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Seminarians Stage "Joe and the Coat" Before Capacity Crowds

“We decided to ‘raise the bar’ this year because of all the talent in the house,” says Brian Meldrum, director of the 2012 seminarian spring play. So Meldrum and his fellow seminarians decided last autumn to stage an ambitious musical comedy, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Over thirty seminarians became involved, on-stage or back-stage, for the production, made popular on Broadway by Donnie Osmond as Joseph.


"Joe and the Coat" opened on Friday evening, March 23, with two presentations held on Saturday, March 24.


The seminarians of Sacred Heart have a long tradition of staging theatrical productions, going back to the 1930s. The once-annual event was resurrected in 2010 after a twenty-year hiatus. Last year’s comedy, Room Service, played to over-capacity audiences for its two presentations, as did the 2010 production of the drama 12 Angry Men. Anticipating a similarly enthusiastic response for "Joe and the Coat," the seminarians added a third performance, on Saturday afternoon. Meldrum estimates that the three productions drew over 1500 attendees to Sacred Heart’s 570-seat vintage auditorium.


“The guys were fantastic!” says Tamra Fromm, Sacred Heart’s director of admissions and enrollment management, who attended the play on Saturday evening. Staging a musical may seem ambitious, but voice training is required course work for every seminarian. So it is not surprising that “the singing was exceptional,” says Fromm.


Meldrum says one of the best compliments he overheard was from a religious sister leaving the Friday show. “She said she couldn’t believe she was laughing so hard—on a Friday in Lent!”


The seminarians asked for a free-will offering after each production. Attendees responded by dropping an astounding $16,000 into the donation baskets. The proceeds will be used to purchase new cassocks and surplices for the house and new liturgical vestments for the resident priests. The remainder of the funds will help with the cost of next year’s presentation.


“It was a lot of hard work, but tons of fun as most guys would attest,” says Meldrum.