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DFT presents ‘Dreamcoat’ play

Staff Report~ 11/13/2013

Before there was “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cats” or “Phantom of the Opera,” there was “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”—Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first certified mega-hit.
Desert Foothills Theater, a division of the Foothills Community Foundation, is bringing this musical to the north Valley with a special production running Nov. 15-24 on the main stage of Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 N. 60th Street, in North Scottsdale.
Directed by Darrell Spencer with musical direction by Daniel Kurek (original lyrics are by Tim Rice), “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” tells the biblical story of Joseph, who is loved by his father, despised by his brothers, sold into slavery and given up for dead … and that’s just in the first 10 minutes of the show.
“Come enjoy the most tuneful 75 minutes you’ll spend this season, as Joseph rises through the ranks in Potiphar’s house, dodges the amorous Mrs. Potiphar and becomes the Pharaoh’s right-hand man,” said Meribeth Reeves, DFT’s managing director. “Along the way, you’ll learn more about the nasty brothers, a famine, the coat and even an Elvis sighting.”
A north Scottsdale resident, Spencer said he welcomed the chance to direct the show because it includes almost every genre of music.
“There’s Country, Rhythm and Blues and even Calypso music. I also love the show’s themes of forgiveness and that amazing things can happen to anyone,” he said. “Not only does this show jump from different types of music, but it also jumps from being very grounded in Biblical times to having some very modern elements. The constant music means that many of the jokes are fast because they are in the music.”
Actor Jay Smith of Scottsdale plays Joseph. Sara Bernstein and Kim Cooper Schidt are also cast as the show’s two narrators, something that is not typically done, but Spencer felt having two narrators would lend to a more mischievous and supportive role for Joseph.
“This split has also allowed the music director and I to play more with the classical sounds of Andrew Lloyd Webber that you can hear in the “Phantom of the Opera,” as well as some of the more pop sounds in this show that are in Webbers’ other musicals,” Spencer said.
One of Spencer’s challenges will be directing a cast of 45 ranging in age from 6 to 60. His entire family is also cast in the show.
“I thought it would be easier having everyone in the same place, but it has made us take a lot of drive-thru dinners. It will be nice to use the kitchen table again,” he said in jest.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from $15-$32 for adults and $11-$16 for youth and students. Group sale discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Visit dftheater.org or call 480-488-1981.