Lead role in Rosebud Theatre production a dream for Calgary actor
Daniel Fong playing lead in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat until Sept. 1
Performing as the lead this summer in the Rosebud Theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a familiar role for Calgary actor Daniel Fong.
He also played the part of Joseph eight years ago in a community theatre production at St. David's Church — his first role outside of high school — but this time around, things are somewhat different.
"The story is the same, the music is the same, but it is just worlds different in terms of what kind of show we're putting on out here," he told The Homestretch after finishing a recent matinee performance for students.
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"But I'm still ever thankful for my days back in the church performing and sinking my teeth into the role for the very first time. Since that time, I've been to university for acting and I've done many other shows, so it's great to take the craft of acting and apply it to a role I was familiar with as a younger kid."
Written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber 50 years ago, the story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes from the Bible.
The youngest of 11 brothers, Joseph is their father's favourite, which is cause for consternation in the family.
"One day his dad gives him a coat to show how special he thinks his son is," said Fong.
"This causes all his other brothers to be so jealous they actually throw him into a pit and leave him for dead. It begins his climb from the bottom of this pit all the way up to being the [Egyptian] Pharaoh's right-hand man … and he has a decision to make when his brothers come asking for food and he has to decide what the do with them."
Fong describes the show as "an epic journey from the lowest of the lows, all the way up the highest of the highs."
Performing up to seven shows a week during the production's run — June 1 to Sept. 1 — could put wear and tear on Fong's vocal chords, so he uses steam and plenty of rest to ensure he's ready to hit the stage.
"It's also about pacing yourself," he said. "You have to make sure you can give everyone the show they deserve and have paid for."
Most people have a favourite song from the well-known musical, and Fong is no different, pointing to Grovel, Grovel when asked by host Doug Dirks.
"It's a jazzy little number we sing in the second act when my brothers have come asking for food and they're all prostrated before me and I'm Egypt's Pharaoh's right-hand man," he said. "It's a jazzy little lick and it's such a blast to sing."
Following this performance, Fong is set to appear in the ATP production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in October, followed by Theatre Calgary's A Christmas Carol in November and December, when he will play the role of Topper.
A graduate of Grant MacEwan University's theatre arts program, Fong says he was drawn to the stage by his family.
"My brothers were all in music and acting through their high school years, so I grew up watching my oldest brother on stage. And what sparked that in me was watching him from the audience," he said.
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With files from The Homestretch