You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation.

With:
Cast: Sam Harris (Joseph), Kristine Fraelich (Narrator), John Ganun (Pharoah), Russell Leib (Jacob/Potiphar/Guru), Glenn Sneed (Butler), Paul J. Gallagher (Baker), Mindy Franzese (Mrs. Potiphar), Amy Splitt, Matt Zarley (Apache dancers).

Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation.

When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Jesus Christ, Superstar” became a massive success, the writers dusted off their old script and in 1973 subjected it to the first of several expansions.

Today, it’s still touring under the aegis of Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company, now advertised as being the work of “the composer of ‘Cats’ and ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ ”

Right. In the same way that “Grand Theft Auto” is “by the director of ‘Apollo 13.’ ” As amateurishly as “Joseph” is written — most of Rice’s lyrics are pure doggerel on the order of “it made the rest feel second-best”– the show has much charisma and considerable energy.

Both qualities are in ample supply in this production — enough so that most audience members are likely to be charmed by the show, no matter how shallow it might be on the printed page.

Likewise, fans of former “Star Search” champion Sam Harris will find plenty to like here, though he’s most effective when delivering a song as a belted cabaret number (as he does in the protracted encore segment); his enthusiastic surfer, constantly brushing his shoulder-length blonde locks from his face, is closer to Fabio or Kato Kaelin than to the biblical Joseph.

On the other hand, this lightweight Joseph doesn’t need to really suffer when sold into slavery by his brothers (jealous that Dad likes him best): The show is mainly a barrel of fun, despite its origin in the book of Genesis, and Harris is surrounded by plenty of talented actor-singers to convey distinct, flavorful character.

Lloyd Webber’s tunes range from mock-rock to faux-French cabaret, the most effective pastiche being the cartoon country weeper “One More Angel in Heaven,” sung by Reuben (Jim Ryan) and the rest of Joseph’s brothers.

The Pharaoh’s big number, delivered as an Elvis parody by John Ganun, would be even more effective if the song itself wasn’t so complicated, but the staging by director Steven Pimlott and choreographer Anthony van Laast and performance are top-notch.

Additional standout supporting performances are by Russell Leib as Potiphar, who buys Joseph as a slave, and Glenn Sneed as a butler who benefits from one of Joseph’s prophesies. The Narrator is a “supporting” performance by billing only; here, Kristine Fraelich is a real find, reminiscent of a younger Betty Buckley and a name to watch for in shows to come. The costumes cover as much territory as the music, mostly effective if not particularly flattering. The women are semi-nude in a couple of sequences (body stockings under pasties and g-strings, really) and Harris’ fans will find him in various stages of undress. But everybody looks best in the final, disco-styled encore –“Joseph Megamix”– where they wear white tights and tops.

The touring cast is augmented by two local children’s choral groups; the Intl. Peace Choir from Long Beach, and Universal City-based Rock Theatre. The multiethnic mass of kids — about 40 of ’em — combine to form an enchanting presence in their own right.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Pantages Theater, Hollywood; 2,700 seats; $ 57 top

Production: The Really Useful Company presents a musical in two acts with lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Director, Steven Pimlott; designer, Mark Thompson; choreographer, Anthony van Laast; musical supervision, Michael Reed; musical director/conductor, Janet Glazener Roma.

Creative: Lights, Andrew Bridge; sound design, Martin Levan; orchestration, John Cameron. Opened, reviewed Aug. 8, 1995 ; runs through Aug. 20. Running time: 2 hrs., 10 min.

Cast: Cast: Sam Harris (Joseph), Kristine Fraelich (Narrator), John Ganun (Pharoah), Russell Leib (Jacob/Potiphar/Guru), Glenn Sneed (Butler), Paul J. Gallagher (Baker), Mindy Franzese (Mrs. Potiphar), Amy Splitt, Matt Zarley (Apache dancers).With: Rufus Bonds Jr., Kimberly Breault, Angel Caban, Avon Chandler, Dani Davis, Danny Bolero, Jessica Hendy, Andi Hopkins, Kristin Howe, Danny Jacobsen, Michelle Kittrell, Kimberly Dawn Neumann, Adam Pelty, Jacquie Porter, Jim Ryan, Kevin R. Wright, Matt Zarley, the Intl. Peace Choir, Rock Theatre.

More Legit

  • Saint Joan review

    Broadway Review: 'Saint Joan' Starring Condola Rashad

    Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation. When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s […]

  • Branded Game Events, Escape Rooms Scale

    Immersive, Branded Game Content Scales Up With New Merger

    Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation. When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s […]

  • Tom Hollander

    Broadway Review: 'Travesties' Starring Tom Hollander

    Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation. When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s […]

  • Tony Awards 2018: Nick Scandalios to

    Tony Awards 2018: Nick Scandalios to Receive Isabelle Stevenson Award

    Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation. When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s […]

  • Chris Evans

    Chris Evans Talks 'Infinity War,' Broadway and His Future With Captain America

    Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation. When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s […]

  • Summer musical review

    Broadway Review: 'Summer,' The Donna Summer Musical

    Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation. When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s […]

  • Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater, Jason Robert

    Duncan Sheik, Steven Sater, Jason Robert Brown Set for 2018 Powerhouse Season

    Conceived in 1969 as a 20-minute oratorio to be presented in an English public school, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is now considerably longer and flashier. Still, as the touring production starring Sam Harris demonstrates, the show is in many ways best suited to an amateur presentation. When Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content