Star of Sto­ry­Book Theatre’s Joseph had a dream of his own

Calgary Herald - - YOU - LOUIS B. HOB­SON

Joseph and the Amaz­ing Tech­ni­color Dream­coat is a mu­si­cal about dream­ers for dream­ers.

Its sim­ple mes­sage, that some­times dreams do come true, told through An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s catchy tunes and Tim Rice’s clever lyrics, has en­sured that Joseph/ Dream­coat has been a sta­ple of pro­fes­sional, com­mu­nity and high school the­atres for 50 years. It is one of the most pro­duced mu­si­cals of all time and, start­ing Fri­day, Sto­ry­Book Theatre is us­ing it to fill the Bed­ding­ton Arts Cen­tre with fam­ily-friendly fun for the hol­i­day sea­son un­til Dec. 29.

For Alex Smith, who is play­ing Joseph in Sto­ry­Book’s pro­duc­tion, there’s a bit of art im­i­tat­ing life or, as the nar­ra­tor in the play ex­plains, “it’s the story of a boy whose dreams come true.”

When we first meet Joseph, he’s pretty naive and im­pres­sion­able. He’s also very for­tu­nate be­cause he has a lot of praise heaped on him, sym­bol­ized by his spe­cial coat.

“That was def­i­nitely me three years ago at 15 when I started do­ing theatre. Things hap­pened quickly for me and I was naive and im­pres­sion­able like Joseph. When you’re young, it’s dif­fi­cult to know how to han­dle praise and at­ten­tion. It’s a real learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Smith.

“It’s Joseph’s jour­ney and it has been mine. It’s like I’m telling my story through Joseph’s story. I hope I’m a bet­ter per­son as a re­sult. Joseph cer­tainly is in his story,” says Smith who cred­its his fam­ily for get­ting him back on track when­ever he slipped off.

“I have in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive par­ents and a won­der­ful older brother. I’m truly blessed. I also have a great sup­port­ive theatre fam­ily I’ve made over the past three years. They are a huge part of my suc­cess.”

Smith grad­u­ated from Cen­tral Memo­rial Per­form­ing High School last year. He in­tended to take a year off be­fore de­cid­ing on ca­reer plans. But his year off turned into a dream. He was cast as Joseph and cast in a sup­port­ing role in Theatre Cal­gary’s spring pro­duc­tion of Billy El­liot.

“I could never have ex­pected things would go so well for me. I have to learn, as Joseph does in his story, how to make these gifts work for me.

“Some­where in­side of me, I’ve al­ways known I want to be a per­former and now that I’ve tasted theatre, I can­not imag­ine my­self do­ing any­thing else, so I have to take things slowly and care­fully.”

Al­though there is one ti­tle char­ac­ter in Joseph/Dream­coat, it is any­thing but a one-man show. The nar­ra­tor, played by Crys­tal Chai­tan, is key to the show and five of the ac­tors play­ing Joseph’s brother’s have their own mu­si­cal num­bers.

“Scott Dre­witz, who is di­rect­ing the show, is re­ally fea­tur­ing the fe­male en­sem­ble and the chil­dren’s en­sem­ble. He has turned our Joseph/Dream­coat into one big fam­ily.”

Smith is par­tic­u­larly grate­ful for the chil­dren in the cast. He says they “they are so ea­ger and hon­est. They bring out the best in all of us older ac­tors. Hav­ing them around is won­der­ful.

“I don’t have to look too far back in my own life to un­der­stand why they are so ex­cited and en­thu­si­as­tic. I hope each of them has the kind of in­cred­i­ble sup­port sys­tem and the be­lief in them­selves I have.”

Alex Smith plays the lead in Joseph and the Amaz­ing Tech­ni­color Dream­coat, which runs at Bed­ding­ton Arts Cen­tre from Nov. 23 to Dec. 29.

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