I’ve seen many a musical over the years and one of my favorites is “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
No, it doesn’t have the epic sweep of “Le Miz” or the classic soundtrack of “Sound of Music” or the powerful emotional story of “Rent.” Sure, it was written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, but before they became Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It’s a simple show that simply oozes joy and fun. Which is odd given the subject matter. The story of Joseph, as told in the book of Genesis, has the lead character almost killed by jealous brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, sent to rot in prison only to be raised up as Pharaoh’s number 2 thanks to his skill at dream analysis.
It’s a fairly dark story for the most part but Rice and Webber turned it into a family friendly romp that mixes a variety of musical styles into songs that may not be all that famous but are very entertaining.
The other great thing about “Joseph” is that it’s short. Clocking in at two hours — including intermission and a megamix finale — “Joseph” may have the shortest runtime of any musical in Broadway history. And that’s a good thing. Far too many musicals over stay their welcome and drag at times but there’s no wasted moments in “Joseph.”
It all adds up to a light-hearted show has gone on to be a favorite of high school drama teachers and theater groups large and small.
If you’d like to catch it in St. Louis, a touring version starring “American Idol” alums Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo is now playing at the Fox Theatre. It’s a delightful production with a talented cast of gifted singers. Young and DeGarmo have powerful voices and appear to be enjoying themselves on stage but they’re ultimately shown up by the brothers, who earn big applause for their show-stopping performance of “Those Canaan Days.”
What the show lacks in exciting set design is made up for with the clever use of video and lighting effects. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is an exuberant show that will make you laugh and smile and sing and still get you home at a decent hour.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” runs through May 11. http://www.fabulousfox.com/