The Jesters Dinner Theatre in Longmont, Colorado presents Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from February 2 – April 8, 2018.
Joseph is a light-hearted musical presentation of the Bible story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.
Joseph, the son of Jacob by Jacob’s second wife, Rachel, is his father’s favorite. Jacob shows his partiality by presenting Joseph with a “coat of many colors,” much to the jealousy of his eleven other brothers.
Joseph is also a “dreamer” – he dreams prophetic dreams and he can interpret the dreams of others. He tells his brothers, in all innocence, that he has dreamed that he will rule over them. This is the final straw, and they unite to sell him to some passing travelers, who in turn take him to Egypt and sell him into slavery there.
Fortunately for Joseph, his ability to interpret dreams enables him to better his lot, until ultimately he is made steward to the Pharaoh, tasked to ensure that Egypt will save enough food during the predicted forthcoming seven years of plenty, to enable its people to survive during the following seven years of famine.
Meanwhile, things have not been going well in Canaan. Seven years have passed and now the famine is upon them. The eleven brothers journey to Egypt to ask for food. They don’t recognize Joseph but he of course recognizes them. He gives them food but also sets them a test – planting a golden goblet in the food sack of their youngest brother, Benjamin. When the brothers unite to beg for Benjamin’s freedom (“Save him. Take me.”) Joseph realizes they have changed, and reveals himself to be their brother.
Joseph – a Background
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been delighting audiences since 1968, when young musical talents Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were commissioned to create a “pop cantata” for a school’s choir. It was only 20 minutes long, but proved to be so successful that the two young men would eventually expand it into a two hour production (after completing their next project which was Jesus Christ Superstar.)
The show bears the hallmarks of a Lloyd Webber creation – there is no spoken dialog. Everything from the introduction – a narrator encourages children to dream by telling them the story of a very successful dreamer – to the set-pieces, take place in song, making it what’s s called a “sung through” musical.
Lloyd Webber showed off his musical talent by writing the music to the songs (Rice wrote the lyrics, Lloyd Webber created the music) in pastiches of a variety of popular styles including calypso, jazz, a French ballad and 1950s rock and roll.
The Jesters’ production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, directed my Mary Lou and Scott Moore, with choreography by Shannon Bohnen, is fun from beginning to end. One can only imagine the fun that costume designers Mary Lou Moore and Lize Bohnen had, assembling matching costume changes for the eleven brothers for the musical pastiche scenes.
It’s the musical pastiches that add to the enjoyment of Joseph – rather than merely being a straightforward telling of the story the actors get to embrace different musical styles and even time periods.
For example when Asher and his brothers, and several of their wives, unite to tell their father Jacob that Joseph is dead, they sing the country-western ballad “One More Angel in Heaven” complete with cowboy hats. For “Those Canaan Days,” a lament of happier days in Canaan before they’d sold Joseph into slavery and before the famine, is sung in the tradition of a French ballad, with the brothers clad in berets and Judah actually smoking a cigarette. For “Benjamin Calypso” they don straw hats.
Pharaoh dominates the stage during his scene, only fitting since he is “the King” and is clad in a white Elvis Presley-type jump suit, as well as a truly magnificent Presley wig. His song, in which he recounts the dream he doesn’t understand is entitled, not surprisingly, “Song of the King.” Pharaoh interacts with the audience as only the King can.
The Jesters continues its tradition of double casting actors. Joseph, for example, will be played on any given day by Danny Bohnen or John Sosna. Joseph must have a strong voice and be able to evoke strength (“Any Dream Will Do”) and compassion (“Close Every Door”).
- Narrator: Jade Tiller, Tyra Toepfer or Tara Zumfelde
- Joseph: Danny Bohnen or John Sosna
- Jacon: Jim Berthold
- Reuben: Chuck Glidewell
- Simeon: Tony White
- Levi: Justin Strickett or Brandon Hein
- Judah: Scott Moore
- Dan/Pharaoh: Raja Salaymeh, Joel Seamons or John Sosna
- Naphtali/Butler: Chris Cravens
- Gad/Potiphar: John Lostroh or Loren Meaux
- Asher: Scotty Bohnen or Justin Strickett
- Issachar/Baker: Michael Butler or Dustin Risley
- Zebulum: Pete Burke or Brandon Hein
- Benjamin: CJ Giseburt, Brandon Hein or Ethan Ward
- Women’s Chorus: Rachael Brady, Kathy Timmy or Artie Thompson
- Women’s Chorus: SarahButler, April Hart or Kristy Pike
- Women’s Chorus: Alex Colin, Cailyn Long, Debbie Marr
- Women’s Chorus: Samantha Bolte-Woods, Jenny Dunn or Mallory Moeller
- Women’s Chorus: Teresa Affleck, Paige French or Anna Ramsey
- Children’s Chorus: Olivia Chase or Ahnalysse Olberding-Wyland
- Children’s Chorus: Fianna Lewis or Julia Perian
- Children’s Chorus: Katrina Canfield or Josh Leal
- Children’s Chorus: Bria Leal or Makaela Marr or Josie Meining
- Children’s Chorus: Olivia Dunn or Anna Hullet
- Children’s Chorus: Ashley Ahrens or Ellie Leal
The Jesters offers a variety of appetizers – soup, chips and salsa, quesadillas and even a shrimp cocktail. Entrees included with the price of the ticket are chicken cordon bleu, chipotle pork loin, chicken or salmon salad or cheese tortellini. The “premium” entrees are filet of salmon, fantail shrimp or prime rib. Children can choose one of these or go for mini corn dogs, chicken tenders or cheese or pepperoni pizza.
Desserts, served at intermission and with an extra charge, inclyde ice cream sundaes, New York-style cheesecake, chocolate mousse pie, gluten free brownie, mud pie or root beer float.
From the bar one can acquire wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, White Zinfandel, Malbec, Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio. Bottled beers are also on offer.