The Wauseon High School Theater Department is set to bring audiences Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The famous musical comes to the WHS auditorium April 11, 12, and 13. The cast and crew have been working feverishly over the last three months despite the weather obstacles and other common roadblocks, but this cast and it’s director, Jason Robinson could not be more excited about the performances.
I wanted to try “Joseph” because I thought it would be a challenge,” Robinson began. “It is a musical and story that most people have a good knowledge of. The past few years we have done “Once on this Island” and “Pippen” musicals that people were not necessarily familiar with. This musical has a high degree of expectation going into it. Obviously, I just thought it was time to return to something that is a little more traditional that the community would know and be familiar with. But mainly it was because the talent is here and is available for this production.”
One of the pieces of talent that has been found and not common in most Wauseon productions is dancing. “Joseph” lends itself to dancing and singing and Robinson saw that as a big part of the challenge that he wanted to attack. “I thought all around that it was a really good concept to push for since we had more time in the schedule. I just thought it would be great to present something like this to our fine community right before Easter.”
One of the main stumbling blocks that not only put a damper on play rehearsals, but life in general, was this historic winter time weather. “We had to cancel some rehearsals,” Robinson said. “We probably lost three or four rehearsals because of the weather situation. It backed us up a bit and put a little extra pressure on us, but we had some extra time that was built in. And I am a firm believer in that fact that God gives you all the time you need to get a job done.”
It was not an overnight decision to bring Joseph to the WHS stage. Robinson took a few weeks to finally decide to give it a shot. “When we did “Les Mis” and “Once on this Island” those were constant music the entire time. So the thought of doing an operetta was nothing really knew for me. But this style of operetta is something completely different than what we have done before. The first week of rehearsal, when we got done with everything, I looked at the blocking and choreography and I thought this was not what I had pictured in my head what I am seeing on stage. So we scrapped that week and started over. It was a few weeks before I finally felt I had a niche of what I wanted to do with the show.”
After the false start, things have come together quite nicely for Robinson and his cast. “Obviously the weather was an obstacle, and perhaps a greater obstacle with the weather situation we were not able to get out to the barn to get our set pieces because of the mounds of snow. So here we are now, two weeks before the show and it this is the first time the cast has really been able to walk on the set.”
Despite all this, the cast, as all casts have done in the past at the school, have been ready to perform when the time comes for the show to ‘go live’. “We have a very specific mindset here at Wauseon Theater,” Robinson explained. “We are constantly reminding them to focus what they need to do and what they need to accomplish individually. The longer the student worries about themselves and their own performance, the less they have to worry about. I think that allows them to have a certain amount of perspective of the situation.”
Robinson is more than happy with his cast this time around. “I see a repore that I have not seen before,” Robinson said “This is a group of people that come in focused. In terms of experience, this is probably one of my less experienced cast that I have ever had. A lot of our leads are people who have only been in theater for two years. Half of the brothers in the cast have only been in the theater for one year. But the leaders that we do have have stepped up to help this cast have a discipline and focus that is unparalleled here in Wauseon theater.”