Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opens up on the Opera House stage on April 28th, and I got to sit down with Director Brent Sigman and the actor who plays Joseph, Brent Weaver. Before the interview, here is some history of this beloved musical.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (JATD) is about the Biblical story of Joseph (Found in Genesis 37-50) with a fun musical twist for everyone to enjoy. In 1967 Andrew Lloyd Webber (ALW) and Tim Rice were asked to write a 15-minute pop cantata for a school in England. It was first performed at Colet Court School in London on March 1st, 1968. ALW’s Father liked the cantata so much that he arranged a second performance at Westminster Central Hall, which was stretched to 20 minutes long. The third time the cantata was performed (November '68), it was 35 minutes long.
Then in 1969, JATD was taken to a recording studio to make an album.
Throughout the early ’70s, JATD had many amateur productions in the US and UK; by 1974, JATD was now a full-length musical.
The full-length show was first performed at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester, UK, and in the US at the Playhouse in the Park in Philadelphia.
Later in 1981, JATD received an off-Broadway production with Bill Hutton as Joseph. This production was brought to the now Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in 1982. The show received many Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The show closed on Broadway in 1983, having done 747 performances. But JATD continues to be a favorite amongst theaters worldwide.
Now our local community theater, Junction City Little Theater, is finally bringing JATD to our stage, thanks to Brent Sigman.
(Yellow is Director Brent, and purple is Actor Brent)
Q: So, Brent, what made you want to direct JATD?
So many reasons! One, I was previously in a production of Joseph at another theater and had lots of fun. Plus, Joseph is probably one of the most-known and most-performed shows of Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s fun; it's got catchy music that both actors and audiences love. Not to mention the option of having a children’s choir, which allows folks of all ages to participate; it fits JCLT and the CLOH stage perfectly.
Q: It's true. I watched the movie growing up and still remember the songs. I was surprised to see that JCLT has never done Joseph. Other Brent, *laughs* ... What is the most challenging part of playing Joseph?
This is my second time performing in Joseph - I played one of the brothers, Levi, in high school, and it was a blast. Something about this music stays with you, probably because it's so catchy. Back then, I learned that entirely sung-through musicals are challenging! Even though our show is only an hour and a half (which is pretty short for a musical), you have to spend all your vocal and physical energy. I’m making sure to drink a lot of water, stay active, and keep my energy up. Another aspect that challenges me is that Joseph is a well-known musical theatre role. While I’m no Donny Osmond, I will put some humor and empathy into Joseph. Hopefully, those in the position before me would be proud!
Q: But you sure give Donny Osmond a run for his money! You are fantastic as Joseph.
You both have mentioned how catchy the music is. What song gets stuck in your head the most?
Both Brents: All of them!
The other day, I told one of the actors that this is an earwig show, where all the tunes get stuck in your head, not just one or two. That’s also the brilliance of what Weber has done with this musical.
The one I find myself singing almost unintentionally is “Joseph’s Coat,” which is the song where we sing about all the colors. I spent a lot of time learning all 29 colors, and you better believe I know every dang color! I also love “Close Every Door.” It’s Joseph’s emotional power ballad, and many theatre people are obsessed with it.
Q: Yes! The color song. I remember watching the movie for the first time and being so impressed with the cast, who knew all those colors in the correct order. I always get Go, Go, Joe stuck in my head. My husband hates it! *laughs*
So when you aren't doing theater, what are you doing? We all know that community theater doesn't pay the bills.
I work for CivicPlus in Manhattan as an Enterprise Account Manager. That role requires me to work with the company’s top-tier customers in a given territory. I am helping them with their needs and growing their accounts.
I work at K-State First, which is K-State’s first-year experience program. We aim to help first-year students make a smooth transition to college-level learning. In my role, I teach courses, coordinate a peer mentorship program, and manage the curriculum for one of our courses. I thrive with this kind of work because it’s a mix of challenging, exciting, and rewarding!
Q: Wow, you two are busy! And that's just the two of you; how is it working around a cast of 20+ people's schedules?
It's tough and the most challenging part of any community theater production. Juggling all aspects of the show, both behind-the-scenes and onstage. With everyone having such busy lives, balancing their other commitments is always tricky.
Q: Some people wouldn't put forth that time and energy.
What draws you to the theater?
Theatre has been my life since I was 12 years old. So, for almost 30 years (yikes!) I have been doing theatre. As a director, I love collaborating with all the talents and creating a show. Not one show experience is like the others, which makes each show its own rewarding experience.
Q: Most people in theater enjoy acting, and that's all they want to do. How did you get into directing?
I directed my first one-act play in high school and another when I entered college. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I started to get back into it again when I started volunteering at a theater in the area. I started shadowing some of their best directors and finally got the chance to direct my show. Almost 15 years later, I have produced over 20 plays, five musicals, and numerous one-act and readers theatre plays.
Q: Dang, that's so much!
So, Brent, aka Joseph- There are so many significant roles in theater for young men, Joseph being one of the tops, but what would be your dream role?
I don’t have many dream roles, but I’d love to play Adam Maitland from Beetlejuice. He’s nerdy and sweet, and his music is super fun to sing. (If you’re a casting agent for a future production of Beetlejuice, please feel free to hit me up!) I’m also a playwright, so my honest answer to this question is that I’d love to play some of the characters I’ve written. One day!
Q: Woah! A playwright, now that's something you don't hear often. Do you have any plans regarding that?
In the coming years, I plan to move to New York to pursue playwriting while continuing to work for first-year experience programs. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I will always be excited if I teach and pursue theatre.
Q: Well, we wish you all the luck in the world, Brent, and maybe one day, your plays will be on the Opera House stage!
Last question, gentlemen, what should the audience know about this show?
This is a fun, fast-paced musical meant for all ages to enjoy. And, while it’s biblical, no religious message is trying to be pushed or enforced. It’s a fun musical that will have you dancing in your seats and singing along. For as heavy as the world can sometimes be, having 90 minutes of simple fun, song, and dance is what we all might need right now.
I couldn't agree more. Ultimately, it’s a story about resilience and optimism. Joseph deals with many challenging situations but manages to hold on to hope. I think this is an inspiring message, and I think the audience will be moved by his journey and be able to reflect on their challenges with resilience and optimism for the future!
Make sure you don't miss this catchy, fun, colorful musical!
Not only is there a big cast, but there is also a ten piece orchestra in the pit that plays through the entire show. This show is family-friendly and is only about 90 minutes.
Concessions will be served during pre-show and intermission.
After the show, there will be an opportunity to take pictures with cast members.
Get your tickets today at jcoperahouse.org or call the box office at 785-238-3906. If there are groups larger than 10, please get in touch with the JCLT office for discount tickets at 785-238-3871 or email at email@example.com