Chandler teens star in Limelight’s returning ‘Joseph’ - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler teens star in Limelight’s returning ‘Joseph’

July 31st, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler teens star in Limelight’s returning ‘Joseph’
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By Katy Springer 
Get Out Contributor

When Limelight Performing Arts produced “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in 2016, the show earned a slew of honors including the National Youth Arts award for “Outstanding Production.”

Six years later, the theater is bringing the show back to the Mesa Arts Center.

The musical will be on stage Aug. 4-14 and will feature an epic cast of nearly 50 performers ages 6-21 – including 12 kids and teens from Chandler.

Set in biblical-era Canaan and Egypt, “Joseph” brings the age-old story of Jacob and his sons to vibrant new life.

When Jacob gives Joseph a magnificent coat of many colors, his 11 brothers become so consumed with jealousy they sell him into slavery in Egypt. But because of Joseph’s prophetic gift for interpreting dreams, he ascends from lowly house slave to Pharaoh’s key advisor – and soon redeems the brothers who betrayed him.

Despite its weighty themes, the production is upbeat and full of comic relief.

With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, it features colorful characters and costumes, modern choreography and a range of music and dance styles – from country western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and a Pharaoh who sings Elvis.

“It’s colorful, inspiring and hilarious,” said Marie South, who, along with Limelight’s artistic director, Emma England, is directing the show.

Westley Caryl, 14, is having a great time with his character.

“I play the role of Judah, who is one of the younger brothers,” he said. “He is very laidback and silly, but not the brightest out of his brothers.”

Zoey Hart, 15, is part of the ensemble. She says “Joseph” is not your average production.

“There are no scenes, only singing and dance numbers, which isn’t super common in musical theater,” said Hart. “The hardest part for me is making sure I remember every single detail because if you forget the smallest piece of information, it can make or break the show.”

The 90-minute production certainly is demanding, as every word in the musical is sung, every scene is choreographed, and every performer plays a key part in bringing the story together.

“The ensemble is central to this production,” said South. “Most productions rely on a couple of leads to carry the show, but ‘Joseph’ isn’t like that. Every person on stage is important to the story, and that means every one of our performers needs to be a true triple threat.”

“Joseph” isn’t average in other ways, too.

“We threaded color through every aspect of this show,” said South. “For example, many of our set pieces look beige on the surface, but they’re lit from within and bring out that technicolor quality when we turn the lights on.”

Ashlynn Taylor, 15, plays one of the narrators.

“Playing the role of narrator requires a lot of memorization,” she said. “There are three narrators, and we often sing in three-part harmonies, which can be challenging to learn.”

But the performers are up for the challenge – and they’re having fun along the way.

“I’ve always enjoyed the rehearsal process,” said Ava Wright, 15, one of the narrators in “Joseph.” “I have always found it so satisfying to slowly watch all of our time and effort make its way to finally being ready for opening night.”

Of course, no production of “Joseph” would be complete without a Children’s Choir.

“I wanted to be a part of Joseph because it is performed on a big stage and tells the real bible story in a fun way,” said 11-year-old Alyssa Sherwood. “The Children’s Choir gets to be on stage a lot of the show and has some special parts.”

The group of youngsters is critical to the production, as they add new layers to every scene and song.

The directing team and cast are eagerly anticipating the audience’s response.

“At the heart of this show is a powerful message of love and unity that will resonate with children and adults,” said England. “The cast’s hard work and incredible passion will be evident in the top-notch quality of this performance.”

Added Caryl, “I think the audience will love the big dance numbers like the hoedown or ‘Song of the King.’ Even just in rehearsal, you can tell that these are complete showstoppers.”

Chandler thespians in the production and their roles include: Westley Caryl, Judah, 14; Madeline Gillispie, ensemble, 16; Eli Greenberg, children’s choir, 9; Zoey Hart, ensemble ,15; Kayla King, Potiphar’s wife, 18; Violet McLennan, narrator, 12; Remington Rathbun, ensemble, 18; Whitney Sherwood, children’s choir, 9; Alyssa Sherwood, children’s choir, 11; Ashlynn Taylor, narrator, 15; Camryn Taylor, apple dancer/ensemble, 15; and Ava Wright, narrator, 15.

Tickets for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” are $16 plus box office fees and are available at the Mesa Arts Center box office, at MesaArtsCenter.com keyword “technicolor,” or by visiting ll-pa.org. Group discounts are available.

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