Heritage Treatment Center Presents the Power of Musical Theater
Some schools merely instruct, but Heritage inspires. This weekend I took my family and some friends to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Heritage Center Stage. It was charming, cute, and full of heart—but we didn’t just have a good time. It changed our entire outlook on the world.
Heritage is a residential treatment center for at-risk teens. Having heard about the school system through friends, I had been eager to check out their facilities for years. Yet I didn’t know how; you can’t just walk into treatment centers without an invitation. As soon as a friend offered me tickets to the musical, I invited as many friends as I could to go with me.
From the moment my group and I entered the theater, we knew we were in for a treat. Nothing excites me more than seeing kids involved in positive activities, and I knew this family-friendly show would be no exception. We came excited and we left gratified beyond our expectations.
What I didn’t anticipate was that I would cry as soon as the curtain opened. The narrators entered the stage with little kids, singing together about the story that was about to unfold. Joseph entered through a floor-born cloud, and as a parent, I just couldn’t restrain the tears. My teenage friends sitting next to me enjoyed mocking my sappiness.
Thankfully the sentimental tone changed quickly with the more light-hearted song Jacob & Sons. From then on we danced in our seats, laughing at antics and growing fond of each character. Since it was closing night, we got to see the master of ceremonies present gifts and publically thank those involved with the production.
After the show, we discussed our favorite aspects, and it quickly became clear that we loved everything about it. The kids did a fabulous job engaging the audience through singing, acting, and dancing. Most of the kids had little or no formal training, but the audience immediately latched on to their genuine, dynamic personalities. The moral support was unanimous.
Evidently, the adults involved in production infused love and expertise into everything. The costumes were brilliant, the scenery epic, the choreography inventive, and the lighting and sound precise and well-executed. I found the transitions between scene changes particularly clever. The orchestra blew me away, and even more so when I discovered it was just one person—Rosanne Abraham—on a keyboard.
On visiting the Heritage school, I knew I would learn something interesting, and maybe even meet some nice people. I’m pleased to say that I was moved beyond expectation by the production itself and by the warm spirit that resided there. My Heritage visit will forever stand as a case study of the power of the arts to change people for good.