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'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat' musical is Nov. 20-23

Cowboy hats and hoedowns will give Perham's "Joseph" production a totally new twist. Show dates are Nov. 20-23.1 / 2
Playing the role of "Joseph" is James Stenger, pictured here during a recent rehearsal, as the troupe prepares for the November 20-23 performances.2 / 2

This winter's community musical-- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat features a dynamic cast of local students and adult community members.

There will be four performances, November 20 - 23, at Perham High School.

Tickets are currently available through the 549 Family Foundation. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens, 65 and up.

On Monday, November 17, tickets will be for sale at the Perham High School main entry from 4 - 6 p.m. After November 17, tickets will be sold in the administration office at Perham High School.

Tickets will also be on sale at the auditorium door at 7 p.m. before each show, and at 1:30 p.m. before the 2:00 p.m. show on Sunday.

About the production

This well-known and loved musical is a story about Joseph, a father's favorite son, and his travels after he is sold by his jealous brothers. The action of the story goes full circle as the audience follows Joseph on his many adventures and as he eventually comes back to his family in a happy, loving ending.

The Perham production will have a different twist, with a setting in the Midwest--during the Great Depression of the 1930's.

The musical conveys many messages and themes, but two of the prominent ones are forgiveness and belief in oneself. The Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice production originally had no dialogue and was under one hour in length. The Perham production changes the play somewhat by adding original dialogue and further developing the characters.

The dialogue will be created by improvisation of the actors and then incorporated into the show. This allows the entire cast to take ownership in the show because they created much of it and they remain on stage the whole time.

In his director's notes, musical director Ert Jones-Hermerding writes how "Joseph" is traditionally performed as a Biblical period piece with its costumes. However, the decision was made to costume the Perham show in the early 30's era with both rural and big city costumes for the characters.

"Rather than presenting the show only as a Biblical history lesson, we wanted to emphasize its universal and timeless truths," writes Jones-Hermerding. "So we costumed ourselves as rural Americans."

Cast of characters

The part of Joseph will be played by community member James Stenger. Stenger has been involved in three previous Perham community musicals.

Other community members included in the cast are: Ann Heines, narrator; Keri Van Dyke, narrator; Chuck Johnson, Potiphar and Jacob; Bonnie Tweeton, Potiphar's wife; and Ta Fett, Pharaoh.

Playing the parts of brothers are students Sam Stoll, Jack Meyer, Ashley Fritz, and Christian Bueng. Wives are June Kovar, Katie Baker, Rachel Guek, Michelle Kurtz, Brittany Rappatt, and Bonnie Tweeton.

Comprising the orchestra and pit crew are Russ Bunker on piano-keyboard; Joe Ulrich on drums; Joe Berns on bass guitar; and Scott Eickschen on guitar. Bunker is the vocal/band director for the production.

Perham has history with the musical

Perham has a fine tradition of musical theater and the community theater group produced this show in 1998, under the direction of Kevin Kosiak.

It was an extremely successful production and played to sold-out performances. The new and original production lasts about two hours.