'JOSEPH’ AT SAINT PETER'S BRINGS MUSIC, SMILES
By Joe Howard Our Parish Times, May2022 Edition
An athlete trying his hand at theatre took the lead in Saint Peter’s Catholic School’s production of “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat,” which tells the biblical story of a boy expelled from Canaan by jealous brothers only to rise to prominence in Egypt and later help his family.
Football and lacrosse player Reese Dickerson impressed in the title role, supported in the school’s largest-ever production by show director Phyllis Bottegal and music director Peter Nguyen.
“It’s very exciting,” seventh-grader Dickerson said of playing Joseph. “You’ve got to take on a lot of leadership. You’ve got to dedicate yourself.”
Dickerson and fellow seventh-grader Andrew Chipperfield – who played oldest brother Reuben – earlier had impressed the show directors singing “God Bless America” during morning announcements, a preview of what they’d bring to the show.
“A rock opera is an entirely sung show,” said Bottegal, the school’s drama teacher. She credited the efforts of the cast and Nguyen in learning those songs. “It was a lot of fun, but it was hard,” she said.
Music teacher Nguyen noted pandemic-related regulations steered the production, including “teaching the acting and seeing expressions that are half-covered” by masks. Nguyen credited everyone – including the set, costume and hair and makeup teams – for staying focused. “The kids have been great,” he said. “There are some long nights.”
While drama productions are normally reserved for seventh- and eighth-graders, the demands of the musical and dance numbers compelled the invitation of fourth- through sixth-graders to participate.
Eighth-grader Ryan Ikwuemesi brought laughs as the Pharaoh of Egypt, delivering a hip-shaking version of “Song of the King” in a sequined jumpsuit fit for a King (of Rock and Roll). Georgie Sardelis signing “Those Canaan Days” as Simeon and Kasey Hartwick with Judah’s rendition of “Benjamin’s Calypso” were other lively solos.
Advancing the story were Gabriella Loudermilk and Demi Stroms as the Narrators, handling heavy doses of lyrics and choreography in harmony.
“These kids were so proud of themselves,” said producer Lauren DeZinno, the school’s Spanish teacher. “You could hear them chanting ‘Go, go Joe,’ and cheering for themselves. It was heartwarming.”