BRILLION, Wis. (WFRV) – Brillion High School students traveled back in time to Ancient Egypt for the opening night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber follows the biblical story of Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob. Joseph’s brothers become jealous when their father gives Joseph a colorful coat, and seek revenge on their brother.
Local Five caught up with some of the cast and crew Thursday before the very first performance of their two-week run.
“Man, this has just been a really difficult show, it’s big everything, big dance, big sing, big choreography, big lights, big pit, so it’s just been a monster to take on. And now that we’re at opening night, we’ve got everything together, the hard work has been established, now we get to the fun part and you really get to see the product of all that hard work,” explained Jonathan Kobs, the director of the show.
Kobs couldn’t say enough good things about the students involved in the production and told Local Five that after musical theater was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it felt good to get back to the regular routine. He was thrilled that the energy the students brought to last year’s production of Mamma Mia continued into this year.
“They really have put in the hard work, you can see them working really hard on stage every single night, and they’re working to be better and better with every performance that they’ve had,” Kobs added.
Believe it or not, for leading man Isaac Spettel, this production was his first foray into high school theater.
“For my first three years of high school I didn’t do the show at all, and I was very disappointed in myself, and when my senior friends left last year I realized that I should finally do the show this year. I’m glad I did because I got the lead role,” Spettel, who plays the title role of Joseph, told Local Five.
The show is told by narrators to a group of children, who then interact with the story. Rachel Pope, who plays one of the narrators, detailed what it was like to work with local children on stage.
“I liked when we first started putting the kids together with us because then we got to interact with them and see their reactions to being in the show, and that was really cool,” Pope said. “They bring a lot of energy, so that’s really nice.”
“[The kids’] cues are getting better and it’s fun to work with children,” Spettel agreed.
The production made the unique choice to divide the narrator role into four roles, played by four separate actors. Pope tells Local Five that dividing up the role was complicated at times, but was a good choice in the end.
“For me, it was a little difficult having the four narrators splitting it up but once we got the hang of it and just memorizing it and putting it all together, it’s going really well now,” she said.
Also, new for the school this year is a brand new light system in Brillion’s Endries Performing Arts Center that was made possible through a $50,000 donation.
“It’s been really fun to play around with some of the light design that we have because we’re able to do so many more things that we weren’t able to do,” Kobs told Local Five.
The school is also participating in the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s (PAC) Center Stage program this year. Theater programs are able to get their shows critiqued by a team that gives feedback to directors and students leading up to the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase event next May.
This is Brillion’s third year participating in the program. Kobs says it’s a great opportunity for students to work with professional theater actors and meet talent from other local schools.
“As we get into the year, I really love offering the workshops to kids so that they can work with Broadway stars who come around and tour. That’s one of the best things that they can do, is have that interaction with the local or touring professionals who come to the area,” Kobs explained regarding Center Stage. “As we get into the May and spring concert it’s really fun to be a part of the showcase concert and see the product of all the schools come together.”
All in all, Kobs tells Local Five that this family-friendly musical is a hit with all ages.
“Joseph is a great tale of the underdog, through trials, and then you see him succeed at the end. I think audiences of all ages will love this story,” he said.
Brillion High School is performing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on the following days at W1101 County Road HR in Brillion:
- November 3-5 at 7 p.m.
- November 6 at 1 p.m.
- November 10-11 at 7 p.m.
- November 12 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Ticket information can be found here.