JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at Axelrod Inspires Theatregoers
Editor's Note: We welcome this guest review by Sarah Osman. We look forward to having more of Sarah's articles on Broadwayworld.com. You can find Sarah at SarahOsman.com or or follow her on social media: Instagram.com/thesarahosman and Facebook.com/thesarahosman.
Celebrating its 50th year of storytelling, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is currently being performed at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center. This Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice classic is a biblical reimagining of Joseph and his coat of many colors, following the journey of Israel's favorite son, his trials with his eleven brothers, and the triumps in giving and forgiveness.
The musical is directed and choreographed by Matthew Steffens and musically directed by Andrew David Sotomayer, with associate director Jacob Wahba, associate musical director James Rushin, and associate choreographer Christopher Salvaggio. The creative team wonderfully direct this family show into a meaningful musical experience. In this modern retelling of history there are many opportunities for error, especially with the musical's diverse score and previous adaptations. Axelrod surpasses the expectations of this musical with their excellently executed direction, stellar cast, and inspiring technical elements.
Starting from my journey into the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, I would like to note the kind hospitality in the lobby and theatre space that make theatre experiences all the more enjoyable. From the moment you walk into the theatre space, actors are in character playing out everyday shenanigans in a classroom setting. My praise goes to the technical director, Gerry Gironda, and lighting designer, Andrew F. Griffin for giving me my first look into this amazing production. The first moment standing out being in the opening scene; a textbook falling to the floor triggering a light cue that blew my mind (coupled with the onstage cast's perfect timing in reaction), I was in awe!
Not only did the technical elements illuminate the stage, but the performers who took to the stage did as well. With a show that heavily relies on a team to work together, this production truly had a notable cast. The actors playing Brothers had an energy and wonderfully established relationship with one another that made the longer numbers of Joseph enjoyable and entertaining. Stand-out numbers include "One More Angel in Heaven" with Anna Kostakis as Naphtali and Brothers played by Rodolfo Santamarina, Sarah Lindsey, Nathan Quay Thomas, Jaclyn Baker, Abby Voss, Chris Salvaggio, Kiana Rodriguez, Lizzy Legregin, Quincy Southerland, and Daniel Kang Lee Roberts.
Peter LaPrade as Joseph and Amma Osei as Narrator truly carried the show with their talent and storytelling ability. Laprade truly portrayed a lovable leader; "Close Every Door" silencing the theatre and bringing the story to life, personally making me think of the world condition today. Amma Osei took the spotlight every time she stepped foot onstage with her powerful voice and nurturing character. Alongside the two was Mark Megill playing Jacob with his own take on the character, a perfectly portrayed Jacob at that. Another notable moment was that of Josh Canfield as Pharoah with the number "Song of the King"; Canfield did an excellent job playing the likable jerk with this goofy Elvis-inspired song racking in chuckles and smiles in the theater.
Although I do name specific performers in this piece, I deeply believe the entire cast should be credited with their lovely stage presence and energy brought to this production. I noticed each and every actor in the ensemble carrying an energy and light in them that made the production bring life to the theater. With that said, this musical is one that you will not want to miss. A note from director/choreographer Matthew Steffens says, "I hope that our JOSEPH reminds you of the dreams that you have an encourages you to CONTINUE TO DREAM." After watching this performance I can assure you, you will walk out feeling inspired.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will have three more performances at Axelrod Performing Arts Center located at 100 Grant Avenue, Deal Park, NJ 07723. Shows are Wednesday 7/24 at 8pm; Thursday, 8/25 at 8pm; and Sunday, 7/28 at 3PM. For tickets and to learn about special programs and offers, visit their web site at axelrodartscenter.com or call the Box Office at 732-531-9106.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Axelrod PAC