upcoming students, whether actors or musicians, and, as rehearsals wrap, she is confident that Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was a good choice.
“It has been a fun process this year. It’s a great experience -a lot of work but the benefit is unexplainable,” remarks Leo.
Once the show is selected, auditions and rehearsals begin and students and faculty from all different specialties come together to make it happen. Students who were interested in performing had one week to prepare an assigned piece from the show and perform during an audition. They were evaluated and placed in a role that best fit their vocal and acting performance. This year, Leo implemented a children’s choir made up of 5th through 8th graders who she says has been a nice asset to the show. Leo says that even though she is hard on them, the students rise to the occasion every year and put on a great show.
“I am a perfectionist and I know this last week they hate me because I am after them on so many things,” she jokes. “But I tell them that at the end, they’re going to put on a good show, and they’re going to so proud.”
There are many other students and faculty members behind the scenes, including those who help with ticket sales, program design, advertising and refreshments. English teacher Amanda Zavacky is the costume designer and coordinator, and Lyndsey Reichard Cronauer choreographs the production. The stage crew is made up of students who paint the sets and run the lights
The students of the Crestwood School District will be presenting the musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this weekend in the high school auditorium.
Students from 5th through 12th grade are part of the cast that depicts the biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Joseph, his father’s favorite son, “is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams”. After being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a “series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged” (Rogers and Hammerstein).
Among the cast, choir, stage crew and pit orchestra, there are approximately 110 students involved with the production and they have been working since early in the school year to build and paint sets, arrange lighting, and rehearse lines, moves, songs and music. Mary Catherine Leo, High School music teacher and show / musical director, says that audience members can expect to be entertained.
There is lots of comedy, singing and dancing,” Leo. “It’s a very fun show; very high energy.”
Leo, who has been directing shows for twenty years, began the production process with her biggest challenge -choosing the show; a process that begins at the end of the previous school year and continues throughout the summer. Her choices are based on the strengths of the and sound. Shop students, under the guidance of teacher Jeff Pierontoni build the sets, and art students bring them to life. Leo relates that it is always nice to see the upperclassmen mentor the younger students during the process.
“We have a really good crew, many of whom are seniors,” said Leo of the lighting crew and art students. “We have some 9th graders coming up and they are shadowing the older students. They have a hard job.”
According to Rogers and Hammerstein, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is set to an “engaging array of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock ‘n’ roll”. Music teacher Joe Zeigler will be directing the students who will perform the music.
“We have dedicated students for pit orchestra who are willing to rehearse on our own. Students can’t just be in pit, they have to practice and prove themselves,” explains Leo.
Leo says that theatre is an important part of a students’ education in the district. Throughout the process, students learn to work together as a team and acquire soft skills such as the ability to speak on front of a crowd, how to project their voice, and carry themselves. There are hidden, more personal benefits as well, oftentimes pulling students out of their comfort zone and allowing them to express themselves in a unique way. Leo says that there is always a student who grows and develops in leaps and bounds through their involvement in theatre.
“So many times, it is the quiet students who shine on stage,” notes Leo. “Theatre gives them the ability to be someone else out on the stage, and many times it surprises those of us who know the student. It becomes ‘their’ place, their zone to express themselves.”
“We spend almost every day together for three months,” she says. “Free periods, lunch periods, after school rehearsals –any possible time you can find with them to work on something. There is a lot of one on one, and I get to know them better as people.”
After so much time together, are they ready for Friday? “People always ask me the week
before the show if we are ready,” relates Leo “I always tell them ‘Not tonight we aren’t, but we will be.”
The students will present the show on Friday, December 11th 7:00 p. m. and Saturday December 12th 7:00 p. m. in the High School auditorium. Doors open at 6:15 p. m. Ticket cost will be $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for students and senior citizens and will be available at the door or during school hours from 10:30-12:45 Monday through Wednesday December 7th, 8th, and 9th