Go Go Joe!

NAPPANEE -- The Round Barn Theater at Amish Acres is a special place.
It attracts young talent from across America to its show.
The current one is "Joseph and the amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
Matt Casey plays the title role. It is a physically demanding as well as exceptionally challenging role for a singer, actor and the guy who has to carry the content forward at every moment.
Matt doesn't mind. He's been here before, in numerous plays, such as "Forever Plaid Tidings" and the Prince in "Cinderella." He played Huck Finn in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and Bob Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" for the children's theater productions here. He has been a vocal captain had a featured role in "Annie Get Your Gun) and had a featured role in "42nd street" here.
He has also been a dance captain and performer in "A Christmas Carol" on a national tour.
"Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful theaters I've been in," he said. "Every theater has its special things, but this was one of my first plays and so is special to me."
He has workload consistently since graduating college and has now built a reputation for good work.
He attends the "cattle call" tryouts. This one was a "Job Fair."
"For this, there were probably 100 artistic directors casting," he said. "You get 90 seconds.
"It helps when you see someone with whom you have worked in the past. But you sing your song, read your lines and wait.
"If one company sees you as a possibility, you get a callback."
Everybody in "Joseph" is basically cast that way.
Music Director Travis Smith posted online: "Joseph was first written in 1968 for a boys’ choir and was only 15 minutes long. From there the show saw massive expansions, changes and rewrites. I remember the first time I listened to Joseph many years ago.
"I eventually went out and bought the CD of the 1993 Broadway cast and listened to that on repeat for what was probably several weeks. I have seen several productions of Joseph throughout the years and I have also music directed a couple and it's always interesting to see the different variations. Not only have there been different artistic interpretations, but the score and orchestrations have seen their share of variety too. But being a huge fan of that 1993 recording I made sure that this production sounded as similar to it as much as possible."
So Casey got the part.
As he works his craft towards that big Broadway debut, Casey is quietly confident in the challenges of any role. Yes, in "Joseph" he will be the obvious focal point, but he applauds his fellow castmates all the same.
"We have a range of experience and that is nice," he said. Most of them live in the same hotel for the run of the show. They get to know each other, play on each other's strengths on stage and become a family of sorts. Then the plan ends its run and they scatter like Autumn leaves.
For Casey, obviously, "Joseph" is a physical role.
"I work out as m y schedule changes, I change my workout schedule," he said. "I work on my vocal exercises. If I what to get physical, I play volleyball. But I do schedule one day of rest."
"I have gotten so far and can be decently physical," he said. You expend a lotto energy in a little time. Of course, we only do two performances (with a matinee) a few times.
From the start, he had this life plan.
"I was always interested (in there)," he said. "From the fourth grade piano lessons, I knew I probably wanted to do music education. My family thought it was a crazy idea to do this professionally, but we talked it out."
He has played in Colorado, Tennessee and Pittsburgh. With each performance, he bcomes, as he said "more cartable."
His parents live in his childhood home, so he has a base. Maybe he will have a month off between shows, but there is always a next one scheduled.
"There are certain things you do better as you get older," he said, mixing stagecraft with experience. He has an ideal role in mind: Huck Finn in "Big River."
"I am lucky to do what I do, what I have done. I am living an artistic dream."
Even after all these years, he still girths the anxiety of stage fright. "But, while I still have the fright, I don't get paralyzed, You step on stage and you do what you have prepared to do.
"There is something about live theater that every show is different," he said. "To keep it fresh, you live to the moment.
"The opening music draws you in . . ."
Let the play begin.

Joseph ends Oct. 19. Call the theater for details on special theme dinners and for ticket availability: 574.773.4188