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November 24, 1995 - Image 71

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

JN Entertainment

In 1968, Webber's cantata sprout- teen-ager," he says. "So I can play
ed a 15-minute concert performance, the young role and be believable."
In fact, the Bible story takes
followed by more than two decades
of increasingly embellished shows in Joseph from 16 to the ripe old age of
London, Toronto and cities through- 40.
"I'm not too far off from that, ei-
out the United States.
The official North American pre- ther," he laughs.
This 25-year veteran of show biz
miere took place on June 24, 1992, at
Canada's historic Elgin Theatre. In is conversational, eager to talk and
September of that same year, the pro- earnest. Unfortunately, he won't
duction began an unprecedented run have much time to hang around Mo-
of 11 1/2 weeks at the State Theatre town during downtime. Every week
in Minneapolis, where it grossed $7.2 he travels home to visit his wife and
four children in Utah.
million.
"Going home gives me some stabil-
Alan Lichtenstein, director of
ity
in a business that's not very sta-
theater operations for the Neder-
lander Organization in Detroit, was ble," he says. "It brings me down to
reality. When you're getting standing
instrumental in bringing Joseph ovations each night, it can really start
to the Masonic. (Livent is leasing doing some strange things to your
the theater for the duration of the head."
run.)
In Chicago, Joseph became so pop-
Lichtenstein expects crowds to fill
the theater anywhere from 90 per-
cent to capacity — faring as well or
better than other Webber shows per-
formed here in the past.
On Nov. 15, Lichtenstein was on
hand as the 13 trucks rolled in with
the scenery. A larger than average
amount of luggage? Yes, but after
knocking out walls and deepening
the stage to accommodate Phantom
of the Opera and Miss Saigon, "we
can do anything," he says.

ular that Donny couldn't even get tick-
ets for friends. A questionable mark
of success, true, but the star takes it
in stride.
"The way I look at it, there are two
parts of success," he reflects. "There
is luck involved, but I think it's a very
small percentage. Ninety-nine percent
of success is opportunity meeting pre-
paredness."
(His Joseph audition must have
been an exception.)
As for dreams, technicolor and oth-
erwise, Donny considers them key.
"You never can stop dreaming," he
says.
It sounds half like a warning, half
like a plea.
"Because, if your aspirations die,
your goals die, your self-esteem dies,
your dreams die. You cannot have a
goal without a dream." [11

onny shares that can-do atti _
tude.
After falling from grace dur-
ing the early 1980s, he spent a
decade struggling to climb back onto
the musical charts.
A big rebound came with "Soldier
of Love," but the rekindled star, now
37, credits Joseph with easing his
way thereafter.
"I think it was the show that gave
me legitimacy as an adult performer
instead of just a teen idol," he says.
As for his lingering reputation as
the fresh-faced younger brother of
Marie, Donny thinks it actually
helped him on the set of Joseph.
"Lots of people still see me as a

D

Y A. :4:,:sf*f-

How one Jeivish boy gained the
trust of Pharaoh and inspired
hundreds of artists.

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM ASSOCIATE EDITOR

ong before the age of infomercials touting the
astonishing- abilities of psychics "gifted with
wisdom from the ancients," there was a Jew-
ish slave boy who understood dreams. His name
was Joseph.
Recounted in Gerzesis, the story of Joseph prob-
ably has been the theme of more musical works,
books and paintings than any other biblical nar-
rative. In addition to Andrew Lloyd Webber, the
artists who have tackled it include R,em.brandt,
author Thomas Marin and composer Richard
Strauss.
The attention is understandable. Joseph led a
remarkable life of adventure, intrigue and drama.
He was the seventh and much beloved son of
Joseph, born after his mother, Rachel, had been
barren for seven years. The Bible tells nothing
of his childhood, but discusses at length his ran-
corous relationship with his brothers. No wonder:
Joseph was quick to tell his father whenever one
of his brothers got into trouble, and he had a num-
ber of dreams in which he saw his brothers bow-
ing before him.
At one point the brothers conspire to kill Joseph.
Reuben, hoping to save Joseph's life, instead con-
vinces them to throw him into a pit. As they do so,
the brothers also steal Joseph's beautiful multi-
colored coat, a Oft from Jacob, which they take to
their father as proof of Joseph's death.
!Joseph, meanwhile, is sold into slavery to
Potiphar, an aide to Pharaoh. But lie quickly gains
the Egyptian's trust and is promoted to his per-
sonal attendant.
Joseph discovers that among his skills
il-
alesabfail
__P7,11)Irsaeh'si:ag
ity to interpret dreams,:
' .,,
w
'
:Ittps
,
at
this task the
iy 414*
who foresees se '' ''''''e f. j
en years o f deso
pressed by Jooe

L

....
E
.L

,

'''

'

Qse

econd in comma.

e5 rvA::,...•vkM;r"

4.1g,;:';mivr
* .4z; • -v

Opening Night Benefit For JARC

In Southfield, the Jewish Associa-
tion for Residential Care took an im-
mediate interest in Joseph. JARC,
which offers homes and living ser-
vices to adults with developmental
disabilities, is using the venue for
its annual fund-raiser. The goal: $1
million-plus.
"We're completely sold out," says
Sandy Dembs, chair of the event.
In all, 3,200 benefactors pur-
chased tickets ranging in price from
$50 to $2,500. A group of "angels"

Who Was Joseph?

— philanthropic individuals and
businesses — have enabled all pro-
ceeds to benefit the agency by un-
derwriting costs for opening night.
Proceeds help JARC adults live in-
dependently.
"When we found out the play
was coming to town, we thought
it would be very appropriate be-
cause the subject matter is right up
our alley," Ms. Dembs says. "Joseph
and JARC are both about fulfilling
your dreams." CI

Opposite page:
Donny Osmond as
Joseph.

This,page_
-
Above:
Joseph: Second-in-
command to Pharaoh.

Right: Pharaoh a la
Elvis.

never
says, it
Joseph
Egypt is env
brother
come
him. Joseph even invites his brothers
for a meal, including 13enjamin, the
youngest son of Jacob and Rachel.
Later, Joseph reveals his true iden-
tity to his brothers. With Pharaoh's as-
sistance, Joseph gives expensive gifts
to his family and brings them to Egypt,
where they live well.
Joseph dies at 110. lie is buried in
Egypt, though he makes his brothers
vow they eventually will bring his body
to Eretz Yismei. to

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