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Joseph and the Technicolor dreamcoat thoughts

Chorus Member
Chorus Member | Joined: 5/3/20
So, I'm a young theatre kid who's trying to listen to/watch more ALW. I'm watching Joseph and the Technicolor dreamcoat and I just... Don't like it. It feels so random and just weird and I feel like nothing makes sense. I feel like ALW went on some random story generator and made that a musical. Some of the music is nice, but it mostly feels like nonsense mashed together to make a story. Maybe it's just the movie that's weird, but I just hate it

What are your thoughts on Joseph and the Technicolor dreamcoat?

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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 10/9/05
I was never a huge fan of the show until I saw the West End production last year. Something about seeing it live really changed my thoughts on it.
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 3/7/05

I love, love, LOVE this show. It kind of is a mess. But it has a special place in my heart. I first became familiar with it back when I was in high school in the '90s. I saw a not-very-good children's production (I actually ended up working at that theatre for a while after, but that's another story), and after that bought the London revival cast recording with Jason Donovan and got way more interested. I've since seen a few productions, including the concert at Lincoln Center only about three weeks before Broadway shut down.

I'm not religious so this was actually how I learned of the story of Joseph — some of the songs go on way too long and some of them are just the right amount of peppy. The megamix is a total joy, if done right.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
Chorus Member
Chorus Member | Joined: 5/3/20

Interesting. I haven't really had an experience like that when I've seen shows. Maybe that could happen but who knows

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 3/7/05

Some shows click with you and some don't — that's just how it goes! It doesn't always correlate with its longevity or popularity.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
Featured Actor
Featured Actor | Joined: 9/16/17

Tim Rice talked about the development of the show on his podcast recently (

I've never been a big fan of the show, but learning how it was originally written to be performed by schoolchildren made more sense. Tim Rice says that as the piece grew into more of a full-fledged musical, he tried to make changes (like to some of the more preposterous half-rhymes like "pajamas/farmers"Joseph and the Technicolor dreamcoat thoughts but by that point he was met with resistance from people who had already grown fond of the piece as it was.

Personally, I've never been much of a fan of the show, though I do understand why many people love its unapologetically high-energy mode of storytelling. I am a much bigger fan of ALW's and Rice's work on Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar, though, again, I don't think their film adaptations are anything special. I guess that's actually true of all of ALW's musicals--that their film treatments are less than exemplary...

Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 9/17/07

I adore this show and I am always kind of surprised that I like it. The Donny Osmond tour came through Chicago when I was a teenager in the 90's and I thought it was the coolest thing ever, especially the remix at the end. To me, the show epitomized the fun, zany side of performing arts. 

When the OP says that it feels random and that nothing make sense in the show, are you aware that every song intentionally has a different style to it, and each of those styles is intentionally campy and silly?  The Elvis song, the French song, the calypso song, etc. And the story is a Bible story, so it's not random in that it does follow the story faithfully--pun intended. 

But I freely admit that if I didn't fall in love with it as a 15 year old theater nerd who wanted nothing more than to jump on onstage and dance and sing Go Go Go Joseph, I definitely would not give it a chance now. 

Chorus Member
Chorus Member | Joined: 6/24/19

I really enjoy this show, not totally sure why lol, because it is a bit of a hot mess. When I was in high school I saw Cheyenne Jackson as Joseph in a Washington State regional theatre production, and he was outstanding, so maybe that colors my view of it a bit. I like a lot of the music and find it pretty funny, all things considered. As it's been 20 years since I've seen it live, I'd love to see it again.

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Broadway Star
Broadway Star | Joined: 8/30/08

I too like this show. It's fun and silly. The eclecticism of the score is all part of the fun to me, although I know some people don't like that aspect.

My main nitpick is that I would have liked the show to let itself get a smidgen more serious/dramatic in the section where Joseph tests his brothers towards the end. But it is what it is.

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 7/10/19

It's tremendous fun to me, but it may be past its expiration date for younger people? The fun of the show is a laid-back, slang-ridden pastiche built around a supposedly serious work (the Bible). Now that most people's interaction with that text isn't through a centuries-old translation (King James) and  now that the pleasure pop culture references was sort of exhausted by my generation (X), it may be fairly dull. 

But I think, more than most works, it's really dependent on the recording/performance. My favorite is the MCA studio recording ("first recording of the complete work!" as the LP jacket claims) from '74.

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 12/4/07
I cant stand it. I've only seen one production (bway revival) and kept counting to see how many more numbers until it was over.

I do realize that I'm in the minority. Different strokes.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Broadway Star
Broadway Star | Joined: 4/20/15

I saw the Michael Damian revival but caught that version on tour with Sam Harris.  Harris blew the ceiling off the theater when he sang "Close Every Door."  That last note held was beyond incredible.  Didn't get a standing ovation but it stopped the show for a bit.

I wasn't sure what to expect of the musical as I was not real familiar with the music or the show, but my friends and I really liked it a lot.

And the Joseph Megamix at the end was great.  Out of their period costumes and in more contemporary garb....I just remember that was one good-looking cast.  When they were out of costume, you saw them for what they really looked like.  Again, really good-looking cast.

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 3/1/04

It's just fun. It's fun to watch and it's fun to be in. The most fun I've ever had on stage. Backstage was another story, but I remember having a lot of fun on stage.

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend | Joined: 3/29/07
Some of the catchiest damn music ever written.
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Broadway Star
Broadway Star | Joined: 8/22/12

I thought the original Broadway cast was just perfect.  Laurie Beechman and Tim Hutton were awesome.  I was 15 years old and saw it over and over.  Had a big impact on me.  Later productions just got bigger and longer and gayer and alot of the charm of the original piece got lost.

I still love the music and the memories of that production.