You can expect to see Molly Rose McGrath on just about any stage in the Capital Region these days, but for the Saratoga Springs resident, there’s nothing like performing in a Home Made Theater production at the Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Spa State Park.
“I’ll always consider this place my home base, so I’ll always love Home Made Theater,” said McGrath, who plays the Narrator in the Home Made production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” opening Saturday night and running through May 6. “I was doing shows here when I wasn’t even old enough to drink. My first show was ‘Cabaret’ as one of the Kit Kat girls, and I remember going out after the show with the cast. I can remember thinking, ‘Wow, these people are all so cool.'”
Since graduating from Saratoga Central Catholic High School in 2002, McGrath has become one of the Capital Region’s top musical theater actors. She also performs in straight plays from time to time, but it is her voice that separates her from the rest, and in “Joseph” she gets to demonstrate that talent every time the spotlight is on her.
“The show is sung throughout, so I feel as though it’s an awesome fit for my voice,” said McGrath, whose credits include “Annie Get Your Gun” at Albany’s Park Playhouse and “Always … Patsy Cline” at Cohoes Music Hall. “I get to belt, so that allows me to really use my voice. I’m very happy to be in this show. I love the story and it’s one of my favorite scores.”
Dawn Oesch is directing the production, which stars Keenon McCollum as Joseph and 24 other young actors from various middle schools and junior high schools in the area.
“Any time you can get a person with Molly’s talent to audition you feel pretty lucky,” said Oesch. “And I worked with Keenon a while ago in ‘Chicago’ at the Local Actors Guild, so I was really happy he tried out, too. He brings an innocence and a sweetness to Joseph, and his voice is so well-rounded. His voice is stunning.”
To gather the younger actors, Oesch said Home Made Theater sent audition notices to a number of schools in the area, including Saratoga Springs, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Schenectady, Ballston Spa and Glens Falls.
“We start at age 7 and go to 14,” Oesch said. “There’s a lot of young talent out there. We had a lot of middle school and junior high kids come to the auditions.”
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” was written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and first produced on Broadway in 1982. That production didn’t win a Tony Award, but it garnered seven nominations and spawned a revival in 1993, and numerous national tours. In 1999, a straight-to-video film was released starring Donny Osmond as Joseph.
The musical is based on the biblical “coat of many colours” story from the Book of Genesis. Joseph is one of 12 sons to Jacob, and it is his 11 brothers who sell him into slavery because of their father’s preference for him.
“I love just about everything in this show, and I love how it gives you the opportunity to use 24 young actors,” said Oesch. “I think it really is my favorite show. The script allows you a little bit of freedom as a director and leaves a few things open to interpretation. What we’re doing is using the narrator to tell the story to the children, who then use their imagination to see the story. Having Molly as our narrator is fantastic. There are probably a few roles out there that were written for her, and this is one of them.”
Oesch, who considers McGrath a close personal friend, was a little concerned when she showed up for auditions.
“I call her my little sister, and when she told me she wanted to try out I thought to myself, ‘Well, how is this going to work?'” said Oesch. “I couldn’t be her friend because I had to be the director. But she is so talented and so professional, it all went wonderfully. I feel lucky to have her in the show and very fortunate to call her a friend.”
A Lake Placid native, Oesch has directed “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “The Addams Family” and “Shrek” at Home Made, and has also been onstage for a number of shows.
“I think I enjoy directing a bit more these days, and as a director you can make a show a little more your own, especially a show like ‘Joseph,'” said Oesch. “I do enjoy doing straight plays. I did ‘Of Mice and Men’ and that was just six people. But what I really love doing is big musicals, and with the talent we have on this show it’s been great fun.”
‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
WHERE: Home Made Theater at the Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Spa State Park
WHEN: Opens 7:30 p.m. Saturday and runs through May 6; performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $29-$20
MORE INFO: (518) 587-4427, or visit www.homemadetheater.org.
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