A Dazzling ‘Dreamcoat’

A Dazzling ‘Dreamcoat’

APT brings new energy, new look to popular musical


It’s July 16, a Monday, and the cast of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is almost two full weeks away from opening night.

The Arkansas Public Theatre stage is bare, dressed with only one white, sort of Roman-looking wall and three multi-purpose boxes.

And for this evening’s rehearsal, the music is recorded.

Then Jody Napier starts to sing.

“Some folks dream of the wonders they’ll do

“Before their time on this planet is through

“Some just don’t have anything planned

“They hide their hopes and their heads in the sand

“Now I don’t say who is wrong, who is right

“But if by chance you are here for the night

“Then all I need is an hour or two

“To tell the tale of a dreamer like you…”

Joshua Jones soon joins her as Joseph, adding his rich, velvety tenor. Then the chorus starts “Jacob and Sons,” and it’s roof-rumbling stereo without microphones. It becomes very clear that this is going to be an extraordinary show.

Even though “Joseph” was the first public venture created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, APT director Ed McClure says it’s not a fluffier version of their more famous “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“As heavy and serious as ‘Superstar’ is, ‘Joseph’ is that light and playful,” he says. “I think the only similarity is both are written by the same men and based upon the Bible.”

“Underneath the lightheartedness, there is an expression of resilience, compassion and forgiveness that we can never get enough of,” adds Napier, who is new to the APT stage as the Narrator. “I feel confident that the audience will walk away with a new fervor and joy from this production. I’m hoping that conversations of forgiveness and steadfastness are stirred in the car ride home. And maybe, you’ll even feel like you’ve made friends with these timeless people of the Bible.”

Napier says her first experience with APT has been as extraordinary as the show.

“APT is different than other theaters because of the quality of design that goes into every scene,” she says. “Any detail you see really has been thoroughly evaluated and executed with ardor.”

Photo courtesy Lori Collier
Jody Napier is the Narrator and Joshua D. Jones reprises his role as Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular musical, on stage starting July 27 at APT.

That’s no surprise to Jones, who is back from Chicago to reprise the role of Joseph — one of the many parts he played at APT over nearly two decades.

“My first show at APT — back when it was called Rogers Little Theater — was ‘Evita’ way back in 2001,” he says. “Since that time, I have been blessed with wearing many hats at APT. From a plethora of character portrayals — ranging from Seymour Krelborn in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ to Joe Hardy in ‘Damn Yankees’ to Jesus in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ — to fundraising and event planning in the early years, I now find myself back on this beautiful stage.

“The truth is, APT at the Victory Theater is magnetic,” he enthuses. “Once you are a part of this beautiful family of actors, directors and talented teammates, you will always find yourself at home on this stage. While some of the faces have changed over the years, the heartbeat of the theater is stronger than ever, and I’m grateful to be part of such a talented cast. It is this heart that makes APT unique, and the rich history that courses through its veins that makes this theater more special to me than any theaters in Chicago.”

“Josh is a pro and having him back is a benefit to the production,” says McClure. “The cast rehearsed for three weeks without him, and he came last week and fit right in without missing a beat. I am so appreciative his professional life allowed him to leave Chicago for a month to come do the show.

“The sheer joy and, dare I say, ‘colorful’ nature of this show makes it a pleasure to direct again and get to watch again,” McClure adds. What exactly he means by colorful will remain a surprise until opening night.



‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’

WHEN — 8 p.m. July 27-28; 2 p.m. July 29; again Aug. 2-5 & 9-12

WHERE — Arkansas Public Theatre at the Victory in Rogers

COST — $23-$35

INFO — 631-8988

Categories: Cover Story