Bible Study Has Never Been So Fun

By: Jun. 10, 2024
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Vacation Bible Camp has never been so much fun as it is right now at the Seacoast Repertory Theatre.

Before Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice garnered international fame for their rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, the famed duo produced a 15-minute cantata performed at a British high school.

When Superstar got spectacular reviews, even topping rock music charts, the team pulled the cantata off the shelf and rewrote and expanded the script to a full stage production called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, realizing that there was money to be made from the Bible.

The show is a lighthearted interpretation of the biblical tale of Joseph told in musical styles ranging from country to calypso, and from Paris sidewalk café ballads to the pop sounds of the 1960s. The story line is feeble at best, playing more like a Bible lesson than a Broadway musical. But this is all fine in a production that doesn’t take itself too seriously, packed with loads of laughs for adults and cartoonish qualities for youngsters.

Directors, Alyssa Dumas, Jason Faria, Ben Hart and Brandon James and choreographers, Dumas and Faria,  groom the material well and know that what matters most in this production is the music and mind-blowing dancing. Forget about character development and don’t worry about scenes with lots of dialogue. (There are none!) The team delivers with high energy vocals and hyper-charged dance moves all performed by an incredibly talented troupe.

The bible story, though usually told by one narrator, is told by three talented ladies in Alyssa Dumas, Alexandra Mullaney and Sophie Mings who speak directly to the audience and interact with their fellow actors. Joseph (Jared LeMay), who has the uncanny knack of interpreting dreams is the best loved by his doting father, Jacob (Tobin Moss), and is given an elegant coat of many colors. His 11 brothers are so jealous of his prophetic dreams and his colorful coat, that they sell him into slavery in Egypt.  There, Joseph rises from house slave to become second in command to Pharaoh (Stuart Dias). By the show’s ending, he reunites triumphantly with his brothers.

While the Rep has a host of actors to choose from for lead roles, LeMay is an extraordinary choice as Joseph. He’s a strong vocalist belting out the show standards, Any Dream Will Do and Close Every Door.  He’s engaging and connects well with the audience.  

The trio of narrators are among the best female leads at the Rep. They give an outstanding ensemble performance while easily belting out rock numbers as well as the sweet and sublime tunes.  

The 11-brother chorus charms the audience with singing, dancing, and great comic bits. Standouts include Sean Mullaney as Levi in “One More Angel in Heaven,” Christopher Hobson as Simeon in “Those Canaan Days,” and Shaina Schwartz as Judah in “Benjamin Calypso.”  Stuart Dias as the Pharaoh performs the “Song of the King” as a high energy street wise rap number unlike the usual Elvis Presley inspired flair that’s usually set aside for the number.  Dias is good, but I miss the Presley imitation.

Under the direction of William Asher, the orchestra at the Rep called The Smokin’ Section, is vibrant with the varied musical styles in the show. They are always in perfect synch and balance between the musicians and vocalists.

Like most set designs at the Rep, this one is well lit, colorful, clever, and quick moving between scenes. Credit here is due to designers, Ben Hart and Brandon James and scenic artist, Kate Dugas.

A team of nine costume designers dazzled with a mix of modern chic and basic biblical. And as for the coat of many colors, I dare you to count all of them.

The show ends with what the program calls a “Megamix,” a fast paced and ramped up version of the standout numbers in the show performed much like a curtain call. The cast doesn’t disappoint.

Everything about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is family friendly and with a running time of only two hours, it may be exactly right for younger audiences.


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