In Spring 2018 the Port City Players will produce the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” It will be directed by Jim Doepken and produced by Kathy Martin and will use a small group of instrumentalists for accompaniment. There is almost no dialogue in this musical with almost all of the story (the story of Joseph from the biblical book of Genesis) told through song. It has varied musical stylings, with country western, French, Elvis-y, and Calypso themed music. If you listen to the soundtrack, you’ll be singing along in no time.
The plan is to use two different churches in the Seward area for the production on the 2nd and 3rd weekends of April — after Easter for the churches. Auditions will occur early in December.
As our community looks ahead and as community members wonder how they can participate, the Port City Players thought it was best to help people understand the production and what we’ll be looking for:
- This is a singing-centered production and requires some main characters with some “chops.” Yes, there are roles with less singing, but everyone sings. One thing that’s cool about this is much of the “line learning” can be just singing along with the soundtrack in the car or around the house. While we’ll want people to act, it’s definitely centered on vocals.
- While there will be some roles in the chorus for upper elementary age children, the main roles will primarily be for adults or youth. The size of our venues will be factor in the size of our cast.
- We will need help behind the scenes. We’ll need a CHOREOGRAPHER (mostly “movement” and not “dance.”) We’ll need help with lighting and stage set-up and take down — in two locations. We’ll need a PIANIST. We need help with costume and set production. It takes a lot of persons to make this happen.
If you’re thinking about auditioning, here’s a brief description of the characters in the play:
- NARRATOR — Usually played by a female and truly is the main vocal lead of the production. Is on stage for all of the show. Big part.
- JACOB — Father of Joseph and 11 other boys. Not as much singing.
- JOSEPH — This is the male lead with several solo songs. He is, after all, who the play is about. Need to have a strong tenor in this role.
- JOSEPH’S ELEVEN BROTHERS — Yes, in the story, Joseph has 11 brothers. In many community theater productions (where male performers are at a premium), some of these “brothers” are “sisters.” We will undoubtedly have some females in these roles. RUEBEN, SIMEON, LEVI, JUDAH, DAN, NAPTHALI, GAD, ASHER, ISSACHAR, ZEBULUN and BENJAMIN. While the brothers do most everything together, three of them have bigger singing roles. REUBEN Takes the lead on the country-western ”One More Angel in Heaven,” SIMEON takes the lead on the French ballad-like, “Those Canaan Days,” and JUDAH takes the lead on “Benjamin Calypso.”
- POTIPHAR — He is a powerful Egyptian and is front and center for the Charleston-esqe “Potiphar” song. He is often played by the same actor as Jacob. Not a whole lot of singing.
- POTIPHAR’S WIFE — She sings in the “Potiphar” song. She tries to seduce Joseph.
- BAKER AND BUTLER — Joseph meets them in prison and interprets their dreams. They are usually played by a couple of Joseph’s brothers.
- PHARAOH — The most powerful main in Egypt and has one of the show-stealing numbers, the Elvis-like “Song of the King.” This actor needs to have a big voice and must really like to ham it up. It can be played by one of the brothers.
- WIVES — We’ll need a few wives for the brothers for some numbers who will also double in other roles. They will have added singing responsibilities.
- ADULT CHORUS — Lots of singing, but much of it to the side of the stage
- CHILDREN’S CHORUS — Lots of singing, but much of it to the side of the stage
So, if you’re adding it up, there might be 20 named cast members (including “wives”) and then chorus members. Yes, there will be some roles for those who really don’t want to be front and center. But everyone sings in this one. And we’re going to need some strong vocalists in the leads. Practices will start in January and much of it will be vocal work with Dr. Mark Turner to get the songs down.
We will be letting the community know when the December audition times are. In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can contact Jim Doepken (firstname.lastname@example.org). And you are more than welcome to attend one of the Port City Players meetings. The next one is October 9th at the Breeze Inn. We’ll be talking Joseph Costumes starting at 6 PM.
Also, if you dream of a particular production for our community (perhaps another HUGE production like “Peter Pan” or another kid-centered production like “Charlie Brown”) join us at the Port City Players meetings and we can try to make it happen. And perhaps you’d like to direct one yourself.