■ STAFF REPORT
If you are anywhere near the Boca Grande Community Center on Friday mornings, then you’ve already heard Grande Glee practicing their first full-length concert – “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” This fun-filled 90-minute show, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, is the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament.
Originally presented as a “15-minute pop cantata” in London in 1968, Webber and Rice kept adding songs to their musical as different groups, both amateur and professional, performed it. Eventually, Joseph grew into a full Broadway/West End production with few spoken lines and a score filled with music you can’t stop singing.
Usually performed with the narrator and Joseph leading the brothers and other characters through the story, Grande Glee performs it in an exciting new way.
Instead of one narrator telling the story, Glee has nine narrators alternating as the story unfolds. Julia Pierce leads off the narration, followed by Margaret Bush, Wesley Locke, Boots Tolsdorf, Linda Rollyson, Karen Snyder, Elaine Skypala, Erica Ress Martin and Carol Elwood. Instead of one Joseph singing the lead role, Glee has five. Reyn Guyer, Oakley Johnson, Michael Alexander, John Cleghorn, and John Moenning alternate in this very important role.
Why is Glee doing the show this way? Because Grande Glee is committed to giving every member of their group the opportunity to solo while their friends sing back-up. The audience knows who is playing Joseph and who is playing the narrator, because the costumes are shared. If you’ve got the coat of many colors, you must be Joseph. If you’ve got the narrator’s bowler, you must be the narrator.
Carol Elwood and Joan Ardrey are the “AHH Girls”, who sing the angelic tones in every melody. John Thomas and Julian Keevil sing the role of the prisoners. Jerry Edgerton sings the role of Potiphar. James Martin, as Elvis, sings the role of Pharaoh. And every member of Glee sings the role of the brothers.
This unusual concept is the work of Sharon Ponte, Glee’s musical director, and Erica Ress Martin, Glee’s founder. Mary Jeanne Moorman accompanies the group, working every week on getting the harmony perfect in time for the April 2nd opening night.
Since this moving Biblical tale is presented a short time before Easter, it is only fitting that it is performed in the gorgeous Lighthouse United Methodist Church on Boca Grande.
All the net profits from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” are for the benefit of the La Vega Christian School in the Dominican Republic. This worthy mission has given hundreds of rural children each year a private school education with small classes, grades K through 12, an English, Spanish and Christian curriculum, plus science and computer labs.
“Joseph” is Spark Boca Grande’s second production. “Rescue Me” for the Suncoast Humane Society’s capital campaign was the first in December of last year. Spark’s mission is to produce shows for nonprofits, using talented people who want to be on stage without the stress of memorizing and long rehearsal periods.
So how can you get tickets for this Amazing fundraiser? Go to bocagrandetickets.com. $100 seats guarantee the first two rows, and $50 seats are available as first-come, first- seated. Remember, all profits go toward scholarships at the La Vega School.