Turns out, a man twirling around in a bright coat of many colors makes an impression when you’re a kid.
Many of the actors in the upcoming Sierra Repertory Theatre production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which opens Friday, remember seeing the musical when they were younger. And now as members of the show they hope to channel the energy and amazement they felt when they first saw it years ago into the new show.
New York-based actor Schyler Conaway makes his Sierra Rep debut in the title role of Joseph. While it is his first time performing in the musical, he vividly remembers seeing the national touring production when he was 8 years old. He said he grew up knowing the bible story the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical is based on.
“When I was young there were only a handful of shows I remember seeing and ‘Joseph’ was one of them,” he said. “It was a story I was familiar with reading in the bible, and then to see it on stage when I was 8. It changed my life. That show has a very special place for me.”
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The story of Joseph comes from the Book of Genesis. He is the favored son of his father, Jacob, and has a coat of many colors which makes them jealous. So they scheme to have him sold into slavery while telling their father he was killed.
Staged with a narrator telling the tale of Joseph’s plight, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has become a staple in the musical theater repertoire. Sierra Rep veteran and New York actress Elizabeth McMonagle plays The Narrator. Her past productions include “Church Basement Ladies: a Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement” and “The Robber Bridgegroom.”
This is McMonagle’s first time performing in a production of “Joseph” since she was 12 years old and played a cornstalk.
“It’s one of those shows I grew up knowing and remember listening to – especially with the Donny Osmond movie. Now to watch it on stage every night is even more magical,” she said.
She said the show’s appeal is timeless. The story is one of redemption and forgiveness.
“I forgot how beautiful the story was – especially being able to tell it (as The Narrator). I find myself realizing how much we need this story right now. It’s about hope and open heartedness and forgiveness. It’s a great moral and a great story.”
Sierra Repertory Theatre’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”
WHEN: Opens 7 p.m. Friday, June 16; runs 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday and 2 or 7 p.m. Thursday through July 30
WHERE: Sierra Repertory Theatre, Fallon House Theatre, 11175 Washington St., Columbia State Historic Park