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Director comments on 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

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"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, will be performed July 10-Aug. 2 at The Phipps Center for the Arts.

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Director Beth Reidenbach of Hudson previously staged "Grease" and "The Dastardly Doctor Devereaux" at The Phipps. Other productions she has mounted include "Greater Tuna," "Hocus Pocus" and "The Unexpected Guest," and she also appeared in "Foxfire," "The Trouble at Willow River" and "Fiddler on the Roof," all at The Phipps.

"First and foremost, the story of Joseph is told almost completely through song," said Reidenbach. "We were very fortunate to be able to cast extremely strong vocalists in all of the roles with solos. Hudsonites Katie Gherty as the Narrator and John Rynders as Joseph both bring with them extensive vocal training at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where they both sang in the Nordic Choir."

Sheila Pelzel of Hudson and Aleks Knezevech of Woodbury have assumed the roles of understudies in addition to their roles in the chorus. "Both are exceptional vocalists that provide top quality back-up for the leads, and Aleks is also featured in 'Those Canaan Days,'" said Reidenbach.

Marc Berg of River Falls, Josh Pritchett of Stillwater, Minn., David Gottwalt of St. Paul and Gabriel Johnson of River Falls add to the vocal strength and are also featured in solos.

In addition, the role of the Pharaoh, who appears as an Elvis Presley character, is played by Joe Sir, who is a professional Elvis impersonator. Rounding out the chorus are voices from the remaining brothers, a children's chorus and 13 female vocalists.

The second element that Reidenbach feels is essential to "Joseph" is the entertainment aspect. "The upbeat tempos of the music, the mixture of biblical references with modern day features, dazzling costumes, a variety of dancing styles, an interesting set design, lighting that enhances and illuminates - all these aspects need to be blended into an enjoyable, festive evening at the theater."

Rounding out the production are Ruth Ashwood, Hudson, as the music director; Melissa Huber, Hudson, choreographer; Cheryl Frostcouture, Mahtomedi, Minn., costume designer; Jeff Hile, Cumberland, scenic designer; Tom Dahle, Hudson, sound designer; and Mark C. Koski, Lakeville, lighting design and technical direction. Maxine Irons and Susan Dahl, Hudson, are assembling props, and a number of other volunteers are building the set as well as operating the lights and sound during the production run.

"Each of the many individuals involved brings a level of professionalism that has produced excellent results in previous productions and I know will once again," said Reidenbach. "Kasey Jean Tunell, Woodbury, as stage manager, is the glue that holds it all together as she uses her multi-layered theater talents to keep it all organized and on task. Production coordinators Heidi Hansen, Hudson, and Diana Swanson, Lake Elmo, are continually busy behind the scenes recruiting volunteers and tying up loose ends."

Tickets

Performances are July 10-Aug. 2 on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on the main stage. Tickets are $23 for adults and $16 for all students with a current ID, with a $2 discount for the opening weekend, and a $2 discount for seniors on the Sunday matinees. Discounts are available by purchasing season tickets.

For reservations, contact The Phipps ticket office at (715) 386-8409 or www.ThePhipps.org.

Champagne brunch cruise and theater packages are available for the Sunday matinees. For those reservations, contact Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines at (651) 436-8883 or go to www.Afton HouseInn.com.

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