The town of many players dusts off the coat of many colours
It’s safe to say, based on the strong theatre tradition established in the Brome Lake area, a community that plays together, stays together. In 1994, the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat took the stage in Knowlton, directed by Emma Stevens.
At the time, Stevens recalled there was a buzz in town and a contagious excitement around theatre.
“Everybody wanted to be in something,” Stevens said.
Twenty-three years later, that excitement never waned.
Demonstrating the acting bug is as strong as ever, Joseph will return to Knowlton for another run, opening Nov. 2 at Theatre Lac Brome.
The cast of over 30 people, ranging in age from six to 85-years-old will feature a number of original cast members, including Lucy Hoblyn, who was a narrator in the original production and is in the director’s chair this time around.
“I just love it,” Hoblyn said, when asked why she wanted to stage the well-known musical, written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
“I saw it eight times in London,” she said.
Also the Choir Director at Knowlton Academy, Hoblyn said for years she had wanted to do the songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with her young singers. Putting the show on with the Knowlton Players and incorporating the school choir was a great way to do it, she said.
Emma Stevens sat quietly in the audience on Wednesday evening, watching the cast rehearsing for the upcoming show.
While the current production will offer a fresh take on the famous musical, Stevens has returned to help out with the Potiphar scene.
“It’s a lot of work,” Stevens said, applauding Hoblyn and the current cast. “It doesn’t take weeks; it takes months.”
“This theatre was built on the back of this community,” Stevens added. “Kids have grown up in this. It becomes a big giant family,” she said, explaining that there has been a domino effect of support in the area over the years.
Hoblyn’s Joseph has an intergenerational cast, in more ways than one.
In addition to actors like Bob Hennessey and Hoblyn’s husband Danny Mcauley who were in the show 23 years ago and are back again, there are three
generations of Hoblyns (Lucy’s father and son) involved in the current production.
Local Jessica Brown also made the musical a family affair, starring in Joseph alongside her two children.
Knowlton Player Georgie Landry, who is producing and acting in the upcoming musical, explained that theatre has a sneaky way of recruiting.
According to Landry, it all starts with parents bringing their children to rehearsals. They lend a hand with the costumes. One day, they inevitably step out on the stage. “And then they get hooked, just like the rest of us,” Landry said.
Landry said the cast started rehearsals last spring. After a break during the summer, she said rehearsals have been going strong three-days-aweek since Labour Day. The choir has been practicing every Sunday, she added.
“This is a labour of love. We may or may not break even,” Landry said, explaining the Knowlton Players aren’t in it for the money.
“We do it for the sense of community and the fun,” she said.
The set was designed and built by Hoblyn’s husband Danny Mcauley with the help of her father.
“When Danny and Lucy get committed to something they’re all in,” Landry said.
Other helpers included Linda Carey, Sheila Quinn, Juli Peasley, Jessica Brown, Patricia St. Onge, Emma Stevens, and Katrina Burcombe to help bring Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat back to the Knowlton stage.
The show includes over 25 choreographed dance numbers in varied music styles from calypso to jazz to western, to name a few.
The role of Joseph will be played by Massey-vanier High School music, art and drama teacher Bill Jarand.
The show will run from Nov.2-12 at Theatre Lac Brome, 9 Mont Echo road in Knowlton. Shows run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s at 2:00 p.m. tickets are $16.50 adults & $11.50 children. Tickets can be purchased online at: gogojoseph.brownpapertickets.com or by contacting Brome Lake Books at 450-242-2242.
Emma Stevens (left) director of the 1994 production of Joseph beside Lucy Hoblyn, who in the director's chair for the upcoming show.
MVHS teacher Bill Jarand will play the role of Joseph in the Knowlton Players' upcoming production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dreamcoat.