MAPLEWOOD, N.J. -- Maplewood Middle School will present the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for three consecutive days, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance on the school’s website. “We usually sell out every night,” said Maureen O’Sullivan, director and sixth-grade language arts teacher.
O’Sullivan said that there are 150 students in the cast and an additional 50 students on the stage and art crews.
Rehearsals began in November and have taken place every day after school from 3:15 until 5:15. She added that students were placed into groups so not every student had to rehearse every day.
“Each student has (his or her) own handmade costume, which means that 150 costumes were hand sewn,” O’Sullivan said.
According to O’Sullivan, in addition to Liz Boyd, the costumer, there were many helping hands such as parent volunteers, a choreographer and a conductor for the live orchestra.
Eighth-grader Bridget Sherman, who will play Brother Levi, said that she has loved being a part of the play. “I was excited because it wasn’t something I was familiar with, it was new,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of new friends that I wouldn’t expect, so that’s nice.”
Sherman’s fellow actor, Owen Gall (Brother Zebulun), added: “It’s a nice place to get away, and I like to be able to sing and dance. The play incorporates a lot of different kinds of music, and it has a religious background to it.”
O’Sullivan explained that since there is always a big turnout, she tries to utilize as many of the children’s talents as possible.
“I try to pick a play to showcase as many kids as possible,” she said. “For example, instead of one lead there are 12.”
Every student has gotten something out of the experience, according to O’Sullivan
“Whether they go on to theater or not, it takes a lot of confidence and commitment to be in a play,” she said. “They learn responsibility. They’re also getting to make friends from different grades.”
O’Sullivan added that she is looking forward to Feb. 10.
“I’m excited for opening night; they’ve worked really hard,” she said. “When they get the first set of applause, that’s what I get excited for because then they get the sense that everything paid off.”
Kimberly Bolognini is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.