Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Dallas Theater Center's current production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (JATD) is nothing short of delightful. The show has musical theater perfection written all over it to start with. But with DTC's talent and staging, it more than fulfills its promise.
If you're not familiar with it, 'JATD' is based on the Biblical story of, who else, Joseph. His father favors him over his other eleven sons. One day he gives him a dazzling coat of many colors. This puts the brothers over the edge with jealousy. So they sell him into slavery in Egypt and tell their father that Joseph is dead.
Long story short, Joseph rises to power in Egypt because of his ability to interpret dreams and when famine nearly kills all of his brothers, they come crawling back to Joseph. You see, the Egyptians still have food because of Joseph's planning based upon his dreams foretelling famine. Joseph, of course, takes pity on his brothers, gives them food and the family is whole again.
Not to worry; the musical version is far more upbeat, for the most part any way. DTC frames their version with children in school uniforms visiting a museum where they see a great book, inside is the story of Joseph. A narrator then appears and the story unfolds on-stage with the fourth wall broken and not to be repaired.
That generally is a concern for me. But with Liz Mikel in the narrator role, there is never a cause for worry. Her voice makes you not care about the frame or the story or anything else for that matter. She is as fantastic as ever to watch in this show and this role allows her maximum on-stage time.
Chamblee Ferguson, who plays Jacob, Potiphar, and the Pharaoh, is stellar as always. Without spoiling it for anyone, suffice it to say that he does old Jewish men, British rock stars, and the King proud. Ferguson could easily carry any show all by his lonesome.
Other standouts in the show include Sydney James Harcourt as Joseph. Man, what a voice. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to hear him croon all night long. And his stage presence was just the right balance between commanding and humble.
Kent Zimmerman, the Associate choreographer as well as Simeon, is also an ensemble member that is impossible to take your eyes off of when he dances. And little Liam Taylor, who plays Benjamin as well as an ensemble member, has the sweetest voice. I think the company members at DTC better watch their backs.
This production is like an explosion of joy. It is big and bright and it's nearly impossible to resist clapping and toe-tapping -- let alone singing -- along. 'JATD' has all the goods from the get-go: great story, fun music that runs that gamut genre wise, and interesting characters.
But DTC's production of it makes it all the better, even making the story as relevant today as it was when written both as a Biblical story and as a musical. The sets were simple but clever with moving pieces that served as one thing and another. They even pulled off a swimming pool made of little more than a piece of blue fabric.
Sometimes the theater makes you think. Other times it makes you cry. If you're in the mood for a big helping of happy, this production of 'JATD' will definitely do the trick.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" runs through August 12 at the Dallas Theater Center, 2400 Flora Street in Dallas. For info or tickets call 214-880-0202 or visit http://www.dallastheatercenter.org/