Wheaton’s Bill Nelson takes on iconic role in ‘Joseph’

The actor/musician rocks out (with an homage to Elvis) as Pharaoh in Wheaton Drama’s family-themed musical, running Nov. 8 to Dec. 8.

Author: Zach Gibson

Think of your favorite American music icon. Judy Garland? Jerry Lee Lewis? Frankie Valli? Bruce Springsteen?

Now imagine portraying your chosen icon in an upbeat, full-throttle, family-friendly musical.

Bill Nelson of Wheaton has the chance to do just that.

A rock musician himself, Nelson plays Pharaoh, an over-the-top homage to Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, in Wheaton Drama’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The family-themed musical runs Nov. 8 to Dec. 8 at Playhouse 111 in Wheaton.

Nelson says the challenge of the role is to be respectably authentic while offering audiences a glimpse of the popular stylings of the King. Through his research and preparation, Nelson shares that he is working on delivering a “time-capsule portrayal, from 1950s to 1970s Vegas Elvis.”

An avid lover of the American music tradition, Nelson performs throughout the Chicago area with many collaborators, from grass-roots music to avant garde composition.

Elvis Presley’s iconic sound combines Appalachian, blues, jazz, rockabilly, and Western swing, among other influences. This rich history attracted Nelson to the style and spurred him to become more familiar with its founders.

Nelson believes Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat “encourages you to dream, and to follow your dreams, because dreams do come true.”

Audiences can expect upbeat music, colorful sets and costumes, and action-packed choreography.

This family-friendly musical will entertain audiences Nov. 8 through Dec. 8. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m., at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111, located at 111 N. Hale St. in Wheaton.

For tickets, please call 630-260-1820 or visit www.wheatondrama.org.