Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat


ROSALIND FRIEDMAN

 

There seems to be room for everyone under the Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s white tent in Waveny Park.

 

I like the spirit generated in the Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; a forever young musical, it was the first that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote together when they were commissioned in 1968 by a London Prep School. The most important element in a musical is the lead. With a terrific voice and excellent diction, Christopher DeRosa, a recent college graduate, takes the part of Joseph and makes it his own. Dark-haired and well-built, the actor projects warmth and a feeling of comfort and maturity on stage as the youngest brother whose father loves him best and the interpreter of dreams.

 

Corrine C. Broadbent as The Narrator, William Hammons as the Elvis-like Pharoah, Brian Silliman as Jacob, all acquit themselves well. Kenneth Linsley’s Simeon, singing the spoofy and schmaltzy “Those Canaan Days,” and Johann Michael George’s Judah, delivering Benjamin Calypso, a snappy number, are entertaining.

 

I have seen many productions of the retelling of this beloved biblical story; the first time was on Broadway in 1981, and although I enjoyed it, I was struck by the tuneful score and surprised at how short it was. The show became a mainstay of the Downtown Cabaret of Bridgeport, which highlighted the more sophisticated aspects of the plot.

 

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan’s production, which will run from Thursday to Sunday now until August 5, is directed by Melody Meitrott Libonati and choreographed by Doug Shankman on Charles Pavarini III’s effectively sculpted set lit by Devon Allen. Their job is challenging, because the very large cast is comprised of some strong soloists-members of actors equity -- costumed in appropriate Egyptian garb by Arthur Oliver -- and many adorable and attractive children from teeny to teenager wearing brightly-colored contemporary clothes. This charmingly schizophrenic combination accomplishes two things: it accents the didactic qualities of the piece and attracts a large audience, both young and older. However, the use of this many children lends a juvenile/Sesame style air to the production. We can’t take is as seriously as we would like.

 

Music Director Stephen Purdy does a lovely job taking the soloists, the Ensemble and Children’s Chorus through the songs that demonstrate a variety of styles: “Jacob and Sons,“ “Joseph’s Coat,” “One More Angel in Heaven,” and the iconic “Any Dream Will Do.” This is a fine family show that will play through Aug 5. For all box office info: 203-966-4634. info@stonc.org

 



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