JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT – Music by Andrew Lloyd Weber; Lyrics by Tim Rice; Directed and Choreographed by Bryan Bell; Music Directed Janice Vlachos. Produced by Candlelight Dinner Theatre (4747 Marketplace Drive, Johnstown) through January 28. Tickets available at 970-744-3747 or ColoradoCandlelight.com.
Once again, how nice to visit our old friend Joseph on his trek through Israel and Egypt to make “Any Dream” come true. As with any show of which you are fond, as each new song begins, your face lights up with the memory of this melody – these words. My enjoyment was even more fun as I was accompanied on this night at Candlelight by someone who had done the show four times in not only America, but also in England and South Africa. His pleasure at remembering old songs was even more fun to watch.
And while this script is not geared to the holidays, it seemed oddly appropriate with its message of forgiveness and family. For those of you not familiar with the Bible story, Joseph was the favored son of Jacob, which made his 11 other brothers Jealous. They sold Joseph to a traveling band of merchants who took him into Egypt where he ended up in prison. No run-of-the-mill peasant, Joseph had the gift of interpreting dreams. He did so for a member of the Pharoah’s staff which got back to the man himself and ended up with Joseph giving him a reading. When it proved accurate, he was given a high post in the kingdom which, in turn, allowed him to confront his brothers when they came to beg for food. After giving them a hard time when they didn’t recognize him, he revealed himself and forgave them. Happy ending!! Where’s the girl and the riding-off-into-the sunset? No girl – No sunset. Just family back together.
What a family they have become! The ensemble of men gathered for this production feature some truly amazing dancers performing a variety of styles all choregraphed by Bryan Bell and his assistant, Matthew Dailey – who just happened to be there and stepped in for an absent dancer that night. The brothers who are featured in songs – Levi (Chad Lederer) bemoans the supposed death of his brother in “One More Angel in Heaven”; Reuben (Ethan Knowles) long for the good ol “Canaan Days” when they had food and prosperity (accompanied by Apache dancers Cory Michael Klements and Jessie Mays Hobson); and Judah (Elton Tanega who is popping up in lead roles all over town these days) did a great job on the “Benjamin Calypso” as he tries to convince Joseph that Benjamin didn’t steal anything from him – are all extraordinary in their energy and joy of performance. The dance ensemble is tasked with perfecting Western and Broadway style choreography in addition to the Apache and Calypso already mentioned. And then do it all over again in double-time for the 14-minute curtain call that speeds through the whole show.
The story is told by the Narrator who leads Joseph and the audience along this journey through song and action. The part is double cast; the night I saw the show, the Narrator was sung by Sarah Forman, a member of the company at Candlelight. On alternate nights, it is sung by Jayln Webb, well known to all Candlelight regulars as talented and charismatic on stage.
If you can get tickets, this is a great show to take your kids to as it is funny, all music, and very active. Nothing boring is going on here!! Your holiday out-of-town guests will be impressed with the Broadway quality productions they do at Candlelight. We’re not just a cow town anymore!
A WOW factor of 8.75!!