Powerful Youth Cast Brings Bible Story to Life for Families

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    If you’re lucky enough to be spending Memorial Day weekend in Richmond, make plans to get over to the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen for the CharacterWorks production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, playing through Sunday.

    The sheer talent of this youth cast literally brought me to tears – I can’t imagine what I would have felt if I had actually known one of them personally!

    As you may know, this production is unique in that the entire script is in song format, which came as a surprise to my crew of four boys, ages nine to thirteen. I was afraid they might have a hard time following the story, but I was wrong, and before we knew it, the first hour had flown right by, and it was time for intermission and our chance to buy some raffle tickets for their epic door prizes.

    It takes ninety rehearsal hours to perfectly execute a CharacterWorks production, and the amount of hard work these seventy six kids (ages eight to eighteen) and teens put into their roles is evident from start to finish. As I always say when I write about CharacterWorks’ plays, it doesn’t matter if the actor has a part in the ensemble or a major role, each and every one of them gives 110% and passion for their craft exudes from the stage.

    I am simply in awe of Clara Rawlings, the 18-year-old narrator of Joseph, who memorized and flawlessly repeated (in song!) no less than a zillion lines. I have to figure out how to meet this powerhouse for coffee to find out her secret (this is her twenty-sixth CharacterWorks production, so I suppose it could be that practice really does make perfect).

    Sixteen-year-old Clover Hill High School tenth grader Max Foster was perfectly cast as Joseph and showed all of the emotions, as well as vocal range, needed for this complex role. His brothers, too many to name, were fantastic and drew huge applause during the famine scene. But the guy who brought down the house was undoubtedly Max Wasilik, seventeen-year-old Deep Run junior, who played the Pharaoh. CharacterWorks’ managing director, Donna Amadee, and her husband, Joe, joked after the show, “We’re taking the Pharaoh on the road!” And they could – to sold-out crowds!

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat continues at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen through Sunday.

    For showtimes (five more shows through Sunday!) and tickets, go here.