Arts, Featured

Spring Musical — April 5-7 and April 12-14

The Port City Players and the Seward Arts Council are again partnering to bring a fun, family-friendly musical to Seward. And, after three months of rehearsals, countless helpers from across the community, and assistance from three area churches, this Thursday is OPENING NIGHT for “JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT.”

The production will run April 5-7 @ Seward City Church (Mile 1.7 Nash Road) and April 12-14 @ Seward Church of the Nazarene (809 4th Avenue). Show times are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday each week at 7 PM with a matinee on Saturday the 7th and 14th at 1 PM. Friendly ticket prices are: Adults $12 / Children under 12 $8 / Family $35 (2 adult, 2 children or 1 adult 3 children) / $5 off total with a Seward Arts Council membership! You can purchase advance tickets at the Hotel Seward. Tickets will be available at the door while they last.

This is the first publicly performed musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and was originally written in 1968, one year before they wrote “Jesus Christ Superstar” and many years before “Evita,” “Cats,” and “Phantom of the Opera.” It follows the story of “Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors” from the Biblical book of Genesis. But is not a particularly “religious” play at all. It’s a fun romp through a story that is readily identifiable to many persons and, if the story isn’t already known, the themes are identifiable; dreaming big, sibling rivalry, power, and family.

This is unlike many of the productions that have taken place in Seward over the years because it is almost entirely sung through. The script is the lyrics to all of the songs. It goes from song to song to song for the whole production, with an intermission to give the singers a break. It was made very clear during auditions that every part is a singing part and there really isn’t a “backstage” for any of the performers. Everyone is “on” for almost the whole play.

The show is “told” to the audience by the “Narrator,” played by Linnea Hollingsworth. She opens up the story and interacts with the characters as the story unfolds around you. Soon you’ll hear about “Jacob,” played by Hank West, and his twelve sons. The primary conflict is that “Jacob” loves one of his sons, “Joseph,” more than the others and gives him a very special coat (made by the costumer, Susan Willet). “Joseph” is played by newcomer Cee Jay Levine and the rest of the story follows what happens after a father gives one son such a wonderful, jealousy-inducing gift.

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Any parent would know this favoritism can’t turn out well and it doesn’t. Joseph is sold to slavery. He has trouble with “Potiphar” and, more, with “Potiphar’s Wife.” He is thrown in prison and then finds himself as Pharaoh’s right-hand-man to lead Egypt through a famine and, eventually, save his own brothers. It’s a whirlwind of a ride with a happy ending.

Webber originally wrote this play as a “pop cantata” for a prestigious junior school in England and it was designed to be something that the whole school could sing and enjoy. Therefore, it was written to be fun and lighthearted. Audiences will surely find some song to tap along with. There are three fun solos from the brothers. There is the country-western inspired “One More Angel in Heaven” (sung by Margaret Black), the stereotypically French “Those Canaan Days” (sung by another, newcomer Rachel Gordon), and the Island-friendly “Benjamin Calypso” (sung by Caitlin DeGrave). Moreover, a highlight of the second half is the Elvis-like “Song of the King” (performed by our “Pharaoh,” Kyle Walker, and his “Pharaoh fawners”).

This will also be the first show to feature a new lighting system for Port City Players. Cliff Krug, the Lighting Director, has been hard at work on these portable lights which can be used in future productions in our community.

This year’s play is directed by Jim Doepken, pastor of Seward United Methodist Church and veteran of six Port City Players productions over the last five years. The Assistant Director is Carolyn Roloff-Walker. The musical director is Dr. Mark Turner. The stage manager is Amy Beich. PR and the Playbill is from Allen King. Set pieces were painted by Stephanie Mullaly.

Port City Players would like to thank the Seward Arts Council, Seward United Methodist Church, Seward City Church, and Seward Church of the Nazarene, who, together, have worked to keep ticket prices affordable this year.

Opening night is Thursday, April 5th. Get your tickets now at Hotel Seward.

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