REVIEW: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at Boulder’s Dinner Theater
by Michael Mulhern
In honor of their 40th anniversary, the BDT Stage is highlighting where it all began with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat playing now through August 19th. One of the most enduring shows of all time and the first collaboration of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the irresistible family musical about the trials and triumphs of Joseph, Israel’s favorite son.
Confession time – Joseph is probably my least favorite of all of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musicals. The story is dated, the music is repetitive and monotonous with themes that burrow into your brain like an earworm driving you humming to the brink of insanity. When I saw that Boulder’s Dinner Theatre was doing this show all i could muster was an eyeroll, but it was the intriguing personal history of this company remounting their inaugural production for their monumental anniversary that made me take the risk and attend; and I am so happy I did.
Tracy Warren was charismatic and articulate as the Narrator and took us on the journey with her dynamic presence. Jack Barton was wonderful in the title character of Joseph and had a gorgeous tenor voice that I could listen to all day. I love his rite of passage for his character from boyish innocence to compelling young man. The scene stealers of the night were Wayne Kennedy as Jacob and Potiphar; and Scott Severtson as Elvis Pharaoh whose comedic timing was on point and oh so hilarious! I also adored the addition of the very talented children (symbolizing the children/innocence of Israel); adding a youthful presence and childlike playfulness to the show. While the entire ensemble was superb in their singing and especially their choreography, it was the male brothers that were quite impressive. Their rich harmonies and over the top animated character’s were noticed and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone in the audience. Highlight numbers include Jacob and Sons, Potiphar, Close Every Door, GO Joseph, Poor Pharaoh/Song of the King, Those Canaan Days, and Any Dream Will Do
Matthew D. Peters did an outstanding job as both director and choreographer. The show flowed as seamless as waters of the Nile river and the staging was excellent; utilizing every inch of the theater. Along with music direction by Neal Dunfee, the casting was on point and those amazing voices were remarkable. In the middle of the intense choreography, I had an amusing thought – “This show is brought to you by the cast of Bring It On presents JOSEPH sponsored by Red Bull!!!” Matthew certainly did give those dancers a workout as choreographer and bought some much needed energetic vibrance to the musical. It was the talent of the cast, along with the dancing and illuminating set design (by designer Amy Campion) that revolutionized this musical as we know it. While enjoying my delicious dinner at BDT, I could not help but think that the stage looked like we were about to experience a concert from a major pop star than a musical with all high tech lighting that was surrounding the stage. Lighting designer Brett Maughan did a superb job of bringing light and life to this musical and the effects and surprises were absolutely amazing! Wayne Kennedy brought everything together with the sound and it was well balanced. I only wish that they had boosted the Narrator’s microphone a little bit more since she had most of the lines in the show and was crucial in guiding the plot. I applaud costume designer Linda Morken for her nod to ancient times while keeping the vast array of costumes up to date and fresh. Joseph’s electrifying coat of many colors was as stunning as his performance.
If “Any Dream Will Do” then this dusty musicals prayers have been answered by the energetic and enthusiastic update by the talents of Boulder’s Dinner Theater! Grab your family or a group of friends and Go, Go, Go, GO and see Joseph today! JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is illuminating audiences all summer long through August 19th. Tickets for Joseph are on sale now and include both the performance and dinner served by the stars of the show. Group rate tickets and season subscriptions are available for all performances throughout the year. Call (303) 449-6000 or visit www.bdtstage.com for reservations.