The Courthouse Center for the Arts in Kingston kicked off their season with the edgy comedy “Avenue Q,” but now they’re going back to the classics with their production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
The Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice pop-opera is based on the story of Joseph, from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament Bible.
With no dialogue, the show’s central plot is carefully woven into melodies and is narrated throughout. The music, as in many Lloyd Webber shows, varies in style and ranges from country to calypso. Shawn Bolduc, this production’s musical director, did a wonderful job pulling together crisp vocal harmonies and peppered some of the songs with additional instrumentation provided by cast members. Andrew T. Jones showed off his tuba skills in a few numbers, and Timmi Gammon played the trombone, guitar and accordion throughout the show.
Veteran Broadway director Richard Sabellico directed and choreographed, cleverly infusing the show with just enough “camp” to make the audience smile.
The Courthouse’s “Joseph,” like their other productions, is stripped down to a minimal set and costumes. The talented cast is clad in modern, springtime gear. You may even find yourself seated next to the leading player without noticing.
Joseph is played Billy Steeves, who gives the role a boy-like charm and lovability. Other standouts from the cast included Michael John Lewis, whose powerful voice is a joy to listen to on “One More Angel in Heaven” and “Song of the King.”
Jared Robinson, as another of Joseph’s brothers, had a ringing tenor that I wish I heard more of. Perhaps he will return to the Courthouse in a larger role in the future. Alyssa Gorgone manages to be comical and sexy as Mrs. Potiphar, an evil temptress to lure Joseph to her bed. And, of course, the small chorus of children is delightfully adorable.
But the true star of the show is the coat of many colors, which becomes a living, breathing inhabitant of the theater towards the end of the performance. Sarah Campbell’s design and construction of the robe are impressive. She makes the audience remember the second title character of the show.
The show runs just under two hours, but feels a bit tedious towards the end, when the cast repeats every musical number in the show in a “mega mix” medley. Otherwise, the pop-opera is an enjoyable, colorful romp through the musical mind of Lloyd Webber.
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” runs now through April 15. Performances are Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are $15-25 and can be purchased by calling 782-1018 ext. 13. More information may be found at www.courthousearts.org.