Temple theater groups are not so easy to find, especially ones with a 45-year history of staging quality performances.
UPDATE: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the performance in March has been postponed. THE TEMPLE ISRAEL PLAYERS PERFORMANCE WILL RETURN IN FALL 2020.
The Temple Israel Players are preparing to stage another quality performance in Great Neck, as they present the beloved musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” on Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 29 at 2 p.m. in Temple Israel’s Crystal Ballroom located at 108 Old Mill Rd. in Great Neck.
“This is a feel-good show,” said Debbie Volk, one of the producers. “Most people know the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis,” she said, “but this show brings it to life and puts a smile on your face. It’s upbeat, catchy and fun – a musical comedy told entirely through song.”
More than 30 congregants appear in the show, including 11 children ages seven-to-16, and a number of parent-child performers. A nine-piece live orchestra – the largest in The Players’ long history, including five Temple Israel members – perform with the troupe.
The musical was the first collaboration between composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. First mounted on Broadway in 1982, then followed by several major revivals, national tours, and a 1999 film starring Donny Osmond, it is reported that more than 20,000 schools and amateur theater groups have staged the production.
“As producers, we had our own divine moment when we realized that one of the most enjoyable Broadway musicals ever is based on a story from the Bible, and in our 45 years, our temple group has never put it on,” said Ron Klempner, another producer along with Amy David, Mark Putter and Volk.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has been nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, and three Drama Desk Awards. It features many diverse styles of music ranging from calypso to country-western to Elvis.
The popular JoJo Conley, who has choreographed dozens of shows in the Great Neck schools, returns to direct her fourth show with The Temple Israel Players, working alongside the warm and talented musical director Chris McKee.
“The Players have been building their repertoire of skills and now are ready for a new challenge,” Conley said. “Joseph is an operetta, a type of musical we have never done before. We’ve got the cast singing in multiple-part harmonies throughout the entire show, which has been fun for them to learn, expands their abilities, and will be a real treat for the audience.”
The cast includes George Abrahams, Robert Aizer, Amy Cantos, Shoshana Cellers, Harold Citron, Mark Cwern, Amy David, Daniel Frankel, Van Frankel, Edith Goody, Jon Kaiman, Kim Kaiman, Jennifer Khoda, Ron Klempner, Kenneth M. Leff, Nelly Mizrahi, Toby Nemiroff, Rob Panzer, Ofra Panzer, Mark Putter, Lillian Rokhsar-Cohen, Diana Stein-Smolen, and Debbie Volk.
Children and teens in the show include Isaac Bakhchi, David Goldberg, Jacob Goldstein, Phoebe Hoffman, Iyana Kaiman, Lily Kase, Shira Khoda, Elizabeth Matalon, Amanda Putter, Amanda Volk, and Melanie Weinreich. The cast, which considers itself one big family, also features many real family combos – both parent/child and husband/wife.
The orchestra, under the direction of Chris McKee, includes Sharon Bernstein, Barbara Dicker, Dan Dicker, Laura Ferrandina, Alicia Lev, Connor Martin, Teddy Motz, and Deanna Stecker.
The set production manager is Alex Schoen. The set/backstage crew includes Robert Lopatkin, Gary Cellers, Lisa Mattaway, Gary Noren, Nancy Schoen, and Steve Tasch.
Tickets for the show range from $20-$50 for the Saturday performance, which begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets purchased at the $36 and $50 tier on Saturday include a dessert reception with the cast following the show.
Tickets to the Sunday show at 2 p.m. are priced at $10-$36. Children 12 and younger will be admitted at half price for most seatings during the Sunday show. Tickets can be purchased from the Temple Israel Box Office by calling Kathy at 516-482-7800 or by visiting the all-new online ticketing site templeisraelplayers.tix.com.
Why come to the show? Stage Director JoJo Conley said it best: “Because it will be the best two hours of your week.”
Submitted by the Temple Israel Players