HEIGHTS YOUTH TAKE THE LEAD IN MUSICAL THEATER PRODUCTION
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS – Three Cleveland Heights youth will star in the upcoming performance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (words by Tim Rice/music by Andrew Lloyd Webber) put on by the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Drama Dreamers theater program. Heights High School seniors Gwen Donley and Zena Levan and Hathaway Brown senior Lydia Simon all landed lead roles in the production.
Drama Dreamers is a unique theater program that is entirely student-run. Youth in grades 6-12 comprise not only the cast, band and tech crew, but also serve as the director, set designer, stage manager and choreographer. It is a special opportunity for students to get a taste of all aspects of theater while exploring productions that encourage youth to develop personally and spiritually through religious dramatic material. Although the program is run through St. Paul’s, it is open to youth of all backgrounds.
“I love that Drama Dreamers is very friendly and accepting,” says Donley, who plays the lead role of Joseph and grew up in the St. Paul’s parish. “This is my 7th year in the program, and I love that you don’t have to worry about intense competition or other stressful stuff you’ll get with a typical youth theater program, because it’s all-inclusive.”
Now in its 14th year, the program produces an annual spring musical as well as an Advent dessert theater, featuring short plays, monologues and student-written works. Donley, Levan and Simon have all been core members of the group since middle school, participating in as many of the shows as their busy schedules will allow; both Donley and Levan are involved in Model U.N. at Heights, and Donley also participates in National Honor Society, marching band and the jazz and chamber ensembles. Levan is a member of Mock Trial, the Jewish Student Union and plays soccer. Simon and Donley also sing in the St. Paul’s choir, and Simon has starred in numerous productions at Hathaway Brown.
With such busy schedules, it is a true testament to the Drama Dreamers program that these students stay involved.
“I love the environment of the program,” explains Simon, who stars in the production as the Narrator. “We are able to produce great shows with great people.”
Levan, who plays Jacob/Potiphar, agrees with Simon. “My friends had been involved for a long time and they got me interested in it. I love being a part of something where I can see my friends from different schools, and then have a fun, finished product to show for it.”
Based on the story from the biblical Book of Genesis, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” tells the story of Joseph, a favored son and prophetic dreamer. Jealous of his preferential treatment, his brothers sell him into slavery. The story promotes themes of forgiveness and reconciliation as the brothers eventually end up groveling at the feet of a forgiving Joseph who has risen to a high post in Egypt. With an engaging hodgepodge of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to pop and rock 'n' roll, this Old Testament tale is an infectious, feel-good, comedic production.
Directed by Shaker Heights High School senior Emily Paetz, the show opens on Friday, March 11th at 7 p.m., with additional shows on Saturday, March 12th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 13th at 2 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 2747 Fairmount Boulevard, on the corner of Fairmount and Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. Free parking is available in the St. Paul’s parking lot on the corner of North St. James Parkway and Fairmount Boulevard.
Tickets are $7 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door or by calling 216-932-5815. Preorders are encouraged as seats are limited. All ticket profits go to support outreach programs of the Youth Stewardship Outreach Board.