Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
New Dollar Entertainment, LLC. presents Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Coral Springs Center For The Arts. This much loved musical features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, in one of their first collaborations. The pair would go on to write Jesus Christ, Superstar and Evita together before continuing their careers separately.
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat originally premiered as a 30-minute rock cantata in 1968 before being reshaped and professionally staged as a musical in 1972. It opened at the Royale Theatre on Broadway in 1982, starring Laurie Beechman as the Narrator. The musical received eight Tony Award nominations and went on to play for 747 performances. It was revived on Broadway in 1993 at the Minskoff Theatre for an additional 231 performances. A London revival also mounted in 1993 starred Jason Donovan, and later Donny Osmond as Joseph. Osmond's performance of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was filmed and released on DVD.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has received three Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Oscar, an International Emmy, a Golden Globe Award, six Olivier Awards, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. His works include thirteen musicals, two film scores, one song cycle, a set of variations, and a Latin Requiem Mass. Tim Rice went on to write the lyrics for the musical Chess and The Lion King (with Elton John's music). He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award in 1993 for the song "A Whole New World" from the film Aladdin.
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a retelling of the Old Testament story of Jacob and his twelve sons. Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. They deceive their father into believing Joseph is dead. Far away in Egypt, Joseph is thrown into jail after the Potiphar misunderstands his servant Joseph's intentions toward the Potiphar's wife. In time Joseph's ability to foretell the future through interpreting dreams finds him in good favor with the Pharaoh. He is released from prison to become one of the highest ranking officials of Egypt. Years later, his now destitute brothers come to Egypt to ask the help of this official not knowing his true identity. He reveals himself only after testing their loyalty to one another after falsely accusing one of them of theft. Jacob and all of his sons are happily reunited at the end of the story.
The musical begins with the Narrator presenting the story from a book. The tale is woven in a lighthearted manor, with intentionally eclectic musical styles featured throughout. There is country in "One More Angel In Heaven", '50s pop in "Go, Go, Go Joseph" and calypso in "Benjamin Calypso." An Elvis-like Pharaoh sings "Song of The King", and a very French "Those Canaan Days" features a Maurice Chevalier sounding soloist and an Apache dancer. The musical lends itself to creative choreography, clever costumes and sets filled with as much spectacle the budget will allow.
New Dollar Entertainment's tour of this production hits the mark with its high energy dancing, colorful costumes and special effects. The music is well sung, though the instrumentation suffers mildly from a synthesized sound. Clarissa Grace infuses the character of the Narrator with a lovely womanly quality. She adds a feminine energy inherently missing in the script, and a lightly maternal feel to her relationship to Joseph and his story. Adam Ryan Tackett is a handsome and heartfelt Joseph with a fine voice. His youthful exuberance, however, leads to moments of over-acting. Every angst-filled moment in song seems to have its own choreographed gesture, and every single high note a grand arm motion. This is truly an ensemble show, with most cast members featured in cameos. The ensemble throughout the show is solid, whether featured or singing/dancing as a chorus. Director Dallet Norris has also created nice moments between Joseph and the Narrator at the beginning and end of the show just long enough to establish a tenderness toward each other and the tale at hand.
The song at the end of the show, "Any Dream Will Do," becomes a launching pad for a finale of epic proportions entitled "Joseph Megamix." With the musical feel of a contemporary dance club, the cast does mini-reprises of the show's songs while performing full out acrobatics and dance moves from modern ballet to hip-hop. All of this ends just in time to see a stage edged with fog, and beams of lights reflecting off of the mirrored-surfaces of Joseph's fabled coat. It is an ending deservedly greeted by the audience with a standing ovation.
This production of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat appeared at the Coral Springs Center For The Arts on January 20, 2007. The Coral Springs Center For The Arts is located at 2855 Coral Springs Dr. in Coral Springs, FL. For information on their shows and classes you may reach them on the web at www.coralspringscenterforthearts.com.
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