The Blackfoot Community Players are very excited to present Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center. We are also grateful for the excellent article about the show that was published in the Bingham County Chronicle and the local TV news story by KPVI. Read the article by John Miller below and watch the KPVI clip here.
BLACKFOOT — The Blackfoot Community Players have been determined not to let COVID-19 get in the way of their annual summer production.
As a result, with some adjustments made to consider health precautions and with the blessing of Southeastern Idaho Public Health (SIPH) officials, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is coming to the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center starting tonight and running Saturday night and all next week through Aug. 22. The show is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person.
It will take a venue as large as BPAC to help ensure health standards with the pandemic and to allow a large cast to perform on the stage. Director Sharon Hoge said they started with a cast of 80 which has now grown to 85.
The popular musical which starred Donny Osmond on stage and screen is a familiar take on the biblical story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis, penned by the team of Tim Rice on lyrics and Andrew Lloyd Webber on music.
Adam Farnes is playing the lead role of Joseph, with Karin Dance as the Narrator, Donavan Harrington as Jacob, Merritt VanOrden as Rueben, Brad Bowen as Pharoah, with hosts of others joining the singing cast.
Jacob Spjute is the music director/male vocal coach, Diane Burt is female vocal coach, and a large children’s chorus is led by Becky Walker.
Great attention has been paid to stage design, costumes, and choreography.
“We’ve been planning to do Joseph since last summer,” Hoge said. “We scheduled things knowing we may have to have a change of plan because of COVID, but we put it on the calendar hoping it would happen.”
One of the first things the SIPH district had Hoge do was put together a plan that would meet health criteria, the plan was approved, and the show was cast in June. Everyone involved was informed that everything was tentative, Hoge said.
“At rehearsals, we found out that one of our cast members worked as a temperature taker at Bingham Memorial Hospital, and she took temps every time we met,” she added.
Rehearsals started in June and have been going ever since.
Organizers will limit the number of people who can come to each performance, Hoge said, but all tickets will be honored even if matinees need to be scheduled. Those wanting to attend are urged to come early. With a capacity of 1,200 at BPAC, they started out with a limit of 400 people in the audience each night, but with the rising number of cases in Bingham County, that’s been dropped to a limit of 300.
“If people bought tickets for Friday night and we have hit the quota, we will honor those tickets on other nights,” Hoge said. “We have cast members going off to college and the military so extending the number of nights isn’t possible, but matinees are possible so everyone can see the show who wants to.”
There will be social distancing, masks are urged until people are seated with general seating by ushers, and every other row will be closed.
“In a building that big, social distancing is easier for the cast, crew, and the audience,” Hoge said.
Disinfecting spray will be used regularly, the janitors at the school during weekdays will be doing regular spraying, and with such a large cast they will be helping out with disinfecting seats, lobby, restrooms, and dressing rooms.
“One of the things we pushed to make this happen, we think people are ready to use proper COVID precautions, people are ready to go out and enjoy a fun show, we’re just excited to be out of our house and into doing our things we enjoy doing,” Hoge said.
The cast has had the option of wearing masks throughout rehearsals. A doctor and nurse are in the cast. Hoge said they have had some cast members exposed to COVID secondarily, and they’ve been given some time off.
“This is a fun musical spoof of a tale we’re all familiar with, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote it they weren’t looking at it as biblical scholars,” Hoge noted of the production itself.
“We’ve invited people from all over the valley to take part, we have cast members driving from north and south, Pocatello and Rexburg. “I’ve worked with a lot of casts, and this is probably the most vocally experienced from junior chorus on up to teenagers and adults.
The production runs about 76 minutes without intermission, with a small one for a costume change.
“We’re doing everything we can to give people a great experience with their families,” Hoge added.