R2P JosephPublicityPhoto3Jasper Fearon (center) as Joseph, with the Narrators (left to right) Dani Copeland, Addy Whitener, Elsbeth O’Toole, and Madelyn Kilmer

Take a beloved age-old story, mix with a mash-up of musical genres, throw in a high-energy cast of enthusiastic dancers, and you have Running to Places' extravagant "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," May 12-14 at Newfield High School, 247 Main St, Newfield, suitable for all ages.

"'Joseph' is a musical built for fun," says Joey Steinhagen, R2P artistic director. "It has a wild range of musical styles, from country western to calypso to Elvis. It's just one party after another."

In a story-within-a-story plot, the show opens with kids at a playground excluding one boy; as the narrators step in to tell the tale, the kids transform into different characters, with the excluded boy playing Joseph (Jasper Fearon), favorite son of the patriarch Jacob (Fiona Lory-Moran). Joseph's eleven jealous brothers hatch a plot to kill him but decide to sell him instead to the Egyptian Potiphar (Elliott Nelson). Tragically, Joseph is falsely accused of a crime by Potiphar and thrown into jail. Destiny intervenes when Pharaoh (Kii Kinsella) starts having bad dreams and Joseph is able to interpret them. In gratitude, Pharaoh makes Joseph his right-hand man, in charge of handling the coming famine, which soon strikes Joseph's family in Canaan. In a series of plot twists, all comes out right, and the show ends with a rousing, heartwarming reunion.

"The show is really about being true to yourself and kind and forgiving to other people," explains Steinhagen. "The story of Joseph is used to illustrate how we should all move through the world and how we should treat each other. With fun dances along the way."

The show features the largest cast in R2P history, all in grades 6-9. Given the many different kinds of musical numbers, there was plenty for such a large group to do, and it let Steinhagen be widely inclusive. For example, instead of one, as in the original, there are four narrators (Addy Whitener, Elsbeth O'Toole, Madelyn Kilmer, and Dani Copeland).

Steinhagen consulted with renowned choreographer Tucker Davis on the dances, and says he's excited about the youngest cohort of the company being challenged with the dizzying array of dance styles. "The cast has really risen to the challenge. This show will be a treat for the audience to watch," he says.

The Newfield auditorium is a phenomenal facility, says Steinhagen, only a 15-minute drive from the Commons. "They have LED stage lighting and 12 remote control lights -- and air conditioning."

The costumes, by Liz Woods, reflect the fantasy nature of the show and help build the story's allegorical nature, like the metaphor of Pharaoh as the King (as in Elvis). The design team also includes Deb Drew and Brian Ugorowski on the sets, Kathleen Taylor on the lights, and Jeremy Pletter, resident music director.

The exclusive show sponsor is the Inn on Columbia; scholarship support is provided by Northeast Pediatrics and an anonymous fund at the Community Foundation of Tompkins County. Additional grant support is provided by the Park Foundation and the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County, with season-long support from CSP Management.

The show runs one weekend only: May 12-14, Friday and Saturday at 7 PM, Sunday at 2 PM.