BWW Review: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at Sharon Playhouse
On Saturday, August 10, I had the pleasure of seeing a brilliantly unique rendering of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT spectacularly performed by a talented cast at the Sharon Playhouse, in Sharon, CT. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of this very first musical collaboration between songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, this show remains entertaining to audiences across multiple generations, fueled by continuous music, traditionally without dialogue interspersed. The Sharon Playhouse, however, has skillfully added effective dialogue at the beginning, presenting the story in the context of the Narrator who is magnificently performed by Merrill Peiffer, telling the story in the 1960s, as a teacher to her students, the talented children's ensemble featuring Myles Crain, Lorelei Gnerre, Hariett Luongo, Jordan Masselli, Sayde Mendell, and Ceanna Weiler.
Max J. Swarner provides a masterful performance in the leading role of Joseph. His amazing acting and powerful voice, particularly showcased on "Close Every Door," leave the audience mesmerized at the caliber of talent he provides to the show.
Michael Glavan is wonderful as Pharaoh, a character who in this production is traditionally modeled after Elvis Presley. Michael Glavan nails the Elvis voice and mannerism, while clearly annunciating the lyrics on the song "Stone the Crows," excelling at this very challenging song to perform.
Bill Morris is convincing in both his roles as Jacob and as Potiphar.
The entire company is great with Michael Glavan, Mijon Zulu, Aidan Farren, Sam W. Snyder, Ryan Thomas Curley, TJ Swetz, Daniel Pahl, Jeffery Jannitto, Michael Doliner, Nick Lamberti, and Tony Harkin playing Joseph's brothers, and with Madi Beumee, Alex Colavecchio, Alora Eisen, Liv Kurtz, Michelle Lemon, and Jaclyn Mercer as the Women's Ensemble. The dancing is sensational. The way the ensemble synchronizes and coordinates their movements reflects strong talent, diligent cooperation, hard work, and harmonious stage chemistry among this entire cast, combined with the strong efforts and leadership skills of director and choreographer Russell Garrett. Most significantly, the entire cast clearly shows that they are having a great time on stage, radiating positive energy that flows throughout the audience.
A talented six piece live orchestra, led by Jacob Carll, appears on stage, towards the back of the stage, enhancing the quality of the production, a truly impressive task in a show like this that requires constant music. The set additionally has stairways on both sides, with various light designs on the back wall.
The Biblical story of Joseph, son of Jacob, is told through the music, with some deviations from the Genesis account, but still conveying the positive messages of redemption and how God gives us the power to overcome even the most severe obstacles, regardless of our situations in life. The show extols virtuous obedience to God both through Joseph's willingness to forgive his brothers, and through Joseph's uncompromising rejection of the unsolicited advances of a married woman.
Some nuances, beyond the opening dialogue, that come specific to the Sharon Playhouse production, include setting it in Canaan, CT, and other late 60s references, such as a yellow submarine and a brief Hawaii 5.0 surfing reference.
I highly recommend JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT which is scheduled to continue to run at the Sharon Playhouse, in Sharon CT, through August 25, 2019. For times and tickets, please go to Tickets.