Rawlins native headlines Broadway show
By Trudy Balcom
and Ellen Fike, Wyoming Tribune Eagle
RAWLINS — J.C. McCann wanted to be an actor ever since he was a paperboy for the Rawlins Daily Times.
McCann stars in the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” a touring Broadway show that has two upcoming dates in the region. The show will be at Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, Colo., Thursday through Saturday. The show will also have one more date in Wyoming at Gillette’s Heritage Center on May 1.
McCann, of Redwood City, Calif., is a 2006 Rawlins High School graduate.
Former RHS drama teacher Larry Moore saw McCann’s performance in Cheyenne earlier this month.
“I’m so proud of him, he’s amazing, and he’s so humble,” Moore said.
Moore directed McCann in his freshman year in “Greater Tuna,” the 2002 fall production at RHS. McCann later performed a piece from the show in the state drama competition.
“He’s got a set of pipes on him that won’t quit,” Moore said.
A year ago, McCann was working in the oil fields of Gillette, to save up money to go to New York City. Once he arrived, he started auditioning for as many shows as he could.
Even though he hadn’t seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical onstage before, he was familiar with the music. With that knowledge, McCann said he originally auditioned for Pharaoh, but was instead cast in the titular role, much to his surprise.
“It’s really cool … playing Joseph,” he said. “He’s a dreamer and goes through life, which knocks him down, but he finds his way through it.”
The show follows the biblical story of Joseph, the youngest son of Jacob. Jacob favors Joseph over his other children, showing this by one day presenting him with a coat of many colors. Jealous, Joseph’s 10 brothers plot against him, selling him into slavery. Joseph spends the rest of the show rising through the ranks, moving up from being a slave to the second most powerful man in Egypt, next to the Pharaoh.
Even though he hadn’t seen the show, McCann wasn’t at much of a disadvantage auditioning since the touring version has some changes from the original. McCann said even if someone has seen a version of the show, his production is different. The opening prologue has been “revamped,” for example, and is now set in modern times.
Also, Andy Blankenbuehler, who is noted for choreographing Broadway smash “Hamilton,” came in to choreograph the touring show. Blankenbuehler infused a hip-hop feel to the dance moves, which McCann said he felt makes the show even more timeless. The dancing has been the biggest challenge for
McCann, especially learning the steps so fast.
While the show has been a Broadway staple for years, McCann said the core elements – the mix of genres, eclectic sets and costumes ––– keep it relevant today.
“I think that it’s got the classic elements that any good story has,” he said.
Moore called the show “emotionally moving.”
“He played the role with so much emotion, I don’t think there was a dry eye in house at the end,” Moore said.
“It’s really a story of hope. Joseph has to persevere and he triumphs over that. It’s also about forgiveness. Joseph has to forgive his brothers for selling him into slavery. Who hasn’t been knocked down and, at rock bottom, had to pull themselves up?” McCann said.
IF YOU GO
What — “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”
Where — Lincoln Center, 417 West Magnolia St., Fort Collins, Colo.
When — April 28-30 (four shows including two matinees)
Tickets — Box Office (970) 221-6730 and https://tickets.lctix.com