BWW Review: STAGES St. Louis's Highly Entertaining JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
I've seen several stagings of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT over the years, and I've always enjoyed the Tim Rice (book and lyrics) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) show each time. However, STAGES St. Louis has really outdone themselves with their latest production of this exuberant musical. The piece has always lent itself to approaching it with a great deal of imagination and creativity, since it's chock-full of hilarious, anachronistic humor and song, and this production takes full advantage of that fact. This show is a real treat, with strong performances and plenty of fun to go around, and I highly recommend it!
Set in ancient Egypt, this clever musical tells the biblical story of Joseph. Joseph is singled out as special among his eleven brothers by his father, Jacob, who gives him the gift of an attention-grabbing, rainbow-hued coat. In an extreme act of sibling rivalry, his brothers strip him of his clothes and toss him in a well, before they finally decide to sell him into slavery. But, even though he's jailed after an unsuccessful stint as a servant for Potiphar, he impresses the Pharoah with his ability to interpret his dreams. When his advice is taken, and his visions begin to come true, he ascends to the number two spot. In the end, things come full circle, with his brothers learning a valuable lesson along the way.
Jeff Sears brings a warm presence to his role as Joseph, and his version of "Any Dream Will Do" gets the action off to a very pleasant start, but it's his take on "Close Every Door", while imprisoned, that takes hold emotionally. Kristen Scott adds immeasurably to the proceedings as the Narrator. "The Prologue" sets the tone for the show, and Scott makes the audience aware that they're in for a good time. Brent Michael DiRoma is especially amusing as the Pharaoh, channeling a very effective Elvis Presley for the "Song of the King," and unrecognizable as Potiphar. Brad Frennette is amusing as brother Levi, leading his brothers in the country twang of the song, "One More Angel in Heaven." A personal favorite is "Those Canaan Days," with Jeremiah Ginn as Rueben, leading the brothers through a Parisian flavored tune, where they bemoan their fate during the famine Joseph predicted. Another highlight fines Jason Eno as Judah, singing a bouncy, Jamaican-flavored "Benjamin Calypso."
Standing out in support are: the always reliable Steve Isom as Jacob, and Molly Tynes who tempts Joseph with a myriad of sexy moves as Potiphar's wife. The youth ensemble also adds a great deal of energy and life to the proceedings and includes: Molly Carl, Grace Costello, Jacob Flekier, Hannah Haedike, Cole Hoefferle, Justin Nelson, Emma Resek, and Jacob Scott.
Stephen Bourneuf delivers the goods with wonderful direction and choreography that pulls out all the stops. This is very clever work, incorporating so many unusual touches that I won't describe them, and thus, not spoil them. Suffice to say, this is an immensely entertaining experience. Lisa Campbell Albert's musical direction works overtime to produce a number of memorable moments and fresh takes on the material. James Wolk's scenic design contains a number of well conceived and flashy pieces that conjure up the locales with considerable style. Sean Savoie's lighting is eye-popping, with a star field giving a nice sense of depth and scope. Brad Musgrove's costumes are marvelously over the top, and pull in elements from many different eras to add additional eye candy to the proceedings.
This undeniably buoyant, and perfectly staged, production by STAGES St. Louis continues through July 2, 2017. Don't miss it!