BWW Review: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at Quincy Music Theatre
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" has as many different musical styles as there are colors in the coat, and Elvis is in the building too.
Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics) created the musical comedy "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" based on the story about Joseph and his multicolored coat in the Biblical book of Genesis. Joseph, as the youngest of 12 brothers, was his father's favorite.
It debuted in 1972 at the Edinburgh International Festival after being introduced as a concept album in 1969 and went on to be performed in more than 20,000 amateur theater groups and schools. Donny Osmond starred as Joseph in a touring version of the show from 1992-98, racking up almost 2,000 performances. This performance was put on by Quincy Music Theatre.
Being the favorite is a mixed bag for Joseph (PJ Wilford), as his brothers aren't pleased to have father Jacob's (David Hearn) attention so focused on him. Joseph's dreams are as vivid as his coat, and his brothers react to the dreams' hint that Joseph is destined for greater things by shuttling him off to Egypt as a slave.
Joseph endures highs and lows during his time as a slave. When he comes closest to despair, his fellow incarcerated people encourage him to press on ("Go, Go, Go Joseph").
This show was sewn together by the personality and vocal skills of the Narrator (Sarah Ondocsin). The Narrator leads the show's children onto the stage and sets the tone as Joseph begins singing "Any Dream Will Do." She transitions from the nurturing role with the children into various others, becoming more coquettish as the show ranges through various genres.
Joseph's 11 brothers are giddy about having rid themselves of the problem of their father's favorite, and the One More Angel/Hoedown scene is rollicking with their joy and relief as they pull out cowboy hats and their "fors" turn into "fers," as in "But Joseph the things that you stood for(fer)." This cast turns on a dime, however, when Jacob enters the room, and their "grief" is immediate and convincing.
The "Benjamin Calypso/Joseph All the Time" scene brings a bit of calypso and reggae vibe to the argument that Benjamin has been wrongly accused. Judah (Benjamin Britton) brings whimsy and joy to the stage, as the Narrator dons sunglasses and tropical flowers along with a fun cocktail.
As Joseph works his way through his Egyptian incarceration and his father and brothers decide what their course of action will be, the show ranges through the fanciful Potiphar (Katherine Sullivan) scene, with sophisticated wardrobe (black dresses for the women, more formal attire for the men) to the Pharoah's (David Hearn) Elvis-like stylings.
The children of the show deserve mention; what Bible story doesn't aim to educate or inspire a young audience? The 12 children are integral to the tone of the show and provide a constant backdrop to the various musical and wardrobe theme changes.
The props used in this show were amusing and creative. The "golden chariot" captured audience members' imagination, as did the "corn" that was part of the story of Egypt's travails. Also, the camel is endearing.
Egypt may have been a place full of culture, but this play uses some distinctly nonEgyptian twists to tell Joseph's stories. Besides the calypso, berets are donned for "Those Canaan Days" and Charleston stylings for "Potiphar," and more. The children stay dressed simply in jeans and bright Tshirts as the rest of the cast cycles through outfits to match the mood of each number. The brothers' wives and ensemble also play an integral role in this story, especially noticeable when Joseph is first taken to Egypt and at other times when a transition in the story is taking place.
Audience members should keep their eyes open for distinctly 2019 touches. Every cast needs a group photo, and the one taken as part of this production does not disappoint.
"This is a story of a boy whose dream came true," sings Joseph at the beginning. The coat, the dynamic performers and the power of dreams contribute to a multicolor, melodious show.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is directed by Keith Meccia with choreography by Jacob Arnett, music direction by Bradley Gay and stage management by Ashlyn Anderson.
For more information, visit the Quincy Music Theatre website.