Grosse Pointe Theatre’s new production of the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” includes a cast of actors from all over metro Detroit.  

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s new production of the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” includes a cast of actors from all over metro Detroit.  

Photo by Dale Pegg, provided by Grosse Pointe Theatre 

Popular musical is a ‘Dream’ come true for cast, crew

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 7, 2022

 Zak Shugart and Danielle Caralis star in Grosse Pointe Theatre’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 

Zak Shugart and Danielle Caralis star in Grosse Pointe Theatre’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 

Photo by Dale Pegg, provided by Grosse Pointe Theatre 

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — It’s not in the show, but Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” probably wouldn’t be entirely out of place in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 

The opening show in Grosse Pointe Theatre’s 75th anniversary season, “Joseph” is all about following one’s dreams. It will be staged Sept. 16-25 at Grosse Pointe North High School’s Christian A. Fenton Performing Arts Center in Grosse Pointe Woods. 

Amy Ricker, of Washington Township, is the director, and Arlene Schoenherr and Cynthia Kempton, both of St. Clair Shores, are the co-producers. 

The show is a retelling of the biblical story of Joseph, who is given a colorful coat by his father, Jacob, which earns him the envy of his 11 brothers. The brothers initially plot to kill Joseph but decide, instead, to sell him into slavery in Egypt and tell their father his beloved son has been killed. Life for Joseph in this new land takes a number of tumultuous turns, but despite the many challenges he faces, Joseph never gives up. 

The message of “Joseph,” explained Ricker, is: “Stick to your dreams. If you’ve got a dream, nothing should stop you from reaching for it. You’re going to hit roadblocks, but there is a way.” 

Many members of the show’s cast and crew share Joseph’s tenacious nature. Ricker was originally slated to direct this production as the last GPT show of the season in 2020. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, derailing those plans. Ricker said being able to finally direct “Joseph” is “absolutely amazing.” 

GPT’s last production of “Joseph,” directed by Dennis Wickline in 2008, was a more traditional retelling, but Ricker wanted to add some modern touches, especially from a visual perspective. For example, instead of period costumes, she said the members of the children’s chorus will all be wearing colorful T-shirts. 

“I wanted to give ‘Joseph’ a bit of a modern update but still give it a historic feel,” Ricker said. 

Aside from Joseph — played by Zak Shugart, of Chesterfield Township — and the narrator — played by Grosse Pointe Shores native Danielle Caralis, of Birmingham — the other actors play multiple roles. 

“The whole cast is an ensemble cast,” said Ricker, who praised the performers for bringing energy, life and strong voices to this show. 

Shugart said, 16 years ago, he was a high school athlete who went to his school’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” because one of his friends was in the cast. It was the first time he had ever seen a musical. 

“I just was in awe,” Shugart said of his reaction to the show. “I (immediately) stopped (playing) all four sports. My coaches were not pleased.” 

Shugart started doing theater instead, with the blessing of his parents, who had been musicians when they were younger. 

“This role was a dream come true for me,” Shugart said. 

The same was true for Caralis, who remembers seeing a high school production of “Joseph” at Grosse Pointe North when she was a child. 

“Since then, I have wanted to be the narrator,” Caralis said. “This (show) is a bucket list (item) for me. This is so exciting for me, my family, my sisters. It’s also a great way to kick off Grosse Pointe Theatre’s 75th season and engage the community.” 

Part of that engagement includes a sensory-friendly production of “Joseph” at 2 p.m. Sept. 24. Thanks to a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, GPT will be staging a slightly modified version of the show — including keep the house lights on and eliminating loud sounds — so that audience members with conditions such as autism will be able to see it. 

“We’re the first community theater group (in the area) to present a performance of this sort,” said Caralis, who’s also GPT’s board president. “We’re very excited. We’re trying to reach as many people as we can.” 

The adult cast also includes Peter Smith, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Michael Edick, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Sean Von Schwarz, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Noah Hanahan, of St. Clair Shores; Brian Tuscany, of Clawson; Kyle Weatherbee, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Charles Kruse, of Allen Park; Ashton Fell, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Connor Bremer, of Clinton Township; Dominic Aldini, of Sterling Heights; Jocelyn Reiter, of Detroit; Emma Kruse, of Grosse Pointe City; Cara Matzkus, of Grosse Pointe City; Rebecca Lubera, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Ellie Sahutske, of Grosse Pointe Park; Meredith Hanoian, of Grosse Pointe Park; Maria LaRose, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Kristina Mardlin, of Warren; Haley Sommerstorfer, of New Baltimore; Alison Grojean, of St. Clair Shores; and Rebecca Dral, of Grosse Pointe City.

The children’s chorus consists of Gavin Bethell, of Grosse Pointe City; Claira Thole, of Grosse Pointe Park; Rose Picek, of Grosse Pointe Park; Caroline and Mark Borek, of Grosse Pointe Woods; Jackson Raleigh, of Detroit; Amelia Unkel, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Molly Hanoian, of Grosse Pointe Park; Megan Von Schwarz, of Grosse Pointe Farms; Henry Berschback, of Grosse Pointe Park; and Grace Bieri, of Grosse Pointe Farms. 

There’s no spoken dialogue in “Joseph” — it’s sung the whole way through — and the songs themselves vary stylistically, from rock to country to calypso to a French ballad. 

“Everything is very upbeat and fun and exciting,” Shugart said. “Everyone is going to leave tapping their toes.” 

Grosse Pointe North High School is located at 707 Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods. Although tickets will be sold at the door if they’re still available, GPT officials said tickets were selling quickly, so advance reservations are recommended. For tickets or more information, visit or call (313) 881-4004.