It is opening night for the musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Everyone has the jitters because the dress rehearsal was a little shaky. Backstage the cast, musicians and crew are getting ready for the overture. There is a lot of nervous laughter and hugging going on. Suzart, the family, is together, aiming to present an enthusiastic performance.
Musical theatre is complex. Some argue that musical theatre is the most difficult performing art because of the singing, dancing and acting that is required. It is the meshing together of all these arts into one package. One cannot suffer for the other – all must be mastered to deliver an outstanding presentation. Everyone on-stage must become a “triple threat”.
For over 10 years, Suzart Productions has mounted a series of successful musical theatre shows. What delineates Suzart Productions from other musical theatre companies is its focus on family entertainment. They only produce shows that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
In addition to the show production, Suzart invites anyone ages “eight to 80” to participate in their shows. All on-stage participants learn to become triple threats. There are many opportunities to try out off-stage work like costume manufacturing, set building and painting and props. The rehearsal schedule is family friendly too – only practising on Sunday afternoons until close to show time.
The result is that all involved bond and become the Suzart Family. The company celebrates successes and shares challenges together. All are accepted for who they are. It is loving bond that increases over the course of a show.
It is also not so rare to find whole families participating in a production. Parents and children may be on-stage together, one parent may be working off-stage while their child is on-stage. It is the same thing for spouses and siblings. In fact, for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, about half of the Suzart Family is comprised of these sub-family groupings.
The Narrator, played by Kathleen Floyd-Arbour, has her eight year old son Joey on-stage for the first time. Chris Hulan is making his first appearance on-stage while his wife Mary-Lou conducted the children’s chorus and her 13 year old daughter, Megan, designed the costumes for the sheep and goat.
The run of a show seems like it passes in a flash. Saturday is the double feature day and Suzart has their tradition in-between shows dinner. It is a time to reflect, praise and celebrate not only successful performances but also to share a meal together as the Suzart Family.
Photos by Alan Viau