The Inner Light Theatre’s production…amateur? If the Playbill says so, but there’s a shooting star or two in that there production. You want to miss that? I don’t think so. OK, so you’ve seen this show before…I did, too. More than once. However, this one is different. Chris Laning, the director, has the performers connect with the audience making them feel special and part of the action. Smart, since we’re sitting stage level and close.
Just in case you didn’t know, JOSEPH…was the first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. By 1982 it was on Broadway! This musical is based on the biblical story of Joseph (in the Book of Genesis). It is performed completely in song with even the narrator(s) singing. In this production, there were four of them. Great idea! To the show’s credit, many of the songs are memorable with catchy tunes. Any Dream Will Do…One More Angel in Heaven…Close Every Door…Those Canaan Days (James Hucha…Holy Toledo!)…Benjamin Calypso…
Here’s the story in a nutty shell: Joseph’s father, Jacob, gives him a coat of many colors… his eleven brothers are so jealous of him that they make him disappear by selling him into slavery…poor guy ends up in Egypt under Pharoah’s rule… (you ain’t seen nothin’ till you’ve heard Potiphar, the Pharoah, do an Elvis impersonation in song that is beyond outstanding… this alone is worth the price of admission)… there’s a Mrs. Potiphar who is hot for Joseph and doesn’t hide her interest in him… Mr. Pharaoh is not a happy camper… he throws Joseph in prison where he becomes known for his uncanny skill for interepreting dreams and predicting the future… seven years of feast followed by seven years of famine… now Joseph is a huge hit and becomes Vice-Pharaoh of the land… those jerky brothers get wind of all this (they must have smelled the charcoals burning), come begging for food… they don’t know that it’s Joseph in charge… Joseph tricks them, reveals himself, is re-united with his dad and his dopey brothers… everyone is happy again! Whew!
Now, this is one lively, humorous, delightful and charming show. A little bit of pop, a little bit of country, some calypso and some rock. The little kids are adorable! There are a couple of sweet surprises which I will not reveal.
I had one problem with the show… Joseph is played by a girl and no matter how hard I tried, I had trouble with that. She also had beautiful long hair and I think I would have pinned it up to at least give an illusion of her playing a young man. Also, the higher the girls sang, the harder it was to understand their words. Maybe down a notch or three?
Most important, this is a kid-friendly show! Yahoo! Bring ‘em on! Family Night of FUN! A super message in the show for all of us… any dream will do!
Incidentally, afterwards, my guest and I ate at a restaurant down the street called Ali Baba… Middle Eastern food… very inexpensive… simply dee-lish! I highly recommend the lamb sandwich. Tell them I sent you…
Until the next show…
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
Directed by Chris Laning
June 17-26, 2011
Inner Light Theatre
Newark United Methodist Church