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"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" debuts in Portland, OR

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Radio_Lady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-03-06 12:41 PM
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"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" debuts in Portland, OR
Edited on Mon Apr-03-06 12:47 PM by Radio_Lady

503-790-ARTS (2787) or
503-241-1802 (Box office) (crossposted from the DU lounge)

The touring company of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" pitches its brightly-colored 'tent' at the Keller Auditorium (SW Third Avenue and Clay Street) in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, April 4 through Sunday, April 9, 2006. I'll be in the first-night audience, with other happy Dreamers, to see this much-loved Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical re-invented by a new cast and crew. For years, I've had the London cast audio recording of the music, as well as the sumptuous VHS with Donny Osmond -- a visual and auditory treat if there ever was one. (Our grandson here in Oregon, age 5, just loves it!)

If you're unfamiliar with the story, this irresistible musical is about the triumphs of Joseph, Israel's favorite son from the Old Testament. The musical paints a picture of betrayal and hardship, prophecy and forgiveness. However, it's hardly your grandmother's Bible storytelling. You won't be bored -- it's all done with "panache" -- a fresh, bright, and light hand. You'll see many comical as well as serious moments. The costuming is -- to say the least -- very original -- and the dancing goes way beyond the stuff you might remember from some Jewish wedding! It's the Bible story, all right, but it's told with a wink of the eye at all times.

I've been anticipating this performance for a long time, mainly because of the addition of the luscious Patrick Cassidy in the lead role. Patrick is the youngest of three sons of the wonderfully talented actress and singer Shirley Jones and her late husband, actor Jack Cassidy, who died in a tragic fire. Patrick's real-life wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy, joins him on-stage in a key role, and Amy Adams from "American Idol" plays the role of The Narrator.

If we can trust reviewers who've already seen the production in other cities, Portland theater-goers are in for a real treat. (See review below from Salt Lake City's Deseret News.)

I'll never forget seeing Donny Osmond in the role of Joseph years ago in Boston. I took my young grandson, Michael, all dressed up in a freshly washed white shirt and his first bow tie (!) and watched him go wide-eyed as the stage lit up with all kinds of sound and color and theatrics, which included flying Donny out over the audience on a wired harness. It was just glorious! My grandson has since grown to be a young man who is interested in possibly pursuing a career in communications (maybe even acting) after he graduates high school. He has already been in one movie and has a listing in the IMDB to prove it!

Back with my review after opening night --

In peace, Radio_Lady



Cassidy takes 'Joseph' on beyond Donny (03/23/06)

By Ivan M. Lincoln
Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City, Utah)
"JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT," through Sunday. Running time: two hours (one intermission).

Maybe you can't reinvent the wheel, but directors and choreographers are continually finding new ways to reinvent "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." I may get a few irate e-mails about this but in this neck of the woods, it's unfair to label "Joseph" as purely Donny Osmond's show. Osmond did a great job with it, but there comes a time to move on, and now Patrick Cassidy has (for the second time) tackled the role.

With choreography that is packed with high-velocity energy and a look that captures a bright, Vegas-style glitz, this "Joseph" doesn't have to take a back seat to any of its predecessors. Cassidy slides effortlessly into the title role, with his well-honed tenor voice and his affable style. He also infuses his show-stopping ballad, "Close Every Door," with a feeling of loneliness.

Amy Adams, best known as an "American Idol" finalist, is making her nationwide stage debut as the Narrator a key role similar in some respects to Ringling Bros.' singing ringmaster. She has her own fair share of solos, plus she gets right into the middle of most of the ensemble bits, too, as she shepherds other performers (including Salt Lake City's own International Children's Choir) around the stage.

The large touring cast has several other standouts as well, including Melissa Hurley Cassidy (yes Patrick's wife) as the seductive and sensuous Mrs. Potiphar, Todd DuBail as the swivel-hipped Pharaoh, Nicholas F. Saverine as both Jacob and Potiphar, Craig Cady as the Butler and Tony Gonzales, pinch-hitting on opening night as the Baker. Nicely showcased in a couple of the songs were Ken Nelson as Reuben, singing "One More Angel in Heaven"; Matthew LaBanca as Simeon, lamenting "Those Canaan Days" and Terrence McKinnley Clowe as Judah, leading the ensemble through the "Benjamin Calypso."

"Joseph" is a musical that never takes itself too seriously, and you can instantly tell you're in for some fun when the curtain raises on what looks like a fanciful circus tent with Jacob & Sons inscribed along the top and "Shepherds Extraordinaire" chiseled along the bottom.

Director Dallett Norris stays true to the original concept of the show, while freshening it up for a new generation. Choreographer Arlene Phillips, assisted by Louanne Madorma-Williams, keeps things moving without any let-up.
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