For the 23rd year, New Era Lutheran Church is using a musical production to raise money for charity. Bill Turner is in his 18th year of directing the production. This year, the dinner theater will present Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Webber is one of the better-known musical theater composers, having penned The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Evita. Rice is a premier lyricist who wrote the lyrics for The Lion King and many other movie songs and musicals.
The story of the show follows the children of Jacob as found in the book of Genesis. Joseph, played by Muscatine High School Choir Director Johnathan Ryan, draws the ire of his brothers due the favoritism he receives from their father. This is Ryan’s third show at New Era, where he previously performed in Fiddler on the Roof and Once Upon a Mattress. Ryan said, “This a really fun show because my character is ridiculous. The music is really good and a little psychedelic, which is a lot of fun.”
Ryan is joined in the cast by several of his high school students. “It is fun to be on the performing side of the stage, and I like having the opportunity to perform with my students instead of direct them,” Ryan said. The show is moved along by three narrators who navigate the audience from scene to scene. Jenni Boldt, Emma Auberg, and Mollie Juehring will provide this narration. Boldt, who is performing in her 11th New Era Show, said, “I’ve wanted to play this role since I heard the music in the 90s. I am so excited to sing these songs.” Augberg, who just graduated from MHS and will study Music Education and Vocal Performance at Wartburg College next year, said, “This show is just so much fun. I love the freedom that this character has, and I like how each song is from a different genre and has a different vibe to it.”
Turner told the Voice of Muscatine, “This show is a lot of fun to direct. We have a good-sized cast of really talented people. We did this show 16 years ago, and Bob and Mary Danner, who help with the show, felt like we had the talent to do it, so we decided to do it again.”
The cast is rounded out by Jacob Siefers as the Pharaoh, Adam Turner as Jacob, and Nikki Kurz as Mrs. Potiphar. The brothers are played by Sean Broderson, Trey Broderson, Greyson Cory, Devon Diederichs, Michael Kistler, Josh Lary, Antonio Martinez, Donovan Peniston, Lucas Rowe, and Micah Van Sickle. Kimi Adasme, Maddie Bebber, Catlynn Byrd, Emily Much, Megan Nidergeses, and Yahzmeen Wooten complete the chorus characters. Anita Zahniser directs the music.
Performances will be held on June 3, June 4, June 10, and June 11 at the New Era Lutheran Church, with dinner starting at 6:00 p.m. On Sunday, June 12, dinner starts at 5:00 p.m. All proceeds from the musical go to Lutheran World Relief and the Muscatine Humane Society.