gavin Price played Simeon, Hayes Teeples played Judah, Aubree Palmer played Judah’s wife. Levi and his wife were played by Joshua Pickett and Serena Whipple; Naphtali and his wife were played by Joe Willie and Lindi Young; Issachar and his wife were played by Adi Schow and Alivia Wladron; Asher and his wife were played by Tabitha Webster and Myriam Teeples; Dan and his wife were played by Aubrey Corbett and Daisy Huckaby; Zebulon and his wife were played by Maren Sperry and Makiya Shulz; Gad and his wife were played by Jens Huckaby and Madelyn Shawl and Pharoah’s handmaidens were played by Johannah Zabriskie and Mary Zabriske.
The Choir, Egyptian servants, staff, and Ishmaelites were played by Katy Carter, Abbie Cox, Bentley Jones, Doris Young, Nicole White, William Whipple, Kallen Price, London Hess, Daisy Huckaby, Anna Chipman, Jade Charles, Bentley Teeples, Cumorah Carter, McCall Clark, Dot Teeples, Kayla Wilson, Saige Cox, Mary Zabriskie, and Johannah Zabriskie.
Another major star of the production was the design and construction of the stage itself. In order to capture the famously bombastic nature of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and the theme of the play, the set is an impressive design, with dynamic lighting elements, a large pyramidal platform, and dozens of impressive flourishes. Lighting was used very artfully to color such set pieces as “Those Canaan Days” (in which Jacob’s family laments their current state of despair), “Benjamin Calypso” (a reggae lament about Benjamin’s seeming fate) and “Close Every Door” (which finds Joseph in prison). The Pharoah’s standout set piece “Song of the King” was an impressively staged element that did an excellent job of recreating a Vegas atmosphere on the stage.
Sponsors for the event include F.M., Anne G. and Beverly B. Bistline Foundation, Gary and Carolee Cox (costume sponsors), Hess Lumber (set sponsors), David and Chalae Teeples, ATC Communications, Edith’s Collective, Ireland Bank, Idaho Community Foundation, Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, Oxford Peak Arts Council, the Malad Valley Theater Guild, and the Malad High School Drama Club.
The remaining performances will be held on March 9, 10, and 11 at 7:00 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday 11 at 2:30 p.m. Make a trip to the MES Auditorium to support the Oxford Peak Arts Council and the Malad High School Drama Club, as well as dozens of talented local actors! Tickets are $12 at the door.