Arts & Culture

Gateway’s present-day Joseph is family-friendly holiday fun

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 1:48 PST, Mon December 9, 2019

Last Updated: 2:39 PST, Tue January 7, 2020

In search of a family-friendly musical this holiday season? Gateway Theatre is producing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The first performed collaboration between composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is based on the Biblical story of Joseph and his multicoloured coat.

Originally conceived as a shorter piece for a boys’ school, present-day productions of the musical often feature women in some of the roles.

Chelsea Rose, an alumna of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and the University of Victoria, plays the narrator. She explains that she was raised listening to the musical and says: “The narrator has been a dream role for a very long time.”

As opposed to a plot-based role, the narrator exists outside the story. Rose says: “Playing a narrator differs from many roles in that I get to break the fourth wall with little asides to the audience and jump in and out of the story.” 

In addition, Rose also takes the roles of Joseph’s father Jacob and Mrs. Potiphar, a beautiful but ill-intentioned woman. When preparing to play different characters within one show, Rose says: “There is definitely a separation physically; I had to find where each character lived in my body and voice.” 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a sung-through musical, which means it has very little spoken dialogue. Rose explains that this aspect of the show is challenging, but that the fast pace makes time fly. 

She says: “I feel that I am better able to emote through song, and it brings me joy to be able to sing in multiple musical styles in one show.”

Rose praises Gateway’s production: “The set is beautifully minimal (no pyramids), and the costumes are colourful and a little rock ‘n roll. There’s also the addition of The Dreamer, a young boy through whose eyes the show is seen.”

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is typically set in Ancient Egypt. Director Barbara Tomasic explains that Gateway’s production is set in a child’s present-day dream world in order to show that “Realizing your dreams takes learning, perseverance, luck and love.”

Gateway’s reset production, with the present-day lens, aims to be relatable. Audiences can take morals away from the tale. On lessons that can be learned from the show, Rose says: “The road to success isn’t always an easy one, but if you have a dream and work hard, anything is possible!”

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is on at Gateway from Dec. 12 to 31, with many special performances. VocalEye has described performances on Dec. 26 and 27 for people who are blind or partially sighted. Wheelchair accessible seating is available.

To buy tickets, call 604-270-1812 or visit Gateway’s website: https://tickets.gatewaytheatre.com/

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