Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

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entire contents copyright 2009 by Tony Annicone

"Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Norton Singers fall show is the biblical story of Jacob and his sons in the musical version, "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". It was written in 1968 by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice as a 15 minute cantata, this now 2 hour show is high energy from start to finish. The storyline is told by two narrators who interact with their fellow performers and sings to and acts with the children at various times in the show. Joseph has prophetic dreams and is the most loved son of his doting father, Jacob, who gives him the coat of many colors. His 11 brothers become jealous of his prophecies and his splendid coat that they sell him into slavery in Egypt. There Joseph rises from house slave to become Pharoah's second in command because of his gift for interpreting dreams. The 27 performers plus 12 children under the direction and with choreography of Judee Bottomley and musical direction of Tony Torelli, have all the necessary ingredients to make this show a charming show for the fall season.

Judee takes this story and creates many magnificent picture postcard moments throughout the show. She updates it to present day and has the cast meet at The Downtown Cafe and Inn, the groups favorite restaurant in town and after "Any Dream Will Do" by Joseph and the children, she brings the show back to Biblical times where she combines shtick and pathos to deliver a well rounded show for the audiences to enjoy. Judee has a good eye for detail and this wonderful show is a prime example of it. Since this soft rock musical is entirely sung the music is of prime importance in this show. Music director Anthony Torelli conducts his 6 piece orchestra as well as having taught the cast these songs with the harmonies soaring within them. Judee creates and uses a variety of dance styles including a hoe down, tango, the limbo, the swim, conga line and the rock and roll dances of the 1950's.

The storyline is told by the two narrators. Judee casts Giliana Austin and Christyn Hobbs in this role. They weave their way in and out of each of the numbers with the rest of the cast. Their voices soar in all their numbers including the Prologue, "Jacob and Sons", "Poor Poor Joseph" and "Go Go Joseph". Their multitalented partner is Brian Gustafson as Joseph. He has a fabulous tenor voice whether he is singing softly in "Any Dream Will Do" or with deep feeling in "Close Every Door" where his voice soars off the charts sending chills up your spine with its poignancy. His interactions with his brothers and all the other characters are wonderfully handled as well as his warm touching relationship with Jacob and a funny song and dance with the Pharoah. Brian gives a tour-de-force performance in this role. Bravo!

The other 11 brothers have oodles of talent and they also shine in their singing and dancing scenes. The standout solos include the country western song "One More Angel" sung sadly to Jacob and then with wild abandon by Jeremy Hopkins in his lilting tenor voice while the sorrowful obligato is sung by Melissa Franklin in her soprano voice, (the hoe-down has scene stealer Elaine Sheiber wearing cowboy boots kicking up her heels while her husband Buddy plays the part of Jacob) the "Benjamin Calypso" is sung by another powerful tenor Dan Gravely, and Pete Molitor sing lead in the French type song "Those Canaan Days". The other talented brothers include Don Powere, Paul Bono Bob Molitor, Ty Waterman, Ted Koban who also plays Potiphar, Peter Turner, John Marcus and Kyle Blanchett.. Another stunning performer is Kevin Mischley as the Pharoah who sings the Elvis spoof song "The Pharoah's Dream". He has the chorus girls swooning at the proper moments. Kevin is clad in a black leather jacket and blue jeans which adds to the humor of the number. Potiphar's seductive and slutty wife is played Louise Tetreault where she seduces Joseph and gets him thrown in prison. The talented children in this show sing and dance very well, too. Kudos to the hard working ladies chorus. So go, go and see "Joseph" at Norton Singers to lift your spirits during the autumn season in MA.

"Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (13 - 15 November)
Norton Middle School, 215 West Main Street, NORTON MA
1 (508) 285-4049

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide