Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Phoenix

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Hale Centre Theatre
Review by Gil Benbrook | Season Schedule

Also see Gil's reviews of West Side Story, Leaving Iowa, The Brockway Experience, and Shrek

Matt Krantz (center), Alanna Kalbfleisch (far left)
and Cast

Photo by Nick Woodward-Shaw / Hale Centre Theatre
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, one of the first collaborations between composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, is receiving an energetic, crowd-pleasing production from Hale Centre Theatre.

The family-friendly musical is based on the Old Testament story of Joseph, a dreamer who has a beautiful coat his father Jacob gave him which makes his eleven brothers jealous. Since Joseph is Jacob's favorite son, the brothers decide to sell Jacob to not only get rid of him but also as a way to hopefully not make his dream of ruling over them come true. Joseph finds himself a slave in Potiphar's house and also falsely imprisoned but can his ability to interpret dreams help him out of his bind, and will his brothers learn a lesson from what they've done to their brother?

The plot may be fairly predictable and simple, with minimal character development, but the show is a lot of fun with an infectious score that features a wide range of musical styles from pop to country and even calypso. There are also two very superb ballads, "Close Every Door" and "Any Dream Will Do," that are exceptional in how Rice's concise lyrics perfectly fit with Lloyd Webber's memorable music to expertly portray both Joseph's plight and the musical's hopeful conclusion. The show also creatively includes a Narrator who comments and even participates in the story, and the musical's lessons about jealousy and forgiveness are ones that anyone can relate to.

Hale's cast is led by Matt Krantz as Joseph and Alanna Kalbfleisch as the Narrator. They are on stage for almost the entire show and both deliver performances full of charm and excitement along with stellar vocals. Krantz's soaring performances of his solo songs, especially "Close Every Door," are especially moving, while Kalbfleisch's rich, warm tones are simply ravishing.

In the supporting cast there are several performers who deliver superb solos. Stephen Serna is the Elvis-loving Pharaoh whom Joseph helps, and he has a blast in the part, while Titus Kautz, Nicholas Hambruch, and Aaron Ford as Joseph's brothers Simeon, Levi and Judah, respectively, make the most of their solo songs. Also, Mark Kleinman brings plenty of heart to the role of Joseph's father Jacob, and Nathan Spector and Jeremy Cruz get moments to shine as the Butler and Baker Joseph meets in jail, as well as two of Joseph's brothers. There isn't a weak link in the cast.

The entire ensemble delivers high energy performances in a non-stop parade of constantly changing colorful costumes, expertly coordinated by Mary Atkinson, while delivering spirited, fun, and constantly varied choreography from Cambrian James. James also directed the show and his staging adds a good sense of connection between the performers and the audience that greatly helps project the musical's message about the importance of family and forgiveness. Brian Daily's set and Jeff A. Davis' lighting provide an abundance of rich, warm and bright colors. Daily's two-dimensional wall hangings that evoke sunny scenes of Egypt are excellent. Lincoln Wright's musical direction achieves stellar sounds from the entire cast.

Full of infectious melodies and an abundance of charm, Hale's excellent cast, superb choreography, humorous yet heartfelt direction, and stellar creative elements help to overcome most of the shortcomings of this piece, providing a funny, spirited, and exceptionally winning production of the beloved musical.

The Hale Centre Theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat runs through October 7th, 2017, with performances at 50 W. Page Avenue in Gilbert. Tickets can be ordered at or by calling (480) 497-1181

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Directed and Choreographed by Cambrian James
Music Director: Lincoln Wright
Set Technical Director: Brian Daily
Costume Coordinator: Mary Atkinson
Lighting Designer: Jeff A. Davis
Wigs & Make-Up: Cambrian James
Props: McKenna Carpenter & Monica Christiansen
Sound Design/Stage Manager: Justin Peterson

Joseph: Matt Krantz
Narrator: Alanna Kalbfleisch
Jacob/Potiphar: Mark Kleinman
Pharaoh: Stephen Serna
Butler/Reuban: Nathan Spector
Simeon: Titus Kautz
Levi: Nicholas Hambruch
Judah: Aaron Ford
Naphtali: Michael Schwenke
Issacher: Jeremy Rowley
Asher: Zack Pepe
Dan: Nick Williams
Zebulun: Anson Romney
Baker/Gad: Jeremy Cruz
Benjamin: Brandon Brown
Brother's Wife: Jasmine Bassham
Brother's Wife: Annalise Decker
Brother's Wife: Ashley Harkey
Brother's Wife: Anne-Lise Koyabe
Brother's Wife: Phoebe Koyabe
Brother's Wife: Tiana Marks
Brother's Wife: Helen Porter
Brother's/Potiphar's Wife: Audrey Sullivan
Brother's Wife: Corinne Tachuk
Brother's Wife: Emily Woodward-Shaw
Brother's Wife: Vicky Yao