CARMEL — Taking a classic and making it your own. It's what you do in musical theater, and it's what the young people who make up the Performing Arts Department at Carmel High School have done with one of the most popular musicals of all time.
"This is probably one of the first shows I ever saw, when it came to Indiana and I saw it with my parents when I was 8 or 9," said Michael Geary, Carmel High School senior and 'Joseph' in the school drama department's production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' "I've just been the biggest fan ever since."
If you aren't familiar with the massive hit written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, it's based - quite loosely - on the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis in the bible. Though it was written earlier, it wasn't put on stage for the first time until after another Webber/Rice biblical creation - 'Jesus Christ Superstar' became an international sensation. It would then be another decade before 'Joseph' became a Tony award-nominated Broadway hit in 1982.
Like most musical productions, actors put their own touches on the characters in Joseph, and Carmel junior Ava Roan definitely had to make some changes when she was cast as the traditionally male Pharaoh. "Traditionally, the Pharaoh is an Elvis impersonator, and we decided that just wasn't the path we wanted to take with this. So, my director asked what musical icon impressions I had, and I said Britney Spears," Roan said. "He was all for it, and it's honestly pushed me as a performer and something I've really come to be proud of."
One major change in their production has nothing to do with characters. The Carmel High group is performing this year's musical at their Varsity Gym, as renovations are ongoing at much of the school's performing arts areas. "It's been a rehearsal like no other," Geary said. "Having to flip flop rehearsal rooms every day, not knowing where we're going to practice as a group and finding out that we're not going to have an actual physical stage until the week we're about to perform in front of an audience... it may be a little stressful, but it just makes the memories that you will never have with other productions you do here."
Carmel High School is putting on "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." It's May 12-14, and this year the Spring musical at the school's Varsity Gym this year due to renovations within the high school's performing arts area. Click here for information on how to get tickets.