Every once in awhile something magical happens with a cast both on and off the stage.
In years past, I have had a rough go at teaching my choreography. The ideas are all beautifully harmonious in my head, but due to my little voice disorder, it becomes painful to project/yell (yes, even with a microphone) for three hours at a time. Don't worry, voice therapy and medicine mostly keep my vocal chords strong and can now last a two-hour show no problem. Most community theater participants are performing for many reasons - one of them being social. I love it when my casts love each other, but the anxiety that grips my heart when I realize they love talking, and loudly, is pure dread.
I love to perform as well as choreograph. The two most often can't go hand-in-hand because I have to dedicate my voice to one or the other. Yet, when director Wendy Dahl-Smedshammer approached me to choreograph Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I could not say no in spite of the stifling fear of facing a painful and not-as-successful-as-I-would-have-hoped experience like I've sometimes had in the past. To cover all my bases, I found a wonderful choreographer friend in Natalie Fortie Adams for 5 of the bigger of 21 numbers who also covered some of the rehearsals I could not attend and the best dance captain a girl could hope for in Aubrielle Johnson.
Miracle of miracles - everything fell into place to choreograph and perform all while successfully pleasing both groups. But this is not the point of the story.
The point is, I was scared going into this experience. I didn't know if I could do it. I didn't want to let down my performers or myself, but could I get them to successfully bring to life the dancing visions in my mind?
YES! The answer is a resounding, "YES!" The 70-ish performers in Taylorsville's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat work incredibly hard. They love each other and talk, but also respect all of the production team members when they are talking. They remember all of the notes they are given for a better performance. They practice. They ask for tips on how to be better. They help each other. The list goes on and on. I could not be more impressed with this group.
In fact, for the first time I have teared up watching them dance. This is the first time I can say, "Yes, that is the vision that was in my head and there it is on stage just as I imagined!" I tear up watching how much they have grown to love each other the past couple of months. I tear up thinking about how there is no way we could have known when we were casting the show the first weekend in May that these performers would step up to a level they were not near two months ago. There is no way we could have known the magic that would happen.
I love this cast. I would work with them time and time again. There is an air of love floating around that stage I have no doubt the audience feels. There is laughter and joy every night. Mingling in the crowds after the show, I see nothing but smiles. We don't have a budget for fancy technology or sets or costumes, but we've got magic. What more do you need?
Closing night is tonight. I truly hope lives have changed this summer. I also truly hope I have been a part of that.
Alder Amphitheater SLCC Campus off 4600 Redwood Road. 8:00 pm. $7 or $5 for groups larger than 6.
All photos courtesy of Janel Williams.