Thursday, April 24th, 2014

‘Joseph’ plot familiar to church leaders in cast

Posing with the Matthew Tlachac (back, right), the lead in Madison County Arts Councils production ofJoseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, are cast members Tim Ruesch and his children, Simon and Jayne. (Not pictured: Tims son, Graham, a member of the stage crew.)

How appropriate: a biblical-themed musical that features several local church leaders.

Though it wasnt by design, the cast and crew for Madison County Arts Councils production ofJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat includes a couple of pastors, a former youth minister, two church choir directors and a bible college degree holder.

They, as is likely the case with many of the other cast members, were quite familiar with the story on which the musical is based—the biblical journey of a favored son whose jealous brothers sell him into slavery. The 1970s-era Andrew Lloyd Webber musical tells the story through a variety of song styles, from calypso to country-and-western.

“Its a really fun take on the Old Testament story of Joseph. Theres a mixing of cultures from then and our culture today. Its humorous but also has good meaning to the story, said Tim Ruesch, one of the clergyman hitting the stage July 20-22 at London High School.

Ruesch has served as pastor at London Grace Church for the past 18 years and is chaplain at Universal Home Health and Hospice. InDreamcoat, he plays Zebulan, one of the 11 jealous brothers.

“The brothers are like a character unit. We usually sing our songs together and do motions and moves together. Were like a mini mens choir, Ruesch said.We are the antagonists to Joseph. Were cruel to him, but it works out in the end for the good of everyone.

In contrast to the dysfunction of his on-stagefamily, Rueschs real-life family is having a ball with the musical. Joining him on stage is his daughter, Jayne, 18, and son, Simon, 12. Son Graham, 14, is a member of the stage crew.

“When would a dad ever have the opportunity to share this kind of experience with his children? Its the reason I do it, Ruesch said, crediting his children for talking him into community theater last year when he had a speaking part in the Arts Councils production ofBrigadoon.

For tickets toJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, call the Arts Council hotline at (740) 206-8618. Indicate which performance you want to see, how many tickets at each price designation, the name the tickets are to be reserved under, and any special seating accommodations needed. Tickets can also be reserved through cast members.

Shows are set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, July 20-21, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students (high school and younger) and seniors (ages 60 and older). All seats for the Sunday matinee are $5.

“Dreamcoat is directed by Jeff Gates, with Vicki Arnold as choreographer. Ailene Albrecht is the music director.

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