With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, now playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto, is based on the biblical story of Joseph. In case you are not familiar with the story, Joseph, who is one of 12 sons of Jacob, has prophetic dreams about ruling the land, which make his brothers jealous. His brothers unsuccessfully try to kill him and end up selling him as a slave. The sons tell their father that Joseph is dead while Joseph, in fact, becomes a slave in the household of Potiphar, a wealthy Egyptian. Joseph is thrown in jail due to a misunderstanding involving Potiphar’s wife. Freed from jail and reunited with his brothers, Joseph must test their moral integrity with a simple trick. Assured of their remorsefulness, Joseph returns with his brothers to his family.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical for the whole family. The Webber/Rice score will have you singing the tunes as you skip out of the theatre. The story is uncomplicated enough that little ones can follow it and the dance numbers are joyful.
There is minimal dialogue, which results in a musical that moves at a fast pace from one tune to the other. This is not to its detriment though. The narrator, played by Bianca Heuvelmans, and often accompanied by a Youth Chorus, introduces many of the musical numbers. Heuvelmans has a gorgeous operatic voice, which is on splendid display in the song, “Jacob and Sons”.
Mitch Wood’s Joseph is both gentle and fierce. Although his opening number didn’t do it justice, Wood does have a powerful voice, which he revealed in “Close Every Door”. Andrew Perry as the Baker displays a booming voice. Thomas James Finn is perfectly cast as the Elvis-Presley-inspired Pharaoh. Finn gets to showcase his big personality (and voice) and dance moves during the number, “Song of the King”.
Michael Galloro’s set includes a huge sheet at the back centre stage, which is illuminated in different colours in each scene and Egyptian hieroglyphs on each side of the stage.
Robyn MacDonald’s glorious costumes include 60s style mini dresses, the eponymous multi-coloured coat and a wonderful two-person camel.
Choreographer Jennifer Thiessen showcases many dance styles including a 50s style, finger-snapping number, “Joseph’s Dreams,” Country Western dances such as the two-step and East Coast Swing in “One More Angel in Heaven” and the dazzling American Bandstand style number, “Go, Go, Go Joseph”.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Lower Ossington Theatre is inspiring and uplifting. The musical is being performed until July 24, 2016. Tickets can be purchased online.