That’s what the papers say! As Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Columbia celebrates the 45th year of Columbia Center for the Arts (CCTA) and the 50th anniversary of the city of Columbia, what better way to celebrate than with five show-stopping female leads, all of whom have starred on the Toby’s stage in the past, now lined up to be a part of Toby’s present?
In a first-ever casting coup for the landmark Columbia theatre, the five veteran performers have agreed to return to the stage taking up the role of “Narrator” in this summer’s revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a production which Toby’s has produced many times over the four and a half decades of its existence.
“Every once in a while a crazy, wonderful idea pops up and you must seize the opportunity,” says Founder and Artistic Director Toby Orenstein. Toby and her staff had been searching for a special way to commemorate both the 45th year of the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts (CCTA), the umbrella organization of Toby’s Dinner Theatre, and the 50th anniversary of the city of Columbia. And they seem to have found a way to do so in one summer long musical sensation.
With a fresh new production of the ever popular Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat already scheduled, it seemed the perfect time to reach out to women who had played role of the Narrator in previous incarnations at Toby’s as well as to other Young Columbians with CCTA.
“It might be crazy. And it might be a big undertaking,” enthuses Orenstein, “But I am excited by this idea and I want to make it happen!” This is the first time Toby’s Dinner Theatre has tried such an ambitious casting arrangement. There will be five different women portraying the role of the Narrator in this production over the course of its summer-long run with each woman performing for just a few weeks. “We have never done this before, but with such a wealth of talent at my fingertips, it was a no-brainer,” Orenstein adds.
The production, opening on June 15, 2017, will start its run with Caroline Bowman as the first of the five Narrators. Caroline is a life-long Columbia resident, graduate of Penn State, and a Broadway star having been in the original company of Kinky Boots. Bowman has also tackled the leading role of Elphaba in the Broadway smash hit Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre.
Taking the role up after Caroline is Janine Sunday. Having protrayed the role in the 2008 production at Toby’s, Janine has been seen in numerous productions in the DC area and is a four-time Helen Hayes Award nominee for Best Actress in a Musical. Two of those nominations came from her work at Toby’s: one from Jekyll and Hyde and the other from West Side Story.
A Toby’s performing regular, Coby Kay Callahan, will be the third Narrator to assume the role this summer. Coby has done great work at Toby’s over the years including performances in Show Boat, Ragtime, and the principle role of Princess Fiona in Shrek the musical. Callahan has also performed the role of Narrator with Toby’s once before in 2012 when the secondary location- Toby’s of Baltimore- was producing the show that summer.
In 1997, the Toby’s production of Joseph was nominated for “Best Musical” by the Helen Hayes Award organization and the role of the Narrator was portrayed by Cathy Mundy. She received a “Best Actress” nomination from the Helen Hayes committee for her performance in the role. Cathy is an educator in the Howard County School system and an animal activist. She will be the fourth star to grace this summer’s production as the Narrator.
Closing the production this summer, the fifth and final performer to take up the role of the Narrator is MaryKate Brouillet. Audiences have seen her on the Toby’s stage in numerous productions including The Addams Family where she played Wednesday Addams, Peter Pan where she starred as Peter Pan, and Les Miserables where she played Eponine. Growing up in the CCTA program with her good friend Caroline Bowman, MaryKate is also a Columbia resident and former Young Columbian.
“At the auditions, MaryKate gave such a fresh and honest audition that she just HAD to be a part of this grand idea. To book-end this production with Caroline and MaryKate is something truly special,” Orenstein said.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat plays through August 27, 2017 at Toby’s the Dinner Theatre of Columbia— 5900 Symphony Woods Road in Columbia, MD. For tickets please call (410) 730-8311 or purchase them online