By: Courtney Jerome
MIDLAND, Mich. – We all know it’s opening weekend for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat here at the Midland Center! But do you know all the preparation that goes into making a production like this happen? From cast to crew, the team that tackles the technicolor has been hard at work to bring the best of community theater.
Check out this Q&A with Evan Lewis, Set Designer and Assistant Technical Director at Midland Center of the Arts, for some fun facts about our Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat volunteers.
Let’s talk about the volunteers for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. What’s the size of the team that’s worked on this production?
There are 31 cast members (the youngest is about 10), who started rehearsals on March 5. They rehearse six to 12 hours a week (sometimes more) in these final two weeks leading up to opening day.
Then behind the scenes we have every job covered from the director, choreographer and music director to lighting, sound, wardrobe, props, and the scenic build crew. Plus, a 9-piece orchestra of local musicians. Some of those volunteers have been working 20 or more hours a week for the last couple weeks.
Believe it or not, we have over 80 people working—both on stage and backstage—to bring the 12 performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to life! And, let’s not forget the 10 ushers it takes to keep things running smoothly in the Little Theater for each performance!. — Evan Lewis
What is the importance of volunteers for our community theater?
Community Theater is a, by its very definition, theater done by volunteers. While we do have some professional staff (such as myself), we only form the foundation by providing advice and assistance.
Volunteers are the ones who take the show to the finish line. — Evan Lewis
We hear that you have some extra-dedicated volunteers who have been there almost every day working on the set! How long have Crock and Thor been hard at work at the Center and this particular set?
Mark “Crocodile” Semer and Thor Brecht are both in at least two days a week, for three to six hours a day. Along with Doug Winslow and Rob Reeves, they form the core of the scenic construction crew.
Both Croc and Thor are retired, and therefore have the time to come in during the day, when we can work on the stage, without impeding the evening rehearsals.
Croc used to work in manufacturing prototypes and he works best if I can give him the overall parameters of what I want built, then leave him to figure out the details. He got his nickname from the prop crocodile he made, for Peter Pan, in 2010 (two years before I started working at the Center).
Thor is a fluid dynamics engineer and will work with me on a long-term problem. He’s currently engineering and building a contraption for the finale that will bring a “Broadway” feel like we’ve never done before. I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but the audience is going to go nuts!
They both have been working on the Joseph set (along with other projects) since late February. — Evan Lewis
What is something extra that we all “need to know” about the show?
Joseph has a way of being comfortably familiar to everyone, even if you’ve never heard the music before. The composer crafted each musical number to sound just a little like a song you already know and love, while being its own individual world, having its own flavor. They somehow connect to form a completely fantastic show. — Evan Lewis
For more information, and the full schedule for Center Stage Theatre’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, visit https://www.mcfta.org/event/joseph-technicolor/e25271/.