Fox Valley Park District to present 'Joseph'

  • Gabriel Harder, as Joseph, is surrounded by narrators, clockwise from lower left, Allison Elkins, Lucy Hauser, Kate Jarecki and Abbey Loria in the Fox Valley Park District's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

    Gabriel Harder, as Joseph, is surrounded by narrators, clockwise from lower left, Allison Elkins, Lucy Hauser, Kate Jarecki and Abbey Loria in the Fox Valley Park District's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Courtesy of Fox Valley Park District

 
 
Posted7/13/2016 1:12 PM

Ready to "Go Go Go" this weekend?

Go to the Paramount Theatre, that is, where the Fox Valley Park District's Premiere Theatre Company presents a biblical re-enactment with a coat of many colors in four performances of the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Show times are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 15-17. Tickets range from $11 to $15.

It's the 46th anniversary of the park district's Summer Stage program, almost dating back to the original writing of "Joseph" (1968), the first collaboration of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Told entirely in song, this biblical cantata is a funny, feel-good musical flush with color and full of energy.

Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, from country, calypso and vaudeville song and dance to bubble-gum pop and rock 'n' roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.

"The music is diverse, with a different genre for every song, which makes the show appealing to audiences from kids to their great-grandparents," said performing arts manager Kyle Donahue. "'Joseph' is a very universal story and a universal show."

In the case of "Joseph's" title character -- played by Gabriel Harder of Montgomery -- things go wrong early. Joseph's father Jacob (David Dobes, Aurora) makes no secret of his preference for his younger son. But when he gives him that amazing coat of many colors, it triggers jealousy and resentment in Jacob's other sons, who sell their little brother into slavery.

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Thanks to Joseph's ability to interpret dreams, however, he winds up in a position of power in the Egyptian pharaoh's household as second in command. And that, ultimately, proves fortunate for everyone in the family.

Eventually his brothers, having suffered greatly, unknowingly find themselves groveling at the feet of the brother they betrayed but no longer recognize. After testing their integrity, Joseph reveals himself, leading to a heartfelt reconciliation of the sons of Israel.

"It's a story about hope and second chances and believing in possibilities," said Donahue. "The story itself is very inspiring. Audiences love having that happy feeling. You'll be singing that music in your head for a week after the show."

It's one number after another, a score full of unforgettable songs, including "Any Dream Will Do," "Close Every Door," and "Go Go Go Joseph," with many different styles of choreography.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The quartet of narrators are performing arts veterans who bring charm and musical theater experience to the stage. Allison Elkins (Aurora), Lucy Hauser (Oswego), Kate Jarecki (Aurora) and Abbey Loria (Geneva) will bring this irresistible story to vibrant life.

For many of the 60-plus cast members, it's a family affair, with siblings joining them onstage at the legendary Paramount Theatre.

"To perform in such a historic venue is an amazing opportunity that our cast will forever cherish," said Donahue. "They'll all be like Joseph in that regard -- wide-eyed and excited."

• Jeff Long (jlong@fvpd.net) is the public affairs and communications manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Tickets are available online and at the Paramount box office.