Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church will present the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at 7:30pm from October 3-6, with a special 2:00pm sensory-friendly matinee on October 5.
The play is based on the biblical account of Joseph, a dreamer who is his father Jacob's favorite son. When Jacob honors Joseph with a beautiful coat of many colors, Joseph's brothers are jealous and sell Joseph into slavery. His captors take him to Egypt. By no means of his own, he eventually winds up in Pharaoh's jail. Later, he is released to interpret Pharaoh's dreams, and Joseph saves Egypt from the results of famine. The redemptive story has many ups and downs, and eventually brings Joseph face-to-face with his brothers who had betrayed him many years ago.
“It's going to be so much fun,” enthused director David Merrill, the music and art director at Woods Church. “We have over 80 people involved. We're using the adult choir, children's choir, members of our church, and the local theater community as part of the production.”
Merrill also praised the costumer, Susan Bohman. “She and the team are creating over 70 costumes for the production, and they're doing a phenomenal job,” Merrill said.
Asked about highlights of the show, Merrill replied, “As far as visuals, the most amazing thing is Joseph's coat.”
In addition to its beauty, the coat, designed by Phyllis Hatcher, includes representation of the church's mission trips. It includes material brought from Africa, along with other symbols that Woods’ members will recognize.
With a live orchestra and lights from Afterglow Lighting in Hanover, the show will be of professional quality, Merrill said. While the audience will enjoy the entire upcoming show, Merrill said they'll especially like the “Go, Go, Go, Joseph” dance piece.
“It's the most iconic number, and what the choreographer has done is so amazing,” he said.
A more intense scene that will melt hearts is “Close Every Door.” Merrill said the jail scene will also be fun to watch.
Drew Sharpe, a local community theater veteran, will play the leading role of Joseph. “He's a junior at Annapolis High School — a perfect age because Joseph would have been around 17 when the story begins,” Merrill said.
Sharpe turned 17 in late September and is excited about the production and his role.
“I fell in love with the show when I started listening to it,” Sharpe said.
Asked about his favorite part of the play, Sharpe also likes the song “Close Every Door.”
“It's a breathtaking moment,” he said. “It's surreal to be singing such a beautiful song with such an amazing cast. It's also a big turning point of the show.”
Sharpe said working with the cast of Joseph's brothers is also “a trip. They're hilarious,” he said.
Jeffrey Maynard, an Annapolis-based lawyer, will play the role of Potiphar, and Kristy Carlgren will portray Potiphar's temptress of a wife.
Joseph's youngest brother, Benjamin, will be played by 10-year-old Alex Baker, and according to Merrill, "will pull at heartstrings."
Merrill, who began serving as the church's music and arts director in 2015, brought with him his love of theater. An Annapolis native, he attended Broadneck High School and received his Master of Music degree, specializing in voice from Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia.
“I've always been big on theater, especially in the church. I love to bring these stories to life and teach them in a new and creative way,” he said.
"We started with ‘Godspell’ two years ago,” he continued. “Last year, we did ‘Children of Eden,’ and most recently, ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.’ The response has been great.”
Buy tickets for the show at the door or online at www.woodstix.org. The cost is $10, and funds will support the church's music department.