Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Addresses Alterations to JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

By: Jul. 09, 2017
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New Zealand's Artsplash Festival recently made headlines due to inexplicable artistic choices made in their production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Times of Israel reported that the company had replaced the word 'Israel' in 'Close Every Door' with the word 'kindness,' altering the lyric to 'Children of Kindness.'

In a new interview with The Guardian, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber chimed in on the controversy stating: "That song is a serious moment and a key point in the show, It is about the connection Joseph suddenly makes with Israel. Tim was paraphrasing the Bible and it should be kept that way."

The change was discovered by Twitter user Kate Dowling who brought lyricist Sir Tim Rice into the conversation as she asked for explanation. Rice responded with equal confusion and clarified that the theatre had no right to change the written word.

The Telegraph now reports that Rice has made further comment about the incident saying the company "interpreted the song completely wrongly, and what a rotten thing. And I only heard about it because someone tweeted me and said 'did you approve this change?' I said I did not approve it and I hadn't heard about it. It was quite a big thing, it was for all schools in the Wellington area in New Zealand."

Festival coordinator Mary Prichard did not explain the reasoning behind the change, saying only that they were trying to keep things simple. She insisted they did not find the use of the word 'Israel' problematic. She also revealed that the festival cut three songs from the show as well, saying only that "It's not worth going there. It's not worth looking for trouble."

Sir Tim Rice then responded to the news of the cut songs with frustration, urging the festival to do the show as written or not at all.

Coordinator Prichard apologized via Facebook, saying "You have my complete assurance that this was an unintentional and innocent error on the part of one of my team, and I apologise for it. The person concerned, and myself for that matter, are religious people and would never consider intentionally doing anything racist or anti any religion."

For Rice, it's clear the producers and creatives involved in the 'changes' missed the entire point of the show. "Joseph is an innocent story straight from the Bible and these people in New Zealand thought we were making statements about Israel and Palestine - bonkers."

To read more, visit The Telegraph here and The Times of Israel here.

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