Ecole St. Mary High School is returning to a large musical production for their spring performance.
Beginning Wednesday at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre, the classic musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will come to life, courtesy of St. Mary High School’s Upstage Productions.
Sam Malenfant, who plays Joseph, said the production’s scope will be impressive for the audience. Despite the large amount of work, the months of pre-production have been relatively smooth.
“It’s going well,” Malenfant said. “I am super excited to be able to share with everybody. There have been some challenges, but we have been able to overcome those very quickly. It’s very exhausting physically and mentally and long days.
“It’s been a long journey, it gets tiring after a while but I’m really excited to share it,” he added.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was the first collaboration between Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber that was performed publicly.
The musical is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, 11 brothers and the coat of many colors. It’s told entirely through song, with the help of a main character Narrator. The musical follows the preferred son, Joseph, who is sold into slavery by his brothers.
Joseph gains the favour of the Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife. While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams and finds himself in front of the mighty, but troubled, Pharaoh. Joseph’s solution to Egypt’s famine elevates him to Pharaoh’s right-hand man and reunites him with his family.
Malenfant, who is in Grade 12, is a veteran of many productions. He’s looking forward to the challenge of playing a major role.
“I have been in theatre for the past 10 years with Broadway North Youth Company and then this is my fourth Upstage show. My first one was 12 Angry Jurors and then the Mouse That Roared and then The Play That Wasn’t,” he said.
“It’s my first big lead with this company. This fall I was in Broadway North when we did Beauty and the Beast, and I was the Beast, so I guess that was one of my other big leads. I’m pretty experienced when it comes to theatre now after 10 years.”
Jason Van Otterloo will direct the performance. Malenfant said Van Otterloo had a different style compared to the Broadway North directors.
“They all have their own artistic directing styles and it’s really cool to see it all come together at the very end,” Malenfant explained. “I do like a bigger cast with the older kids just because they are easier to work with, but with the kids, it’s fun watching them see all of the magic start happening and everything. It’s really good to see.”
Rebekah Towle plays the role of the Narrator. This is her third production but first musical and also final production she can take part in because she is also in Grade 12. She also thinks that the production has been going well.
“It’s been exciting and scary at the same time, since it’s such a big role,” she said. “It’s very nerve wracking and a lot of pressure that you want to do so well for this big role, but it has been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed spending the time with everybody.”
Being in such a well-known play also added some pressure.
“It’s so much work. It’s like a lot of physical and mental work as well,” she said.
“It’s a well-known show and you obviously want to do the best to your ability for this character since there have been a lot of people who have played this character before. You just want to live up to those standards and just do the best you can.
The production has also taught Towle a bit about herself.
‘I guess I have gained a lot more confidence as an actor in this role,” she said. “The role I play as the Narrator, you have to be very confident and a good storyteller. I have always been a good, confident person but I think it has allowed me to open up a bit more.”
Both Malenfant and Towle have high praise for director Jason Van Otterloo.
“He’s good, I think,” Towle said. “We are all proud of him and he is obviously doing so much work, as well. He doesn’t give a lot of credit to himself, but I think we should give him a lot more credit.
“He’s the director so he plays a very big role,”
Malenfant has been around Van Otterloo for many years and has enjoyed working for him.
“He has been fun. I have always looked up to him ever since I started high school. Grade 9 was a pandemic year, so I was kind of stuck in a classroom all year. But the next year in Grade 10 when we first started Upstage again, he became someone I look up to every day.”
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat runs from Wednesday to Saturday at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre. Show times for all days are 7:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $21.00 for adults and $15.75 for students and are available at the E.A. Rawlinson Box Office or by phoning 306-765-1270.