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Fun-Filled "Joseph" Is Perfect Mix of Broadway and Pop

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; lyrics by Tim Rice; book by Tim Rice; music arranged and orchestrated by Martin Silvestri and Jeremy Stone; directed by Dallett Norris; choreographed by Arlene Philips; lighting design by Rick Belzer; scenic design by James Fouchard; sound design by Duncan Robert Edwards

Cast

Joseph, Patrick Cassidy

Narrator, Amy Adams

Pharaoh/Levi, Todd Dubail

Jacob/Potiphar, Nicholas F. Saverine

Butler/Ensemble, Craig Cady

Mrs. Potiphar/Ensemble, Melissa Hurley Cassidy

Ensemble, Lisa Christine

Benjamin/Ensemble, David Ferguson

Isaachar/Baker/Ensemble, Timothy A. Fitzgerald

Dan/Ensemble, Michael Gellert

Ensemble, Brenda Hamilton

Ensemble, Lindsey Juneau

Simeon/Ensemble, Matthew LaBanca

Reuben's Wife/Ensemble, Aryn Lawrence

Ensemble, Carissa Lopez

Judah/Ensemble, Marque Lynch, Jr.

Reuben/Ensemble, Brad Madison

Apache/Ensemble, Louise Madison

Napthali, Ernest Marchain

Gad/Ensemble, Grant Rosen

Ensemble, Tiffany Sudol

Asher/Ensemble, Kristopher Thompson-Bolden

Ensemble, Nikki Tomlinson

Zebulun/Ensemble, Franklyn Warfield

Children's Ensemble, Jordan Bedoya, Kasey Bressler, Jack Buccella, Katie Buccella, Olivia Dodson, Patrick Dutton, Michael Egan, Ali Funkhouser, Emily Harrington, Audrey Kivlehan, Alexa Lowey, Melissa Mandia, Emma Mazukina, Erica McLaughlin, Helena Rabasco, Katie Ryan, Emily Smolinsky, Aisling Tyndall, Samantha Vita, Jillian Whitney

Performances : Now through November 20 at the Colonial Theatre

Tickets: (617)-931-2787, www.broadwayacrossamerica.com, www.ticketmaster.com

It's only fitting that a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is nothing short of an extravaganza, and in that respect, this production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaboration does not disappoint.Based on the last 13 chapters of Genesis, Josephtells the tale of Joseph's rise to power in Egypt after being sold into slavery by his brothers, complete with catchy songs, energetic dance numbers, sparkling costumes, neon lights, and the ever-flashy "Joseph Megamix."It's hard to push the boundaries on this show, and while there are a few moments when the production goes a bit too far, it nonetheless provides a fun and entertaining evening for audiences of all ages.

Like almost anything Webber and Rice do, Joseph is the perfect combination of pop and Broadway.When it premiered at the Royale Theatre in New York in 1982, Joseph was one of the first shows to move away from a "traditional" Broadway score and venture into the world of popular music, shaping the future of musicals and setting the stage for the success of such musicals as Les Misrables, Hairspray, The Who's Tommy, Wicked, AIDA, Mamma Mia, and RENT. With the pop musical such an accepted part of today's musical theatre landscape, it's easy to forget the Webber and Rice paved the way today's composers and lyricists, including Alain Boubil, Claude-Michel Schnberg, Frank Wildhorn, Jason Robert Brown, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Jonathan Larson, but they didall while perfecting the balance between Broadway and pop, and opening the genre to a new generation of fans.

Twenty-three years later, the best of both worlds still come together in Joseph, and in this production, it's not just the show that complements the best talent of both the Broadway and popit's the actors, too.Broadway star Patrick Cassidy, seen most recently as Julian Marsh in 42nd Street, does both vocal and emotional justice to the role of Joseph.His rendition of "Close Every Door" sends chills down the spine and shows just how great a song can be when sung by the right voice.Any doubts about American Idol finalist Amy Adams's ability to play the Narrator go out the window when she begins to sing.Adams may not be a trained actress, buy what she lacks in acting skills she more than makes up for with her vocal abilitythe girl knows how to belt, and she's not afraid to do it.The result is a perfect blend of classic Broadway and modern Idol talent that brings down the house.

And it's not just the leads that shine in this show.Joseph is an ensemble driven piece, and that is seen throughout the production, from the tremendous vocals in "Jacob & Sons/Joseph's Coat" to the outstanding dances in "One More Angel in Heaven" and "Son of the King."The featured children from the Franklin School for the Performing Arts are a lovely added touch, both vocally and energetically.One in particulara young boy with brown hair and an orange shirt who sits stage left for most of the duration of the showtruly epitomizes on stage the energy and enthusiasm that drives the show, and he, along with the rest of the Children's Ensemble, are a joy to watch on stage.

The major detriment to the show, however, is that at times it is a bit too loud.The cartoonish sets, neon lights, shiny pom-poms, strobe lights, and rainbow colored stage lights are fun most of the time, but there are moments when they ask to be mellowed down just the slightestcertain moments of "Go Go Go Joseph" come to mind.Aurally, there are many times when the music screams to be toned down.The Colonial is a fantastic acoustic spacethere is no need for the music to blare at ridiculously high decibels to be heard.Furthermore, the accompaniment sounds so computerized and electronic that the louder it goes, the more off balance it is with the singers and the worse it sounds.There is a small pit orchestra, but a comparison with the listed musicians and the orchestral parts poses the question of how many of the orchestral parts are either computerized or pre-recorded.The electronic quality or the orchestra is so poor that it just doesn't do justice to the performers on stage or Webber's original scorea real shame given the talent involved on all ends.

Josephmay not be the most thought-provoking piece of musical theatre, and it may not be as groundbreaking now as it was when it opened in 1982, but the production does provide the entire musical theatre experience.From the elaborate moving sets, to the intricate dance numbers, to the flashy costumes, to the songs that you find yourself humming as you leave the theatre, Joseph really is a fun show to see.Throw in the tremendous talent and high energy of the cast alongside a story that everyone can relate to and enjoy, and Joseph is a theatrical event that almost anyone will enjoy.

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Olena Ripnick Olena Ripnick is a Boston University journalism student and freelance writer whose introduction to the performing arts took place when she was cast as Gretel in ?The Sound of Music? at the tender age of six. She has an extensive background in both theatre and music production, and in 2001 founded Rip It Up Productions and has gone on to produce everything from musicals to benefit concerts. She continues to remain involved in the various aspects of the theatre, from performing to directing, as well as the many aspects of the music industry, including event production, artist management, and performance. When she?s not on stage or behind the scenes, Olena can be found on the ski slopes, on air with her weekly musical theatre radio show La Vie Boh?me (www.wtburadio.com), or traveling the world and exploring the infinite abyss. She thanks her family for supporting all her endeavors, no matter how crazy they may seem.


 
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