ETHS’ production of ‘Joseph’ emphasizes hope


 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical based on the biblical story of a dreamer. Joseph, the youngest of twelve, receives a fantastic coat from his doting father. His twelve brothers, seething with jealously, consider murdering him at first but eventually decide to sell him into a life of servitude. Joseph does not accept this depressing fate; rather, he clings to his dreams, perseveres relentlessly and ultimately finds a life filled with riches and power. ETHS’s performance of Joseph, based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical comedy, premieres April 21 and runs through April 25 in the ETHS Auditorium. The story features the narrator (Isa Victorson), Joseph (Emmett Victorson) and Jacob, Joseph’s father (George Weiler).

“It’s great, it’s fun, it’s not too long.  It’s about hope and positivity and following your dreams and being self-assured,” senior Isa Victorson summarizes.

“There is more pressure to do well,” describes freshman Olivia Catayong (choir), as Joseph is the first musical to be performed at ETHS since a COVID-free Legally Blonde in 2019.  

Senior Daryn Kaplan admits the reason she joined Joseph was to chase the passion she felt from LB

“ It was a lot of fun,” Kaplan says, “And I really enjoyed watching that show.”

In fact, many of the actors and musicians in the show participated in Legally Blonde as well as rehearsals for Chicago before the pandemic hit. Unfortunately, the rate of infection was skyrocketing by the time the Chicago performance dates rolled around.

“I wanted to try out ’cause Chicago got canceled, and I wanted a chance to engage with the community and the space one last time before leaving,” says ETHS senior George Weiler (Jacob).  

This sentiment seems almost universal for the upperclassmen in the cast, the motivation to go out on a high note. One idea the entire cast can agree on is that for this musical in particular, there is a lot at stake.  Along with the ‘pressures’ and anticipation of the impending show, actors have faced loads of obstacles—whether they’re related to COVID or not.

“When you’re singing and dancing, it’s so hard to wear a mask the whole time.  So it’s been difficult to navigate what you can do in the theater.  What are we able to do?”  Victorson asks rhetorically.

On the musical side, Kaplan notes that the score for this show is quite challenging, with the beats being divided within a measure in complicated ways- 

“It’s an experience to count in ⅞ time,” Kaplan says, smiling, ¨Also having to slow down to account for the onstage choreography.¨ But, as with most challenging endeavors, putting in hard work is rewarding. “Practice makes perfect,” Kaplan sums up.

The cast feels similarly. 

“Although we sometimes get a bit distracted,” Catayong says regarding the cast, “[and] memorizing is difficult, we have a lot of fun.¨ Catayong recounts enjoying blocking and dancing days, particularly when she watched a castmate happily carry another around.

“It’s great getting to hang out and do such an intensive activity with such a wide range of people,” expresses Weiler.

¨[I’ve really enjoyed when] we recreate (what’s happening onstage during gaps, ie. clapping /singing),¨ mentions Kaplan, “ There’s this one part with stomping choreography. All of us in the band room, we go,” Kaplan says before she proceeds to clap enthusiastically. “We have fun recreating the little things.¨

Whether they are dancing, blocking, playing an instrument or singing, this musical has definitely allowed talented students to display their various skills and passions to the ETHS community.  After the past few years filled with performance uncertainties, Joseph and other shows this year lead to a refreshing comeback ETHS students and families should be eager to enjoy.

Correction (Apr. 19): In an earlier version of this article, as well as the print version, we listed the wrong first name for Daryn Kaplan. We regret the error.