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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Joseph “Soars” in New Production from StageOne Family Theatre

Kyle Braun in Joseph and The Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat
. Photo courtesy of
StageOne Family Theatre.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Lyrics by Tim Rice, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Directed by Megan Bliss

Reviewed by Craig Nolan Highley

Entire contents are copyright © 2012, Craig Nolan Highley.  All rights reserved.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s earliest and most popular musicals. It’s arguably the best of his collaborations with Tim Rice, and it’s definitely his most diverse score. A raucous mix of rock, country/western, calypso and various other styles, it is infectiously upbeat in its telling of a rather dark Biblical tale.

StageOne’s current production takes that upbeat vibe and soars with it, and it’s one of the best local theater productions I have seen all year. Everything about the show dazzles, from Shana Lincoln’s clever and colorful costume designs and Duper Berry’s impressive sets to lighting and sound designs by Theresa Bagan and Robert Dagit. Director/choreographer Megan Bliss keeps the extraordinarily talented cast moving at a brisk pace from one musical number to the next and has coaxed some really remarkable performances from the ensemble.

For the two or three of you who don’t know the story, Joseph tells of Jacob, founder of the Nation of Israel, and his twelve sons. His favorite son, Joseph, runs afoul of his brothers’ jealousy and winds up a slave in Egypt, climbing up the pecking order until he ends up second in command to the mighty Pharaoh. It’s actually a rather dark tale, full of characters that do some really horrible things; but you’d never know it from the consistently happy tone of the music.

Kyle Braun gives what may be his best performance yet in the title role, carrying the character from his rather doe-eyed and naïve beginnings through to his triumph as the second most powerful man in Egypt with a natural ease that keeps you rooting for him. As Pharaoh, Mason Stewart does a credible hip-twitching Elvis impersonation while still making the role his own. And John Trueblood, in the dual role of Jacob and Potiphar (Joseph’s Egyptian master), is quite good, even if it was difficult to separate the two characters in my head because he has such a distinctive voice and appearance.

My only real criticism of this production is that I would have liked to see Sarah Ann Koster given more to do in the role of the Narrator. She is quite lovely with a beautiful voice and she serves the role well; but I’ve seen other productions where the Narrator interacts a great deal with the other characters. Ms. Koster only gets to do that a few times here, and it just feels like a missed opportunity to me.

The cast is supplemented by four different children’s choruses on alternating nights, and there are far too many names to list here.  On the Saturday night performance I attended they sounded wonderful. Solid work all around by musical director Jason Seber.

This is, all and all, a fantastic production of one of my favorite musicals. Worth a look for fans of musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the Good Book!

Featuring Jordan Adams, Clayton Bliss, Tyler Bliss, Trevor Boley, Kyle Braun, Dallyn Brunck, T’Era Coleman, Denzel Edmondson, Debbie Hill, Dimetre Jackson, Billy Jenkins, Duane Johnson, Tyler Johnson-Campion, Rachel Hafell, Corey Hardin, Tricia Jackson, Sarah Ann Koster, Lamont O’Neal, Shelby Putlak, Adam Raque, Haylie Rebilas, Kevin Renn, Bailey Rose, LaRosa Shelton, Robbie Steinert, Mason Stewart, Kendrick Thielmeier, John Trueblood, Quinn Wise, Greg Wood, Cassaundra Young.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

June 8-10, 12-17 @ 7:00 p.m.
Matinees: June 10 & 16 @ 1:30 p.m.

StageOne Family Theatre
The Kentucky Center, Bomhard Theater
501 West Main St.
Louisville, KY
502-584-7777

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