Children’s chorus of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ say they are enjoying the experience

A group of kids wearing colourful shirts and smiles on their faces is the first thing you see as soon as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” starts.

 The kids are the children’s chorus in the play. They were cast by StoryBook Theatre, and are now performing in Stage West Dinner Theatre.

StoryBook Theatre put the call out for auditions after Stage West’s production manager, Kira Campbell, contacted them. They had many kids audition but only 22 were chosen to be a part of the two alternating choirs.

“I like it. It’s a good place to be in,” says Thea Allan, 13, who’s part of the choir. “It’s a good experience and, of course, mingling with the actors is really fun.”

The kids seem excited to have this opportunity and their excitement shows on their faces, on and off stage. They also get to have small interactions with the actors during the show, and do so with a big smile and full of energy.Stage West’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” features the StoryBook Theatre kids choir.

Photo Courtesy of Jacqueline Strilchuk

Allan believes that working alongside professional actors is one of the best aspects of this experience, and she is not alone. Nichole Ham, 11, and Laura Brennan, 13, agree with her.

“Professional actors really know what they are doing,” Allan says. “You really don’t have to worry when you’re acting with them.”

But they are not the only ones enjoying the company. Cast members say they are also enjoying the time they get to spend working with the kids.

David Cotton, who plays Joseph in the show, and Susan Gilmour, who plays the narrator, both pointed out the kids’ excitement to be in the play, as well as the hard work they have demonstrated.

“They listen, they watch and they learn. They inspire me, because we all have to do that,” Gilmore says. “It’s not just inspiring, it kind of fills me up.”

Gilmore and Cotton agree that they like spending time around the kids and that the kids have done a good job with their role in the production. Cotton even mentioned that he hears the kids talking about being in this business every day.

While the play is presented by Stage West, StoryBook Theatre members have helped in more ways than just finding the kids.

Jacqueline Strilchuk, StoryBook Theatre’s choir director, had about seven rehearsals with the kids before they were sent out to start rehearsing with Stage West and their musical director.

“We took them through the preliminary learning of the music, and then when they moved to Stage West they continued with it and put them into the show and staged them in the show,” Strilchuk says.

Strilchuk is also one of the five choir wranglers — but only two are required in each show — who are with the kids backstage during the presentations and make sure everyone is there, ready and quiet. She says that being a part of the process with the kids has been great.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now playing and runs until Jan. 22. Allan, Ham and Brennan all agree that they will continue to have a good time being a part of it.

“It’s just really exciting to be in this. Even though it’s a little bit long, I can go to school and be like, ‘I’m in this show,’” Brennan says.

Allan had a similar reaction, saying, “Really funny stuff can happen on stage, so that’s mostly what I’m looking forward to.

“I can’t wait to have those songs stuck in my head,” she adds jokingly.

Strilchuk says she talked to the kids the first week the show was playing, and her advice was: “Remember, in three months you have to have the exact same enthusiasm. Even though you’ll know exactly what’s going on and you’ll know every single word in this show, you have to pretend like it’s the first time you’ve ever heard it.”

Yet, the kids’ enthusiasm has remained high so far and they seem to be enjoying this experience: learning from professional actors and having fun at the same time.

slugo@cjournal.ca