The 2009 theatrical year has started in our county, and if “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” now playing at Murfreesboro’s Center for the Arts, is any indication, we are in for some amazing performances.
“Joseph . . .,” which began last weekend, was simply wonderful. I was mesmerized by all that took place in the hour and a half presentation. The music, with Dennis Pessar on the keyboard and Nathan West on the drums, was enchanting, the beautiful lighting, by Lacee Godman and Jacklyn Kane, must have been in HD. The choreography was done by none other than Candilyn Ford; she can work magic on that small stage with so many people. I could go on about the technical crew, or as MCA calls it now, “the Creative Team,” but I must move on to the actors. Everyone behind the scenes, you get a respectful bow from me.
Director Jesse Cannady always puts on a great show when he directs. ’Nuff said. He fills the stage with wonders and fills the MCA with patrons. I hope to see him at the Center and in Murfreesboro for a long time. With over 40 actors, singers and dancers, including a lot of little tikes in jammies from the Discovery School at Reeves Rogers, this show was impeccable. From the incredible Scott Willis (where did you find him, Jesse?) as Joseph, the outstanding Katye Brock as the narrator, the overpowering Michael McGee as father Jacob, (he also is the one who directed the kids from Discovery) all the way down the credits to the guards (Gavin & Trevor Dillinger) and wives, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this show. The vocals, the blocking, the balance of the set/movement and every actor deserved the standing ovation they received. The actors playing the 11 brothers of Joseph could not have done better; Potiphar and his Misses (Matt Sutherland and Ukyeye Wilt) were superb. The “Parisian Cannan Days” performed by the 11 brothers stole the show. Spencer Ford was his usual awesome self as Pharoah and not bad as Elvis either.
“Joseph . . .” continues two more weekends, ending Feb. 1. Fridays and Saturdays the curtain opens at 7:30 p.m., the Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Call ahead; all three shows this past weekend were sold out.
On to other things at the Center: the new Executive Director, Anthony Cimino, began his duties Tuesday, Jan. 13.
The son of opera singer Paul Cimino, it was not uncommon in the Cimino household having such celebrities as Shirley Jones, Ann Blyth, Edie Adams, Dena Dietrich, Robert Goulet, Eve Arden and many others as dinner guests. Tony’s early years led to his honing his skills as a singer, actor and dancer, the “trinity” of show business.
Cimino has worked in the healthcare industry for nearly 24 years and has served on boards for numerous organizations such as the New Orleans Ballet Association.
“Murfreesboro has charm, sophistication, culture,” Cimino said. “Most of all, I feel a sense of belonging here!”
Cimino’s performances with Center for the Arts last year as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” and as Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” were well received and he says he looks forward to more performances in 2009.
It is with great sympathy that I write about the loss of one of Murfreesboro’s great directors, actors, producers and professors. The death of Dr. Dale E. McGilliard, professor of theater and area coordinator for theater and dance at MTSU, is a blow to not only the school, but to Murfreesboro stage theater as well. He joined the staff of MTSU in 1990 and helped the Department of Theatre grow from only 45 students to over 150. He was a former commissioner for the Murfreesboro Center for the Arts and a past president of the Murfreesboro Little Theatre. I admired this man for his talents and abilities, his love and devotion to his students and his school and his personal fight against the illness that took him from us.
He was 57 and interred in his native Indiana.
There will be a memorial service for Dr. McGilliard at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 23.
“Steel Magnolias”, Feb. 6, Murfreesboro Little Theatre
“Pride and Prejudice”, Feb. 13, Lamplighter’s Theatre
“Summer and Smoke”, Feb. 18, MTSU’s Tucker Theatre
“Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming”, March 13, The Arts Center of Cannon County
Feb. 1 – 2 at 6 p.m. at The Center for the Arts. Roles available for five women ages 20s to 70s, three men ages 20s to 50s. Runs April 3 – 19 at the Center and is directed by Andy Ford.
Feb. 1 – 2 at 6 p.m. at The Theatre at Patterson Park. Roles available for six male and female actors over age 30. Runs March 20 – 29 and is directed by Terry Mayo.