When Limelight Performing Arts presents “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” Aug. 4-14 at the Mesa Arts Center, Apache Junction’s Vincent Farley, 17, will play a key role.
The musical, which takes place in biblical-era Canaan and Egypt, tells the story of Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph, through a kaleidoscope of song and dance. When Jacob gives Joseph a magnificent coat of many colors, his 11 brothers become so consumed with jealousy they sell him into slavery in Egypt. But because of Joseph’s prophetic gift for interpreting dreams, he ascends from lowly house slave to Pharaoh’s key advisor – and soon redeems the brothers who betrayed him.
Despite its weighty themes, the production is upbeat and full of comic relief – and this is especially true of Farley’s role.
Farley plays Pharaoh, the self-important leader of Egypt whose character in “Joseph” is styled after Elvis Presley – complete with booming voice, bedazzled microphone and a throng of adoring fans.
Farley and another young performer, Joshua Boenzi, share the role of Pharaoh, with Farley performing with the Red cast and Boenzi in the Blue.
Farley said, “It’s super fun to be able to embody the Elvis character.”
“It’s hilarious, inspiring and so colorful,” said Emma England, Limelight’s artistic director who, along with Marie South, is directing the show.
Beyond his role as Pharaoh, Farley is on stage throughout the musical as brother Naphthali – and this role is just as challenging. That’s because the 90-minute production features nonstop singing and dance. Every word in the musical is sung, and every scene is choreographed from beginning to end.
“Most productions rely on a couple of leads to carry the show, but ‘Joseph’ isn’t like that,” said South. “Every person on stage is important to the story, and that means every one of our performers needs to be a true triple threat.”
“The hardest part for me is that there are a lot of harmonies that have to be absolutely perfect,” Farley said.
But he’s certainly up for the challenge – especially since it means spending time with his cast mates while also honing his craft.
“We have really long rehearsals, but it’s really fun,” he said. “There is a huge cast with people I know as well as new people. I’m very confident in the show and cast and love working with each and every one of them.”
Farley is no stranger to demanding performances. Among numerous other roles, he has performed as Gaston in “Disney’s Beauty and the Best Jr.,” Agatha Trunchbull in “Matilda the Musical” and Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family,” all produced by Limelight in the past year.
When it comes to “Joseph,” Farley is confident the cast’s hard work will pay off.
“I just know that the audience will have a really fun time with this entire show,” he said.
Audiences will enjoy the colorful characters and costumes, modern choreography and a range of music and dance styles – from French ballad and country western to calypso and bubble-gum pop. With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show includes Broadway favorites like “Close Every Door,” “Go Go Go Joseph” and “Any Dream Will Do.”
“At the heart of this show is a powerful message of love and unity that will resonate with children and adults,” said England. “The cast’s hard work and incredible passion will be evident in the top-notch quality of this performance.”
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” features a cast of 50 performers ages 6-19. Tickets are $15 plus box office fees and are available at the Mesa Arts Center box office, 1 E. Main St.; at MesaArtsCenter.com keyword “technicolor”; or by visiting ll-pa.org. Group discounts are available.
Learn more at ll-pa.org.