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updated: 2/15/2012 8:22 AM

The music never stops in CYT Aurora's 'Joseph'

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The 100-plus cast members of Christian Youth Theater Aurora's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" can only benefit from the experience their director brings to the production.

Matt Aldis of St. Charles is a professional actor, director and cofounder of a theater group himself -- Elgin's GreenRoom Improv.

When CYT called, Aldis jumped at the chance to direct the show, which will be performed at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre.

"I've been in ('Joseph') twice and always wanted to direct it," Aldis said.

Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17; 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19; 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. There will be school performances during the day on Thursday, Feb. 16 and 23. Tickets are $9-$14, available in advance or at the door. Visit cytchicago.org or call (847) 516-2298.

Aldis has directed plays for CYT for about five years, he said. A graphic designer by day, the Judson graduate is passionate about performing. Aldis had a chance to put his personal touch on the show through the use of comedy.

"We've added quite a bit of humor to the show," he said.

"Joseph" is an Andrew Lloyd Webber version of the Old Testament tale of Joseph and his 11 brothers. A favored child among his brothers, Joseph's dreams take him from lowly slave to ruler of Egypt. Along the way he encounters imprisoned members of the royal court, the Elvis-like Pharaoh, and a chance to show his brothers forgiveness.

The show is full of color, energy and incorporates dozens of musical styles.

Aldis admits the show has been challenging, mainly due to the number of songs.

"There's not any down time for the cast; one musical number leads into the next. The cast is constantly learning lyrics," Aldis said.

But plenty of rehearsals and a talented cast have helped tremendously, Aldis said. When the show opens Friday, Feb. 17, there will already have been five full run-throughs.

"(The cast members) have really stepped it up. The brothers and wives (characters from the play) are in every scene. At each practice I keep raising the bar, and they keep meeting it."

Aldis says he's not afraid to get up onstage himself to show the young thespians how it's done.

"I love jumping onstage and showing them," he said. "I always tell them, you can be great but there's always room to get better."

Directing in a venue such as the new Batavia Fine Arts Centre, which opened last summer, is a treat for a show veteran like Aldis.

"The theater is amazing," he said. "The staff is very educated, spot on with knowing what to do."

Aldis thinks the high-energy show will impress audiences, but he thinks one song in particular will be a favorite.

"The number 'Close Every Door,' Joseph's solo, is incredible. We have something special planned."

The show runs about two hours with one intermission. It is appropriate for all ages. Batavia Fine Arts Centre is at 1200 W. Wilson St., Batavia.

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