St. Sebastian Youth Ministry brings Bible message to life

| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The St. Sebastian Parish Youth Ministry's production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” will tell an ancient story set to calypso, pop and even country music.

The production, scheduled for April 4 to 6 at St. Sebastian School in Ross Township, helps bring the message from the Bible to a broader audience.

“That's why what we do is so important,” director Craig Kreutzer said.

The show, by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice, tells the story of Jacob's favorite son, who is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Joseph later rises to importance in the Egyptian government because he is blessed with the ability to interpret dreams.

Tyler Barkich, 17, of McCandless plays Joseph.

“At first, I was nervous about being the center of attention,” said Barkich, referring to the scene in which Joseph is surrounded by cast members who lavish attention on his spectacular coat of many colors, a gift given to him by his father.

“The costume is beautiful,” said Barkich, a junior at Central Catholic High School. It features 24 yards of cloth in 12 brilliant colors and was made by Kreutzer's mother, who completed it in about two weeks.

“Craig volunteered me to make it,” said Betty Kreutzer, 72, of McCandless.

“There's no such pattern, so I just sort of had to make it up myself. When I finally had it all basted together, Craig saw it and told me the colors were too pale. I had to go buy brighter fabric and start over.”

Betty Kreutzer also is leading the culinary efforts for the sold-out “Joseph” cabaret dinner show, which will be April 3. The 160 tickets, at $40 each, sold out in 10 minutes, Craig Kreutzer said.

Kreutzer, 45, of McCandless, said that for all performances, the stage will be in the center of the gym, with the audience seated in bleachers and chairs on all sides.

“The actors are dispersed through the audience,” he said. They come out into the audience throughout the show. They get in your face.”

Each of the 45 cast members — all students in grades nine through 12 — had to raise at least $175 to participate. This money covers the show's production costs, so that all proceeds can go to mission work.

Half of the money will go to the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh's long-standing mission in Chimbote, Peru, which supports a maternity hospital, clinic and orphanage, and the other half goes to St. Sebastian's Project HOPE Appalachian mission in Floyd County, Ky., Kreutzer said.

About 40 high school juniors and seniors, college students and adults from the parish travel to this impoverished area in southeastern Kentucky for one week every June to complete home repairs and build additions. Travel expenses and building supplies cost about $25,000, Craig Kreutzer said.

David Matvey, 18, of McCandless, is participating in his third St. Sebastian musical and will take his second Appalachian mission trip this year.

“What's really neat about this musical is that we're not aspiring actors. We're doing this in conjunction with a charity,” said Matvey, a North Allegheny Senior High School senior.

“We can use our talents to help less fortunate people in America. We try to improve their lives as much as we can,” David Haddad, 18, said. He plays one of Joseph's 11 brothers.

“We put a lot of passion into it because we feel strongly for our cause,” the North Hills High School senior from Ross Township said. “Show weekend is the best weekend of the year. ... (Audiences) will be entertained and wowed.”

Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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