Review: CMPAC is Keeping the Dream Alive with JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

The production runs from Mar 16 - Apr 6

By: Mar. 31, 2024
Review: CMPAC is Keeping the Dream Alive with JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
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What better way to spend the holiday season then to see a show that will truly lift your spirits. CMPAC's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will do just that. Joseph is a retelling of the biblical story of Jacob's son Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his envious eleven brothers. After being imprisoned by Slave Master Potiphar, Joseph manages to use his skill of interpreting dreams to gain an audience with Pharaoh. Will Joseph get his freedom? Will he be able to face his traitorous brothers again?

In 1962, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice began writing Joseph as a pop cantata. What started out as a 15-minute musical composition turned into a 100-minute musical with a pastiche score featuring many different musical styles including: country, rock-a-billy, disco, jazz, French music hall, and calypso just to name a few. This broad musical style amplifies how the biblical story of Joseph is relatable to all.

When the show first started, I was a little leery. Unfortunately, the show did not have a pit orchestra; they opted for the use of CD tracks; I do love a Pit. The sound in the theater was also a bit tinny. The music of “Any Dream Will Do” began, Joseph stepped out and began to sing. In this opening scene, Joseph is sort of like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, whisking away all of the children to his world so they can hear his story. I really wasn’t whisked away on account of the sound as it was hard to hear Joseph over the CD track. The show was emanating high school production vibes and I was beginning to fear that the show was going to be a disaster of biblical proportions. I’m so glad my fears weren’t realized.

As the show progressed, it got better and better. The fantastic set design done by the legendary John Mazzerella, a staple of Long Island theater, illuminating lighting design by Brandon Latargia, and authentic costume design by Ronald R. Green III transported you. It was also nice to see Mazzerella grace the stage in the dual role of the Baker/Asher, making him a bona fide quadruple threat (scenic designer, actor, singer and dancer). Rochelle Martin directs and choregraphs this production and does a fine job. She made a lot of interesting choices. She had the entire cast barefoot (symbolizing the characters vulnerability and purity) with the exception of the men in power; their shoes symbolizing their wealth and strength. Martin also turned the Apache Dancer, an oft-forgotten performance, into a stand-out. The performance by Steffy Jolin and Martin’s choreography are the epitome of grace.

Will Brennan takes the lead as Joseph and does a great job. His performance of “Close Every Door” was very strong and was a highlight of the night. At the top of Act II, the character of the Narrator, played by Emily Gates, sings how Joseph “Could go far – could become a star”, well, the same can definitely be said for Ms. Gates, a true star if ever there was one. She is absolutely spectacular and will keep you enamored throughout the show. Her vocals are buttery amazement; Laurie Beechman would definitely be proud. Michael Krulder, who portrays Simeon, also gave an excellent performance of “Those Canaan Days.” A round of applause must be given to all of the choral groups (kid’s choir, women’s chorus, the brothers) in this show as they were all wonderful, especially the adorable kid’s choir.

CMPAC’s production of Joseph is playing until April 6. You should definitely “go, go, go” and see it.

CMPAC will be concluding their 52nd season with Saturday Night Fever (May 4-18). CMPAC’s 53rd season will feature: West Side Story (Aug 17-Sep 7), Jekyll and Hyde (Oct 5-19), Beauty and the Beast (Nov 2- 17) and A Christmas Story, the Musical (Dec 7-22).CMPAC will also be hosting special productions of `Til Death Do Us Part…You First, directed by Chazz Palminteri (April 19-21) and the new musical The Olympians, an epic muse-ical featuring an eclectic score of well-loved hits, ranging from Blondie and Hall & Oates to Miley Cyrus and Kelly Clarkson (April 12-14). Tickets for Joseph and all of these shows can be purchased at the button below.

You can view photos of the production here.




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