Taylorsville - Keanu Netlzer is a 19-year-old from West Jordan. He’s the University of Utah tight head prop for their rugby team and he plays Joseph in Taylorsville Art Council’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“I love to perform because I want to show people that I and also people in the Polynesian community can do something different that you don’t usually see,” Netlzer said. In the upcoming musical, Netlzer plans on doing just that.
It’s a story about a young boy who has a coat of many colors and 11 jealous brothers, but it’s also a musical that is completely sung, with no dialogue. The story is based on the biblical Jacob, his 12 sons and the incredible story of Joseph’s journey from young boy to the most powerful man in Egypt. Songs such as “Joseph’s Dreams,” “Go, Go, Go Joseph” and” Pharaoh’s Dreams Explained,” set the stage for the events that bring Joseph to become a ruler over his brothers. Director Wendy SmedShammer said, “The overall purpose for this musical is to watch a family come together and realize that each individual brings something special to the plate. That we truly do need each other.”
Songs transport audience goers back to biblical days and take them on a journey with a young boy’s dreams. “My favorite scene is when the brothers finally realize how amazing their brother Joseph truly is. It’s magic to watch their hearts soften and to see the forgiveness in their hearts,” said SmedShammer.
Joseph isn’t the only boy who follows his dreams; the man who plays him does as well. Netlzer’s love for performing started in elementary school. In fourth grade he played Little John in “Robin Hood” and fell in love with the stage. Because of the passion he felt for performing, he then got to play leading roles in 12 other shows at his elementary school. He then went to school at the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts and graduated in 2014. He is now studying vocal performance in opera and classical music at the University of Utah. Netlzer said, “I enjoy performing because it’s a chance for me to really put my heart out there, a chance to really connect with people on a whole other level that can’t be expressed by words.”
Life for Netlzer is busy. In addition to studying, playing rugby and performing, he holds down a full-time job. His nights are spent rehearsing. “One of my favorite quotes is from Bob Marley: ‘One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain’ because I don’t feel any pain when I perform. I don’t worry about the problems that I may be having, the difficulties in my life, how hard my job is going to be the next day, my homework, school, none of that! Performing is a chance for me to escape the hard, unforgiving world that we live in today, in exchange to just have fun, share a message to people through song, and share with people my talent that the Lord my God has blessed me with.”
Performing as Joseph has been very powerful for Netlzer. His favorite song to perform is “Close Every Door.” “I love the powerful message of humility that it has behind it; it’s the moment in the show when he realizes that he needs more than just himself and that he has the Lord on his side who will always be watching over him and his family,” he said.
Netlzer is performing with his brother Oliva, who plays the Pharaoh and Joseph’s brother, Dan. “It’s really fun for the both of us to share the stage and show people what we can do together,” said Netlzer.
Netlzer and the cast of over 50 have been rehearsing for three months. “I love working with the amazing director and choreographers. We are so blessed to have such an amazing group of talent that is leading us to be great and perform a great show. With all the work they have put into this show, it really shows off all of our strengths and none of our weaknesses,” he said.
The play opens July 9 at 8 p.m. at the Salt Lake Community College Amphitheater and runs July 10, 11, 13 and 14. $7 per ticket or $30 for groups of 6 or more can be purchased at the door.