In 2004, I appeared in Ross Music Theatre’s, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." I played Reuben, the oldest of 11 Brothers, in what has been Ross Music Theatre's most successful show. "Joseph" ran in 1995, 2000 and 2001 at Reinhart Auditorium in Merrillville with added performances at the Star Plaza Theatre.
It’s been 12 years. The show is back. And so am I.
I wasn’t going to do it. In fact, I didn’t go to auditions way back in May. But I told director Mike Reinhart that I was available if anything happened.
Two weeks before opening night (July 22), I got the call. One of the brothers dropped out. Would I step in?
I still had my original costume from 2004. It’s been in a cedar chest for over a decade, save for one Halloween when I wore it to a party.
I even have the same cowboy boots (see the show, you’ll know why we Brothers wear them). I bought them in 2004 at Tony's Saddle Shop in Valparaiso. The only other time I've worn them, besides the Halloween party, was during a visit to the now-shuttered DC's Country Junction in Lowell.
I could have found used boots or got some cheap ones, but the dancing isn’t easy in this show and I wanted the best fitting ones (and that looked good).
The dancing. I’ve compared dancing as a Brother in this show to being competitive cheerleader. You have to toss your partner (one of the 11 Wives) around and move fast. It’s a great workout.
The dances in this show are fun. About a month after the show in 2004 some of the cast went to Las Vegas. I recall doing some of the dances poolside. Next month I’m going to New Orleans. Maybe I’ll do the same.
The cast is probably the most diverse you'll see in the Region. Some of them were in the show in 1995, 2000/01. Joining me as Brothers again from 2004 are Garry St. Martin and Adam Clough, program director at the Lake Station Boys & Girls Club.
Then there is Jared Riddle, Regional Chair of Communications and English at Ivy Tech Community College. He returns as "Pharoah" and would put anyone on Broadway to shame with is performance. In fact, we've been told that some audience members thought performers in the show such as Mr. Riddle were from New York.
I remember in high school working as a crew member on a student performance of "Joseph." I was running some sort of background slide show with a friend/classmate. The slides were supposed to change all the way through to the end of the show. But on the last night, we screwed up somehow, as we ran out of slides well before the end. So we left.
I don't think anyone is leaving this time. Not this show, which wraps up with three more performances this weekend. I'll end with a quote from Mr. Riddle that he posted on Facebook about the show:
"Each night as the lights dim and the music swells, a world where dreams come true comes alive at Reinhart Auditorium."
FYI: The show continues its run at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday at Reinhart Auditorium at Merrillville High School, East 68th Place, Merrillville. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Call (219) 413-1213 or visit m-mproductions.com.