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Putting on ‘Dreamcoat’

‘Joseph’ cast working hard to bring Chicago quality to Coal City

COAL CITY — After a recent dress rehearsal in the Coal City High School Auditorium, the cast of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” sat on the stage to listen to performance notes.

The rehearsal had gone well — the singing seemed flawless, the dancing smooth, the acting a happy blend of over-the-top humor and un-ironic emotion.

But Directors Jane Swinney and Nicki Blustein, with a keen eye for details, wanted to push the cast to the next level.

Some needed to sing louder or enunciate better. Others were instructed to slow their pace, or quicken it.

There were a host of other critiques — delivered like a coach giving a post-game locker room speech — that someone without a theater background would never even think of.

This isn’t to say it was harsh — instead, it was emblematic of just how seriously Small Town Theatrics is taking its current production, which opens tonight and runs through Sunday.

“We’ve got a lot of talented people,” Swinney said. “We want to show that you can see the kind of theater you’d see in Chicago right here.”

Practices began the first week of June, initially meeting three times a week.

Now, the cast is meeting every day.

The cast — comprised of everyone from school-age children to Morris High School Superintendent Pat Halloran — draws mostly from the Grundy area, with at least one coming from as far as Plainfield.

They are children, high school students, college students, teachers and, of course, one superintendent.

“I think the level of talent in this production is very high,” Halloran said. “It’s very well done.”

Halloran plays Jacob, the title character’s father. He gifts Joseph with the titular coat, arousing jealousy in the hearts of his other sons, who sell their brother into slavery.

Joseph is played by Jack Micetich, a social studies teacher at Coal City Middle School. Director Swinney said Micetich’s voice and stage presence drives the role.

“I just couldn’t see anybody else in this role,” Swinney said. “It’s a very demanding role.”

That’s something Micetich himself attests to.

“I’ve taken a pretty big beating,” said Micetich, who also directs plays at CCHS. “You don’t realize how physically exhausting it is until after.”

The musical, written by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice, famously includes high-energy dance numbers and an eclectic variety of musical styles.

While challenging for performers, it’s precisely what they think will draw in the crowds.

“It’s high energy,” Micetich said. “It’s colorful, it’s fun. It’s got something for everyone.”

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