Joseph and his amazing coat at Rosebud Theatre
by Laureen F. Guenther
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice, opens at Rosebud Theatre, June 1.
“You have this beautiful honest story of Joseph and layered on that is this incredible music of Andrew Lloyd Weber,” said Daniel Fong, who’s performing the role of Joseph.
Thirty adult and children singers will tell the biblical story of Joseph, from boyhood to his brothers’ selling him into slavery, to imprisonment, to his rise to prominence in Pharaoh’s Egypt. The singers will be accompanied by trumpet, tuba, French horn, upright bass, clarinet, saxophone, piano and drums.
“(Joseph) becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man,” Fong said. “Then one day, his brothers, in the wake of plague and famine… come to Egypt seeking help and they find themselves prostrated before Joseph, begging for help, and Joseph has a decision to make. And it comes down to the ultimate act of forgiveness.”
“This is really sort of delivering the scale of what this musical can be,” said David Snider, playing Pharaoh. “At times, those instruments are more the prominent voices. … I think it’s going to enhance the experience and even just the feeling of the world we’re in.”
“They’ve injected the many styles of music, whether it’s country, whether it’s Elvis, whether it’s this beautiful Parisian French song, all over the spectrum, and combined it in an incredible way into this show,” Fong said.
Pharaoh’s music, befitting the king of Egypt, imitates the king of music, Elvis himself.
Yet in this story, Snider said, Pharaoh doesn’t appear to be at the height of his power.
“He’s kind of crippled by the dream that he’s had, and his need for help from Joseph. … He may try to preserve (his image of power), but he’s actually not doing very well,” Snider said. “His nation is in peril, and it’s this unlikely Jewish man who has the resourcefulness and charisma … to essentially save Egypt.”
“There’s some interesting visual elements that will be at play too,” Snider said. “The set itself is quite fantastical. … The technicolor dreamcoat will be a sight to behold, and the set is based on that design. So it’s going to be quite a magical world.”
“The way we’re delivering [the story] has all the entertainment value, but I think will also allow the audience to see, really, it’s not the coat that’s amazing,” Snider said. “It’s the epic scale of this story that’s amazing and at the same time … it’s utterly personal. It’s a family story. It’s the story of a lost brother, and the ultimate reunion.”
“It reveals God’s heart,” he said. “It’s a story that captures God’s economy, the sort of upside-down way that the best possible outcome happens. … You’re thinking this dude’s lucky to survive as a slave because he’s in a society that doesn’t regard his life as any meaning. … (But) none of those human rules hold any sway over God’s purposes. … That’s that kind of scale, I think, of deeply-personal relationship of God to His children and it’s so alive in this story.”
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be performed in Rosebud’s Opera House, June 1 to September 1. Matinee and evening performances both include a meal, but some theatre-only tickets are available. Contact 1-800-267-7553 or rosebudtheatre.com for tickets.
“Come for the sheer surprise of the size of expression of twenty-plus voices and a band playing their hearts out,” Snider said.
“There will be something for you in this show,” Fong said. “It’s just one of those shows that will be so good, and it’ll plague the back of your memory for weeks after you’ve seen it. … Come have fun and experience the magic of the show.”