West stages “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’

Show has 'a song for everyone'

West students rehearse for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber that will be performed on Dec. 1, 2 and 3. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

Cherry Hill West is just a few weeks out from presenting its fall musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

The show follows the Biblical story of Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son out of 12, and his journey after jealous brothers sell him into slavery. He later earns the Pharaoh’s favor by interpreting the leader’s dreams. 

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“I chose this show because it offered a lot of opportunity for our students to have featured roles,” said play director Carole Messias. “It’s also Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first musical, and the music is just so fantastic. 

“It’s a great family show.”

Lloyd Webber is known for the musicals “Cats” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”  While “Joseph” is a Bible story, Messias stressed the intention of the show is to tell a story “with themes of love, loyalty, family and forgiveness.”

“It’s that story of somebody who comes from nothing and rises up.”

People from any religious background will appreciate the musical’s universal themes. It is also unique in that the production is entirely sung – it has no dialogue – and will feature elementary-school children in the choir.

“It sounds so good,” said Samantha Neuwirth, a junior who plays one of the two narrators. “Everyone’s doing such a great job … and there’s gonna be a song for everyone because it transcends so many genres.”

Those include rock and roll and country. Finn Hutchinson, a transgender junior who plays Joseph, said the show is vocally challenging, even in the low notes, for   someone who was not born male, and that the role had also been challenging due to Joseph’s personality.

“I think he’s a little oblivious, but his heart is in the right place,” Hutchinson explained. “He’s very family oriented … He has moments where he’s just so oblivious that he’s a little rude, and that’s frustrating to do.”

Hutchinson is the first transgender student to score a lead role at West.

“It’s challenging to deal with people not really seeing me as how I want to be seen, but I feel like there’s also this sense of empowerment that a lot of younger people are going to feel seen, seeing someone who is like them in a big role on stage.”

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” will be performed on Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 7 p.m., and again at 2 p.m. on Dec. 3.

Tickets are on sale now for $15, $10 for students and seniors. To purchase, visit https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/68850.

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