Admittedly, I don't know a whole lot about the theater. In fact, I recently learned from Andrew Sakaguchi that the correct spelling is theat-RE. Still, when you can't sing, dance, or act and have absolutely
no musical talent whatsoever - you learn to appreciate the performers just a little bit more. When Hawaii411 was invited by Matthew Pedersen to get a behind the scenes look at
a rehearsal session for Jamarama Productions presentation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," I jumped at the opportunity to learn a little more about the
Upon entering the Jamarama Studio, I was immediately greeted by the cast rehearsing their songs in unison. While some
of the cast were going over their scenes on the stage, others were
reviewing their lines, or just sharing a laugh. I watched and listened as they
performed their songs. Though they may have been tired in-between takes, they managed to
perform time and time again, tweaking their parts towards perfection with
each rendition. Their conviction was impressive, no doubt motivated by
the desire to put on a flawless show. While they rehearsed I was able to talk to a few of the cast members.
No part is too big...
Matthew Pedersen plays Joseph. As the President/Founder of Jamarama Productions (and as the director pointed out, "he paid for the coat"), you might think that Pedersen had a lock on the title
role.... not so. After learning that Jamarama was putting on the play, a friend of Pedersen's asked him if he wanted to get Donny Osmond.
Without skipping a beat, Pedersen asked "What part is Donny going to
play? I'm Joseph!" (I love it!) But Pedersen's business sense soon
overcame his competitive ego and he was able to contact Donny Osmond himself.
Donny did not make this production of Joseph his second major role here since filming "Goin' Coconuts" with Marie in the 70s - he was bound by contact to perform Joseph under another company only. "It was cool," Pedersen commented, "he didn't say 'no,' just that he couldn't do it because of the contract." Don't worry Matthew, if you got Donny to perform here, we wouldn't be able to watch you strut your stuff.
Plus, Donny can't be any good... He doesn't have a Po'okela award (Matthew
won a Po'okela for his local debut as Joseph in 1996).
No part is too small...
When I approached Lani Hansen and asked her about her role as one of three Jewels, she replied, "we just sing in the background."
We saw her and fellow Jewels Naomi Mal and
Jenny Kimura hamming it up for the camera and rehearsing their parts with enthusiasm. While not in the starring roles, they made me realize that every actor had to give their all to make a show great.
(click on the Charlie's Angels Pose to get a bigger picture of the
No actor too young...
"Joseph" features the Jamarama Kids Choir (which the production benefits), so it is only fitting that as few of
the former performers are in the play as well. Nina Ablan and
Rick Bates are some of the Veterans of Jamarama productions who have parts in the show. While juggling high school studies with a demanding rehearsal schedule, Rick has been performing for 14 years. Nina was accepted into NYU to study vocal performance. Joining the two on stage is high school junior
Sherilyn Cho. Sherilyn said that rather than hinder her school studies, participating in theatre helped her learn how to manage her time better.
No ocean too wide...
Narrator Shannon Nakano hails from Myrtle Beach South Carolina. She once performed with the Gatlin Brothers there, but somehow found herself
singing and dancing aboard the SS Independence. It was on the Independence that Shannon met her husband. As the Independence closed down, Shannon just happened to read about the auditions for "Joseph." Well, lucky for us, because hopefully Shannon will have some of
her South Carolina ohana log on to this Hawaii411 interview.
No prison too strong...
That's right - A prison! Maysana Lopes may keep the peace as an adult corrections officer at the State Women's Prison during the day, but at night she busts out in song. This is Lopes' theatrical debut. She was discovered at an OCCC Karaoke contest where
Producer Matthew Pedersen was a judge. Lopes won the contest and was encouraged by Pedersen to try out for "Joseph." Lopes has no formal training but stated, "everybody is so nice in helping me out. They (the male dancers) can't throw me in the air like those small girls, so they make exceptions and let me keep my feet on the ground." It's too bad some of the inmates she attends to can't enjoy the show too (you can insert your own captive audience joke here).
No Star too Bright...
When asked in the Jamarama production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,"
jumped at the opportunity and even offered to try-out for a role. Prior to becoming a news anchor on "News 8", Leong
was performing on stage with Ron Bright's Castle Theatre. Instead of missing Jodi at "5, 6, and 10 PM," you may want to catch her on stage on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Kalai Stern won a Na Hoku Hanohano award and First Place in Frank B. Shaner's Falsetto contest. Stern adds his talents into the talented cast of "Joseph" in the role of Simeon and as the musical director.
And then there's the Director...
Check out our interview with Director Andrew Sakaguchi here!
So instead of sitting at home and watching re-runs on TV, get out to the Hawaii Theatre and catch this impressive cast in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Portions of the proceed go towards support
of the Jamarama School.