In addition to the excitement of Homecoming this fall, the theater department will present this year’s musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” beginning next Thursday.
“It’s very funny, very beautiful and has lots of touching and special moments for the whole family,” said Lindy Bartuff, choreographer and co-director.
Bartruff said that the musical is based on the biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob and his 11 brothers. In this play, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Joseph has the ability to understand dreams that no one else can.
“It is a fast paced show that has both staging and choreography,” Bartruff said. “It’s very hard to sing and dance at the same time, so (the actors) are learning a lot of things from western to soft shoe to French to calypso and beyond, so it’s been a very fun ride for them and a very intense ride.”
Also working on the production is Jeremiah Devine, senior communications major and musical director. He also plays the title role of Joseph.
Devine said that the theater department held auditions in August and the group has been rehearsing for more than a month.
To put such a large production together takes a lot of people. Devine said that there are 28 cast members as well as lighting and set designers, costume designers, hair and makeup artists, sound technicians, a live orchestra, a pianist, a drummer, a guitarist, three spotlight operators, a choreographer and the directors.
“Albert Taylor’s a big place so it takes a lot of people to run a show over there,” Devine said. “So we have faculty members and students, everybody’s working on this.”
With all these members comes a great diversity of actors and actresses.
Kangwon Song, senior theater major, said that this is his second Homecoming musical since he began attending ESU. The hardest part for him has been overcoming the language barrier, since he is not originally from the U.S. Still, he said he has a great time performing.
“The musical is super fun because musicals need to be involved with dancing, singing, and a lot of entertaining stuff,” Song said. “It makes me really feel alive on the stage.”
Kayla Dugan, sophomore English major who plays a wife and a tourist, said she also enjoys being involved in the musical.
“It’s just an amazing musical and an amazing cast so it’s really fun to see everybody work together and when it clicks, like when we get it right, it’s really fun and funny to watch,” Dugan said.
But the homecoming musical serves another purpose – it helps fund scholarships for theater students.
Each year, many students receive scholarships through the theater department. Jim Bartruff, the director of theater at ESU and director of “Joseph,” said in an email that endowments from the ESU Foundation, as well as money raised through Golden Patrons, the Theatre Guild and the Homecoming musical go towards student scholarships. This year, 25 students were able to receive scholarships with a total of $23,350 awarded.
Since the Homecoming musical is a big fundraiser for the department, the revenue earned at this event is essential to the department. Bartruff said that typically they earn $3,300 to $7,000 from the musical and the goal this year is to bring in between $5,000 and $7,500.
The musical will start at 7:30 p.m. and will run next Thursday through Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Saunday. Tickets start at $8 for ESU students and $12 and $15 for others, depending on the seating area. To reserve tickets, call the ticket office at 341-6378.