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Tempe brothers step into the limelight in 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'

Aug. 4-14 at the Mesa Arts Center

Posted 8/1/22

When Limelight Performing Arts presents “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” Aug. 4-14 at the Mesa Arts Center, James and Andrew McGuire will be a key part of the cast.

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Things To Do

Tempe brothers step into the limelight in 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'

Aug. 4-14 at the Mesa Arts Center

Posted

When Limelight Performing Arts presents “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” Aug. 4-14 at the Mesa Arts Center, James and Andrew McGuire will be a key part of the cast.

Set in biblical-era Canaan and Egypt, “Joseph” brings the age-old story of Jacob and his sons to vibrant new life. When Jacob gives Joseph a magnificent coat of many colors, his 11 brothers become so consumed with jealously they sell him into slavery in Egypt.

Despite its weighty themes, the production is upbeat, light-hearted and full of comic relief. With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, it features colorful characters and costumes, modern choreography and a range of music and dance styles – from calypso and bubble-gum pop to a country-western hoedown and a Pharaoh who sings Elvis.

“It’s hilarious, inspiring and so colorful,” said Emma England, Limelight’s artistic director who, along with Marie South, is directing the show.

James is working hard to bring color to his roles. The 15-year-old, who will soon begin his sophomore year at Corona del Sol High School, plays the roles of Jacob’s son, Gad, as well as Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s high-ranking officers.

“Gad is one of the brothers,” said James. “He has no real defining qualities written into the show, but my version of him is the nervous brother who is reluctant to follow the others.”

In this role, James is on stage for nearly every scene. That’s because the 90-minute production features nonstop singing and dance. Every word in the musical is sung, every scene is choreographed from beginning to end and every and every performer plays a key part in bringing the story together.

“I have never done a show that is continuous songs the way ‘Joseph’ is,” he said. “We’re constantly moving and singing.”

“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.”

And while Gad is nervous, Potiphar is anything but.

“Potiphar is a completely different character who is very self-centered and gloats to others.”

Joseph’s time as a slave in Potiphar’s house represents a key moment in the bible story. After Potiphar throws Joseph into jail, the young man shows his prophetic gift for interpreting dreams – a gift that prompts his ascent from lowly house slave to Pharaoh’s key advisor.

And though portraying two entirely different characters is challenging, he’s certainly up for it – especially since it means spending time with his cast mates while also honing his craft.

“I always have loved the community around this theater and doing this show with these people makes everything better automatically,” he said.

James is no stranger to demanding performances. Among numerous other roles, he performed as Cogsworth in “Disney’s Beauty and the Best Jr.” and William Barfée in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” both produced by Limelight.

When it comes to “Joseph,” James is confident the cast’s hard work will pay off.

“I love the challenge and can’t wait to see the end result!”

James’ younger brother, Andrew, is part of the Children’s Choir. This group of youngsters is critical to the musical, as the pop in and out of the world and story of “Joseph” and add new layers to every scene and song.

“The Children’s Choir is important because the narrators are telling the story to us in the show,” said Andrew, 11, a soon-to-be sixth grader at Kyrene Middle School. “The narrators are like our teachers.”

Andrew and the other Children’s Choir members are on stage for most of the show, singing and dancing and helping the audience understand Joseph’s story. It’s an important responsibility for the youngest kids in the cast.

“I like seeing how all the older kids put their songs together with ours,” Andrew said.

He, too, has spent time on the stage, most recently winning the role of James in “James and the Giant Peach” at Chandler Youth Theater.

As opening night approaches, the brothers are eagerly anticipating the audience’s response.

“I think that the audience wants a funny show with special features like flips and fun dancing,” said Andrew.

Audiences also will enjoy the colorful characters and costumes, modern choreography and a range of music and dance styles – from French ballad and calypso to a country western hoedown and a Pharaoh who sings Elvis.

“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 an epic cast of 50 East Valley performers ages 6-21. Tickets are $16 plus box office fees and are available at the Mesa Arts Center box office, at MesaArtsCenter.com keyword “technicolor,” or by visiting ll-pa.org. Group discounts are available.

Learn more at ll-pa.org.

Tempe, Arizona, Mesa, Mesa Arts Center, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, arts, entertainment, things to do

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