REVIEW: Go see Academy of the Company Theatre’s heartwarming, moving, and family-friendly ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
The one thing more magnificent then Joseph’s dream coat is the tale behind it. An interactive, endearing, and humorous production, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been entertaining audiences for over 50 years with its exuberant story and its versatile and brilliant music by the Academy Award-winning team of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Joseph’s music offers a wide spectrum of music genres for any taste from calypso to rock and roll which accompanies the unique retelling of a sacred tale of treachery and unceasing hope.
A tale so wonderful that it needs three narrators, Academy of the Company Theatre (ACT) presents Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wondrous and family-friendly musical comedy Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat continuing at the Company Theatre in Norwell, MA through Sunday, May 1. The production is almost sold out. Click here for more information, tickets, and for classes that ACT has to offer.
Based on the Book of Genesis and set in the land of Canaan and Egypt, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat explores the incredible journey of Joseph and his brothers as Joseph struggles to discover his destiny. It is very much a collaborative, ensemble piece featuring three engaging narrators portrayed by Gilbert Dabady last seen in ACT’s Les Miserables, Cate Healey, and Elizabeth Nunnery as they share Joseph’s tale not only with the audience, but with the surrounding and energetic young cast gathered onstage. Dabady, Healey, and Nunnery all have powerful and very different voices that complement each other throughout the performance.
With a sweet smile and unassuming demeanor, Tim Bevens portrays humble, yet forthright dreamer Joseph with instant likability from his first opening number, a warm and melodious rendition of Any Dream Will Do. Bevens delivers a compelling performance as a naïve outsider, his versatile vocal range effortless for the soothing Any Dream Will Do to stirring Close Every Door, his tone heart rendering and sympathetic.
Wearing a white beard, Jacob Yates takes on the mostly silent role of Jacob, Joseph’s devoted father. Yates makes the most out of this role with an amusing walk and some physical humor. Led by Charlie Flaherty’s standout portrayal as Joseph’s smirking and sneaky brother Reuben, One More Angel in Heaven depicts the united camaraderie not only by Joseph’s eleven brothers, but from the cast, all in on a little secret. Another excellent number that depicts the brothers’ united front is delivered by Ben Cavallo-Smith as Judah and his brothers for Roland Schulz as Benjamin, a catchy, amusing song called Benjamin Calypso.
Combining blue, glitter, and gold into dazzling Egyptian attire, Sal Garcia, who was last seen as Jean Val Jean in ACT’s Les Miserables, makes a grand entrance in suave sunglasses and a bouffant hairstyle as Pharaoh, complete with shimmering gold sneakers. Garcia shows off his comedic talent and charisma in the show stopping number Song of the King, combining the essence and high energy of a certain king not to be revealed here and Jack Black. It is fun to watch Garcia in a role where he can let loose.
The transformative lighting by Dean Palmer Jr. ranges from a lone spotlight to doubling for the hot, desert sun to flashing, multicolored spotlights for Go Go Go Joseph to the warm candlelight and modest staging of Close Every Door. Though most of the sets are colorful and fun, there is something special about the translucent, simple staging for Close every Door by candlelight, letting Tim Bevens’s poignant rendition speak for itself without distractions.
Among the vibrant and bold costumes by John Crampton and Alison Gordon is the famous coat in yellow and green and ochre… Joseph’s magnificent, flowing, and sparkling coat is a head turner decked out in multi-colored stars on the back. The cast wearing sunglasses, an unusual camel, and cute Egyptian “beetles” among the crowd on a unconventional journey to Egypt are just a few of the subtle, cheerful touches added to this lighthearted production that certainly has its share of stirring and difficult moments, but with far more uplifting and spirited ones, it’s difficult to feel down for long.
Directed by Zoe Bradford with lively choreography by Sally Ashton Forrest and musically directed by Melissa Carubia, Academy of the Company Theatre (ACT) presents Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wondrous and family-friendly musical comedy Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat continuing at the Company Theatre in Norwell, MA through Sunday, May 1. The production is almost sold out. Click here for more information and for tickets.