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Interview: Josh Canfield in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at Axelrod Performing Arts Center

Interview: Josh Canfield in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at Axelrod Performing Arts Center

Josh Canfield will play Pharaoh in the Axelrod Performing Art Center's musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He performs alongside Peter LaPrade in the title role of Joseph, and Amma Osei as the Narrator. The production runs for 15 performances from July 11 through July 28. Directed and choreographed by Matthew Steffens, the iconic show was Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's first musical collaboration and remains their most popular family show.

Josh Canfield most recently appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning production of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. Rachel Chavkin and Dave Malloy's The Great Comet marked his second Broadway show, following Doctor Zhivago at the Broadway Theatre. Josh is most recognized by his appearance as a castaway on CBS' Survivor: San Juan Del Sur in 2014, in which he appeared in all 14 episodes and was considered a "fan favorite". Josh recently finished touring with the Broadway production of Falsettos and can now be seen rocking out as Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Axelrod Performing Arts Center. Regionally, he appeared as Billy Crocker in Anything Goes at the Ogunquit Playhouse and at Gateway Playhouse in Cabaret (Emcee); Anything Goes (Billy); Memphis (Huey); The Rocky Horror Show (Rocky). Josh graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with his MFA in Musical Theatre, which led to multiple European productions including Sail Away at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, The Sound of Music in Cyprus, and Hair (Claude) at The English Theatre in Frankfurt, Germany. As a writer, Josh has written one play, three musicals, and over fifty songs. His most recent work, ALIVE! The Zombie Musical, was selected to be a part of the 2019 New York Musical Festival. For more, follow Josh on social media - @itsjoshcanfield. had the pleasure of interviewing Josh Canfield about his career and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Who was the very first person to recognize your theatrical talent?

The first person to recognize my theatrical potential was my mom, Debby Canfield. She was an actress in college who played the lead in Bye Bye Birdie. She has a gorgeous voice and I recall many times that we would watch the old classic musicals together while the rest of the family would be out playing basketball or something of the sort. Adding on to that, my dad saw it as well. There was a time where I was struggling with the fact that my older brothers were so good at sports but I just didn't seem to have any athletic talent. My dad sat me down and said, "Josh, your brothers will never be in the NBA, but you, you could be on Broadway." That has always stuck with me. He was right.

What advice do you have for aspiring actors?

There's so much that comes flooding to my mind that I would want to say to aspiring actors, or even to my younger, greener self. I think I can narrow it down to this: Your career in the arts isn't heading to some pinnacle, some "I've made it" moment. Think of it as a gorgeous mountain range like the Smokies, where sometimes you're climbing until you reach the top of a peak, and there you get a stunning view. Other times, you're in a valley where you can't see quite as far, but there are new things that you find because you are focused on what's right in front of you. The valleys are important, probably more important than the peaks. You're in a creative field, so think creatively about your career.

What have been some of your most challenging roles and why?

Most roles are challenging in some way, whether it be the physicality, the vocal agility, or even the working relationship with the cast and creative team. Usually, challenge is a word I jump at when it comes paired with acting. Last summer I took on the role of Huey in Memphis at Gateway Playhouse which was a crazy script to memorize and then perform eight times a week. During the final week, I began rehearsals for Cabaret as the Emcee. Doing double duty with these two roles was insane and rewarding.

Tell us a little about playing Pharaoh at Axelrod PAC.

I'm thrilled to be playing Pharaoh at Axelrod Performing Arts Center. I've been a part of two other productions of Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, one where I played Joseph (Actors Playhouse in Miami), and the other was a reality TV show in London called Any Dream Will Do (BBC). The director of this production, Matthew Steffans, has given me freedom to do my own take on Pharaoh, which means straying a bit from the traditional Elvis portrayal and getting into more of a contemporary rock vibe.

What would you like audiences to know about your recent project, ALIVE! The Zombie Musical?

ALIVE! The Zombie Musical has been on a journey with me for the past seven years as I've written, rewritten, and rewritten again this crazy, comical story of unlikely love. ALIVE! is a comedy that's more than just blood, guts, and body parts, although it does have a lot of that. It's a story about dreaming bigger than you think you have the power to, loving harder than you think is possible, and challenging the social construct that you feel has you caged. It's about a quest to make the impossible possible.

Can you share any of your future plans?

In the fall, look for my new play, Family (or the Art of Surviving), as it has its first industry reading. Here's the synopsis - Family follows a year in the life of a zany, wealthy, conservative family in Dallas, TX. Cheryl is a vivacious, assertive, 70 something matriarch who keeps three generations of family in their place. Between her hard-of-hearing husband and her physically challenged daughter, she has her hands full; but when her grandson brings his boyfriend to Thanksgiving dinner, calamity ensues and spurs events both hilarious and heartbreaking. Fights, affairs, death, and chocolate pudding bring this family to the edge and back.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat runs July 11 through July 28. Tickets can be purchased at and range from $38 to $64. Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more. The theater, which is located at 100 Grant Ave. in Deal Park, New Jersey, is handicap accessible and provides free, ample parking on-site.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Josh Canfield

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