Music On Stage brings Broadway's 'Joseph' to Cutting Hall
As artistic director for the Palatine-based theater company Music On Stage, Frank Roberts wears many hats. Just this week, he drove to area theaters to pick up backdrops and costume features for this weekend's show.
One of his final stops was Barrington High School, where he borrowed a giant camel.
It's all in a day's work, when staging "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" hangs in the balance. Roberts leads a production staff that includes choreographer Becky Cooper and musical director Tina Pappademos.
The musical opens Friday, Feb. 15, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 24.
Music On Stage has been mounting performances for more than 60 years in Palatine, and for the last 40 at the historic Cutting Hall. Through it all, the company's mission has remained the same: to bring Broadway musicals to the Northwest suburbs.
"We've found that our audiences really love classic Broadway shows," Roberts says.
"Joseph," he adds, fits the bill.
"It's a family-friendly show that's bright and colorful with a good story, and it gives kids an opportunity to perform," Roberts says. "It's just a feel good show."
Music On Stage has presented "Joseph" before, but not in 20 years, Roberts says. He suspects most audience members already will have seen the show, but they will enjoy this production all over again.
"Ours is a classic production of 'Joseph' that everyone will recognize," Roberts says. "It's all the numbers that you know and love. In fact, it's one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most memorable scores, with songs from all kinds of genres."
In all, more than 20 cast members bring the story to life, with another 12 in the children's chorus. Among the brothers themselves, they work by day as teachers, accountants and lawyers, Roberts says, but they leave it all behind for the chance to perform on stage.
They include: Glen Lindemann, Steve Peter, Dan Burdi, Mark Stickney, Niall Casserly, Aaron Zider, Mike Frale, Eric Benveniste, Cooper Meek, Cuyler Marshall, Garrett Hershey, Brandon Nieves and Josh Formeller.
"I would put them up against people I've seen in professional shows," says Roberts, who has worked at Drury Lane and Pheasant Run theaters, and also directed shows for the North Shore Theater of Wilmette. "They're that good."
Jake Autizen of Chicago stars as Joseph. He played the same role, under Roberts' direction, at the North Shore Theater. He also has performed with the Big Noise Theatre in Des Plaines.
Linda Andrews of Palatine plays the narrator, guiding the audience along through Joseph's many dreams. She has performed in several shows with Music On Stage, including "Little Shop of Horrors," "Hairspray" and "Shrek."
Rounding out the talent is the 11-piece pit orchestra playing the popular score by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Its more than 20 musical numbers include a variety of genres, from Elvis-style rock 'n' roll to calypso and country-western.
"Musically," Roberts says, "it's everything you could want in one musical."
Music On Stage's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"When: 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, Feb. 16 and 23, and 3 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 17 and 24
Where: Cutting Hall, 150 Wood St., Palatine
Details: (847) 202-5222, or visit www.cuttinghall.org or www.musiconstage.org