Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler. The lyrics were by Tim Rice and the music was by--guess!--Andrew Lloyd Webber, as most musicals are. It was based on the story of Joseph (Ace Young) from the Bible and it is about his "coat of many colors" and how his brothers pretended to kill him and they wanted to actually kill him. It is also about basically his trip to Egypt and then he has to go to jail and he tells about the dreams people are having. Some of them are having good dreams and some of them are having bad, and Joseph told them all--even the Pharaoh (Ryan Williams)--what was going to happen to them. I think this is a great show and the songs were amazing!

I loved the song, "Go, Go, Go Joseph." It was definitely in my head for the rest of the day, and even longer, but in a good way. I thought that Joseph and the Narrator (Diana DeGarmo) even just singing "ahead of my time," that one line was amazing. I also really liked the dance number that went with it, especially how he was in jail and it was like they were encouraging him while he was there. I also liked that they were singing all together and they had basically their own Joseph outfits; everybody was dressed in white except the narrator. The song was in there because they wanted to encourage Joseph to go and be optimistic.

I really liked, "Those Canaan Days," which I call "The French Song" because some of it was spoken in French and they also had a backdrop that was covered in baguettes. And whenever Simeon (Paul Castree) said Joseph, his father Jacob (William Thomas Evans) started crying, so then even when Simeon would say, "Ever since we lost…" without the word Joseph in it, you would still hear the father go "waah!" I thought that that was pretty funny. I'm even laughing right now. At the moment you are reading this, I might still be laughing, and I probably will be.

The Pharaoh, also known as Elvis Presley, I thought was hilarious. I loved it how all the girls would come up in their Pharaoh hats and faint whenever he did a move. I also really liked how the Pharaoh and Joseph had basically a "who's sexier?" contest. Joseph actually won because he did a hip circle instead of just a hip bump. They also had a handshake that they did with each other. I think that made Joseph feel more at home with the Pharaoh because he had had a special handshake with his father too. The one with his father was basically just a chest bump and his with the Pharaoh was basically a bunch of hip rolling. At the end, the Narrator and Joseph had just bowed, and then the Pharaoh came on and did a few hip circles and the Narrator fainted. I though that was comedy gold.

I thought that the projections (by Daniel Brodie) were mostly a.w.e.s.o.m.e. One of my favorites was when all the girls in very flow-y cloaks held hands and made projections of animals running and what it looks like to be in a car on their cloaks. I thought that some of the projections looked like they were just there, and they kind of looked like plain old projections and not used in a creative way. But I did really like at the end when they pulled down the screen behind Joseph and attached it to his coat and then he had an coat that stretched throughout the entire stage. They were projecting on the screen and that made it look like his coat was very long.

People who would like this show are people who like awesome projections, amazing dances, and Elvis Presley becoming a Pharaoh. It was a toe-tapper; I was actually literally tapping my toes. I think this is good for kids and adults. I saw many kids there, and I had a great time. It is a good one to go to with your friends; I went with my friend Heather and she had a great time too!

Photos: Daniel Brodie & Daniel A. Swalec


Unknown said...


Thank you so much for your kind, intelligent and well-spoken review. My name is Daniel and I am the video and projection designer for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I think you have a terrific blog and I'm excited to read more of it.

I agree with you when you say that some of the projections aren't as exciting as the others; you're not wrong. Some of the projections do feel stagnant and flat compared to the more vibrant animations. As a video and projection designer, I have to work hard to keep the show balanced and theatrical, and also giving the rest of the design team as well as the actors their fare share of stage time and attention. Sometimes I have to pull back a little in order to make the next moment exciting. I had a great teacher who called this idea "salt in the sugar," meaning that it can be a good thing to have design ideas that rise and fall and contrast against each other.

I hope you keep reviewing shows and I sincerely hope you come to my next two shows in Chicago, which are coming very soon; Motown: the Musical and Andrew Lloyd Weber's The Wizard of Oz. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Ada & Mom said...

Hi, it's Ada. Thanks for your comment. I now understand much better why the smaller and flatter projections were there. Now when I see Motown, I'll know more about your ideas!