Broadway ambitions bloom in Clayton

ajames@newsobserver.comJuly 26, 2013 

The Clayton Youth Theater performs "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the town square concert series.

AMANDA JAMES — ajames@newsobserver.com

— A local singer with ambitions of making it to Broadway is part of the cast of this year’s Clayton Youth Theater production, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Lorrisa Gawthorpe, 18, is the musical’s narrator, one of the biggest roles. “I’ve never done one where it’s all singing, so this is a challenge,” she said.

At the most recent Town Square concert, the cast had a chance to practice a couple of the songs before a live audience. Remaining performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1-3 at The Clayton Center, 111 E. Second St.

Gawthorpe graduated from Corinth Holders High School this spring and plans to attend Wake Technical Community College in the fall. After that, she’d like to move to a bigger city and pursue acting.

“I’d like to go to New York and just try doing something like that,” Gawthorpe said.

She started singing at her church at age 8 and with the N.C. Theatre Conservatory at age 11. Gawthorpe has had other roles in Clayton Youth Theater productions, playing the lead female roles of Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray” and “Sandy” in Grease.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is based on the biblical character of Joseph, his father’s favorite son, who has prophetic dreams.

When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of trials that challenge his spirit. The show combines a variety of musical styles from country and western to pop to rock ’n’ roll.

Ty Myatt, 17, plays Joseph. “I love getting on stage,” he said.

A rising senior at Johnston County Early College High School, Myatt played the lead male role, Link Larkin, in “Hairspray.” He said an all-music show is tricky because all of the acting is in song.

The production has a few solos, but to Myatt, the show’s many ensemble songs are the best. “I believe the show is more on them and what they can do than it is on our leading roles,” he said.

The production has a cast of 30 people and a technical crew of five. It is the 11th Clayton Youth Theater production since the troupe started six years ago.

Nikki Dyke and her husband, Wes, started CYT as a way to nurture the arts in high school students in the community. Run by volunteers, the theater group relies on ticket sales, fundraisers and a weeklong summer camp that teaches theater arts to younger students.

Even so, the shows have professional sets and high-tech lighting.

“I can promise if people come and see the show, they will be impressed,” Dyke said.

Tickets are available at the box office, by telephone at 919-553-1737 or online at theclaytoncenter.com. They’re $10 for adults and $5 for students.

James: 919-553-7234

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