"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

By David A. Rosenberg

As directed by Melody Meitrott Libonati, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s cartoonish take on the famous biblical story, is all ice cream and sugar, even down to the pastel costumes. The piece, which started as a school cantata, has Lloyd Webber’s trademark theme of the search for fame, as well as some of his jauntiest music.

 

In New Canaan, the piece’s frolicsomeness is emphasized, beginning with the Narrator’s telling the tale to a rapt children’s chorus. Libonati creates expansive pictures that please by sheer numbers. She’s also astute enough to not take it all seriously, even to “Lion King” touches like an adorable (fake) camel.

 

For all its cheerfulness, though, the production is light-fingered when it comes to thematic weight, downplaying the piece’s riffs on trickery. It’s a bustling evening more intent on giving opportunities for community performing (Doug Shankman’s choreography is jovial) than digging down to the work’s witty edge.

 

As Joseph, Christopher DeRosa is buff not only in body but charm. He has a robust singing voice and adds a fillip of slyness. As the Narrator, Corrine C. Broadbent has a bit of trouble with the high tessitura but makes that up in an appealing performance. Kenneth Linsley injects gusto into the evening’s one truly humorous song, “Those Canaan Days,” while Brian Silliman, though over-used in three roles, is his usual capable self. As the Elvis-like Pharoah, however, William Hammons is inarticulate.

 

Still, the evening is joyful even though its darker elements are slighted in both the original script and this production.

 

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