Biblical story comes to Terrace Plaza Playhouse

An Old Testament story took a new musical twist as Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse presented “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the show has a popular history, which is why the Terrace Plaza brings it back every few years to meet a popular audience demand. While it’s been running, the show has been at least at 75 percent capacity every night in a theater that can seat up to 300.

“Joseph” takes the Old Testament story of Joseph and turns it into a multi-musical that involves a children’s chorus, dance numbers ranging from country to tango to ’50s blues, and a breaking of the fourth wall (interaction with the audience) that is necessary for the story progression.

“We wanted to have the children woven through the story to kind of look back in time and to see the story of Joseph as it was told back then, but kind of keep it still in a child’s eyes,” said Ryan Paskins, who co-directed the show with his wife, Sally. “So it can still be the fun, light, campy music that Andrew Lloyd Webber created.”

In the story, Joseph is the 12th son of Jacob, and the favored child out of his 11 brothers. This comes in the form of a multicolored coat gifted to only him by his father, and various dreams that he insists predict his brothers bowing down to his future greatness. His brothers become jealous and decide to sell him into slavery, afterward dipping his beautiful coat in sheep’s blood and proclaiming to their father that he died tragically after being attacked by a wild beast. Joseph is shipped off to Egypt, where he must go through various trials until he can learn to reach his full potential.

“This can tell a different story to any person that comes to see it,” Paskins said. “It’s a tale to touch the heart of each person who wants that story to be whatever they want it to be. We have a whole list of the cast members sharing what they think the story of Joseph’s about. What we wanted to do is bring those feelings, those words, out into the performance out here so that, when the audience would see that, they would interpret it for them.”

In the show, there is an actual character named the Narrator, who interacts with Joseph and the children as she spins the tale through the different musical scenes and sings the story of Joseph in a narrative style.

Ashlee Mikami, a current Weber State University student, played the role by herself in high school, but this time she shared the role with two other women. Normally intended to be a single character, the Narrator was triple-cast as a creative choice by the directors, which resulted in Mikami harmonizing with two other sequin-clad performers as the tale of Joseph was given three voices to tell it.

“It’s been interesting playing with three people, because I’m used to doing it with one,” Mikami said, “but it’s a really good working experience to be able to cooperate with two other girls, and especially because the two other girls are not divas at all. So that was really, really helpful.”

She also said that, even though it was difficult to create all the harmonies with the other women and balance school and her rehearsal schedule, the most rewarding part was the friendships she’s made with the people in the cast.

“The cast is great,” Mikami said. “They’re always inspiring me to do better at everything. They’re always doing a good job and always making me want to do better on the stage. So backstage is such (an) uplifting place to go.”

With the added element of the show’s children’s ensemble, a lot of help was needed. Dawn Carter, the production’s child-wrangler, helped keep track of the 20 child cast members (which include some of her own children) since the show’s beginning.

“Sometimes it’s crazy and a little bit hectic, but it’s fun,” Carter said. “It just makes you want to get up and sing.”

“Joseph” will run every Monday, Friday and Saturday at the Terrace Plaza Playhouse until April 7, and the shows always begin at 7:30 p.m. Reserved seats are $12, and open seat tickets are normally $10, but students get a $1 discount. The number for reservations is 801-393-0070. The Terrace’s next show will be “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” debuting on April 20.

“I think that it’s a really inspirational show,” said Mikami of Joseph. “It makes you want to do more, and it makes you feel afterwards that you can just go and dominate the world. It really inspires you to follow your dreams and make sure you follow through with following your dreams and to not stop.”