Pictured here trying on the technicolor dreamboat, is Mike Okulski of Port Chester, NY as Joseph
Somewhere over the rainbow there’s a rainbow connection that gives me a rainbow high, so look to the rainbow for the colors of my life. That’s actually a list of colorful song titles from Broadway musicals, but no other show embraces color as much as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which will play in Curtain Call’s Kweskin Theatre for five weeks beginning November 16.
The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Joseph, his father's favorite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock 'n' roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.
Joseph was first presented as a 15-minute pop cantata at Colet Court School in London in 1968 and was recorded as a concept album in 1969. After the success of the next Lloyd Webber and Rice piece, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph received stage productions beginning in 1970 and expanded recordings in 1971 and 1972. While still undergoing various transformations and expansions, the musical was produced in the West End in 1973 and its full format was recorded in 1974 and opened on Broadway in 1982.
“This show has long been a favorite of mine,” said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call executive director and producer. “The fast pace and great variety of musical styles, plus the colorful atmosphere make this a show that is incredibly great fun for the performers and audience alike,” he added.
Heading up this version as she did in 2000, is White Plains, NY resident, Debra Lee Failla. She has directed many Curtain Call productions over the years and is thrilled to be again working on this great show. “That first time directing/choreographing Joseph for Curtain Call was my first time directing there and it was Lou Ursone’s first show as its executive director, so this show is very special to me. It was the beginning of a wonderful working relationship” Failla said.
The mutual admiration is clear. “Many of our most successful productions over that past 12 years have been shows that Deb worked on so I am thrilled to have her back for this new look at Joseph,” Ursone said. Though they’re not changing music or lyrics, they are presenting it in a new way…sure to engage the audiences as much, and hopefully more, than in previous versions of Joseph they may have seen.
One of the challenges with producing a show that has been seen so many times, is making it new and exciting for audiences while staying true to the material. “We’re giving a different take on some of the integral characters in the story, like Potiphar and his wife and the Pharaoh,” Failla said. “I believe our interpretation of these characters, along with our emphasis on the story, breathes new life into the show, and even people who have seen Joseph before will take away something new from our production, while still enjoying all the songs they’ve come to know and love,” she added. “Our production of Joseph will be a high energy, fun-filled production for families to enjoy together this holiday season,” Failla said.
Rounding out the creative team for Joseph are Eric Johnston (NY, NY) as music director, Peter Barbieri, Jr. (NORWALK) for set design, Scott Borowka (ASTORIA, NY) lighting design, and newcomer Deborah Runnestad(NORWALK) doing costume design. (Runnestad appeared on stage in Curtain Call’s 2000 production of Joseph.)Additional choreography is by Kari Sweeney (STAMFORD).
“We’ve got a wonderful cast of 35, and I am enjoying working with our kid’s chorus as well as our adult cast. It’s been so much fun. I’ve been encouraging our actors to bring their own personalities into their characters and believe me, it’s adding a whole ‘nuther dimension to the show,” Failla said.
Due to the vocal demands on the role of the narrator and considering there are weekends with five or six performances, Laura Blackwell (RIDGEFIELD) and Claire Kenney (NORWALK) will share that role. Playing the title role of Joseph is Mike Okulski of PORT CHESTER,NY.
The rest of the cast includes, from STAMFORD: Tommy DeSalvo, Joe Efferen, Natasha Fenster, Eric Hu, Brenda Kitchen and Alyssa Morrin, Ethan Riordan, Sweeny, Briana Tarzia, Kathleen Telesco, and Matt Victory, from NORWALK: George Alberts, Amy Ayala, Jeff Bianco, Kristin Ruggieri and Kevin Thompson, from STRATFORD: Dante DiFederico, from WESTPORT: Meagan Elliot and Marc Hartog, from TRUMBULL: Holly Griffin, from GREENWICH: Steven Kelly,from FAIRFIELD: Cameron Phillips, from WILTON: Kevin Sell, from MAMARONECK, NY: Jessica Pilcher,. Additionally, eight Fairfield County children comprise the Children’s Choir which includes: from STAMFORD: Alexandra Borsellino , Justin Tarzia, from GREENWICH: Whitney Carmichael, from NEW CANAAN: and Christian Camporin; from REDDING: Clara Blackwell; from WILTON: Allison Farago, from DARIEN: Katherine Gunya; from FAIRFIELD: Matthew Weinstein.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will play in The Kweskin Theatre November 16 through December 16, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:00pm. Ticket prices are $29 for adults, $22 for senior citizens and $14.50 for students and children. Thursday evening: all seats $20. Five, seven and ten-ticket Flex Passes can reduce prices by as much as 25%. Tickets are available online at www.curtaincallinc.com or by calling the box office at 203-461-6358 x13.
Following Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (and actually overlapping three weeks) is A Merry Mulberry Street Musical playing November 29 through December 16. The New Year continues with two interactive murder mysteries, two Monday Night Musical concert readings of new shows, cabaret performances by Frank Mastrone and Michael Jovavich, plus the following full-scale productions: Agatha Christie's The Unexpected Guest, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Oklahoma, The Dixie Swim Club and Legally Blonde.
Curtain Call is Stamford, CT’s longest-running and only year-round, nonprofit, professionally-run, community-based theatre company. In residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue in Stamford, productions and educational workshops are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre. Curtain Call was voted Fairfield County’s BEST LOCAL THEATRE GROUP 2005 through 2012 in the Annual Readers’ Poll of The Fairfield County Weekly as well as BEST LOCAL THEATRE by Stamford Plus magazine for the past five years and as BEST VENUE by Stamford Magazine readers. Curtain Call also received The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Culture and Tourism for 2011 and in a recent Facebook poll, was noted as the most popular theatre in Connecticut and second most favorite attraction in the state.