Gardner Community Theater, Gardner, KS presented the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat recently as its summer musical with an overabundance of talent and a wealth of upcoming younger talent in the chorus of elementary singers and actors.
Based on the Biblical story of Joseph, the musical takes the tale and blows it up to an extravagant Broadway show with bright lights, costumes, and an array of music that’s guaranteed to please everyone in the audience. And, be expecting some surprises. Calypso, Salsa, Rock ‘n Roll, Country, Cabaret-styel, ballads, anthems, narratives–all styles of music entertain audiences and tell the story.
Rock ‘N Roll in a Bible story? You betcha. And Elvis, too. Sound crazy? Sound fun? Well, it certainly entertains and always draws big crowds. Gardner Community Theater’s version filled the bill on all fronts. From the leads to the stage crews, all involved in the show presented an elaborate summer musical that used the talent and workmanship of the city’s best.
Credit show director Matt Jordan and his Musical Director Paul Fibelkorn with casting strong voices from top to bottom and applaud Franci Talamantez for choreographing a show that takes on the challenge of blending youth into a show designed and about adults. Splendid job by all three.
The limited run of Joseph and the Amazaing Technicolor Dreamcoat performed five play-dates from June 27-30, and probably could have extended one more week had the success and excitement been foreseen. Perhaps subsequent shows could be extended for an entire week or for two weekends. With a production of this caliber, publicity could have filled the Gardner Edgerton High School Auditorium for a few more performances.
The famous story, from the Book of Genesis serves as a story with great drama and valuable lessons. The lessons taught by the story ring true, still today. Even though Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes near the start of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s career, it remains on of the most produced of his pieces. The simple story, tuneful music, few sets, and few set changes makes it very popular with theater groups and schools alike.
The story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, focuses on Joseph, the favored son of Jacob. The story tells a tale of jealousy, victory, and forgiveness in one of The Bible’s most memorable stories. The musical contains no spoken dialogue and the entire story is told in song. A narrator sings the bridges between scenes and actors portray the sons of Jacob who learn to despise Joseph.
As such, they capture him, destroy his coat, and sell him into slavery in Egypt. In Egypt as a slave, Joseph rises from the depths of society to become the king’s favorite adviser–well, until sex creeps into the Biblical tale. Then, it’s the dungeon again for Joseph. Only his dreams and vision save him and lead to victory and forgiveness.
“The show unites young and old alike,” Matt Jordan, director, said. “It’s a true community demographic, and I look for our audience to be much of the same.”
Actors range in age from five to 60 in the show. And, with this show, 38 local students make up the choir. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Gardner-style involves members of the entire Gardner community.
“Given the family theme of the story line, it’s fitting that entire families are acting and singing together in this GCT production,” Jordan said.
“I’ve wanted to perform Joseph for many years because of the subject matter, the challenging vocal score, the variety of musical styles and the over-the-top humor,” musical director Paul Fibelkorn said. “This is a family affair for me as not only will my wife and two sons be in the production, but several friends, students and co-workers of mine.
Johnson and Fibelkorn said the thought of producing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat percolated with them for two years before coming to fruition and that is took a lot of planning, organizing, preparation, and convincing to get the project from dream to reality. Both, obviously made this a labor of love and a gift to the community.
For such a community based event, all of those touching and contributing need recognition, starting from the lead, Joseph, played by Michael Fibelkorn, who had a beautiful voice, just perfect to perform Joseph’s demands. Also special nods go to the three narrators, Amy Hurd, Abbie Lane, and Valerie Pogemiller. Brian Fibelkorn as Pharoh delivered an Elvis Prestley style song that rocked the house. Other notables included Franci Talamantez, Dale Sass, Grant Lesher.
The eleven other sons of Jacob, Rich Enfield, included Cooper McGuire, Dale Sass, Dan Naden, James Brunner, Brian Fibelkorn, Will Biggs, Jim Hurd, Jake Huppe, Grant Lesher, Justin Scheck, Brady Enfield. The wives included: Kim Fibelkorn, Kim Hurd, Paula Naden, Madelynn Knisley, Ali Haag, Mary Murphy, Trisha Enfield, Lauren Mason, Maggie Essmyer, Faith Winchell.
The women’s chorus featured: Chris Brown, Trisha Enfield, Maggie Essmyer, Kim Fibelkorn, Ali Haag, Kim Hurd, Sharon Johnson, Madelynn Knisley, Lauren Mason, Mary Murphy, Paula Naden, Kyla Trotter, Faith Winchell.
The children’s chorus included: Mallory Boden, Isabelle Carpenter, Deann Cloud, Ceci Cort, Emme Cortner, Sophie Daniels, Laurissa DePew, LeiLoni DePew, Tatum Graham, Olivia Harms, Delphine High, Jay Jensen, Elle Jensen, Sierra Jeter, Andrea Kent, Masen Kinder, Owen Massaro, Alle Mathos, Luke Mayo, Blake Moore, Kaleb Moore, Julia Pogue, Ella Powell, Austin Powell, Dylan Rankin, Ashlea Reimer, Tyler Ringel, Karter Skillman, Morgan Smith, Kylee Stevens, Laney Strahan, Kira Turner, Chris Waterman, Caitlin Weese, Haylee Weese, Blake Wesse, Makenzie Werner, Kelby Wilson.