Rosebud Theatre: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
by Laureen F. Guenther
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is being performed in Rosebud Theatre’s Opera House in Rosebud, Alberta all summer. This musical is a family-friendly extravaganza of music and warmth and color.
The Old Testament story of Joseph is told entirely through song, in musical styles ranging from hip hop to calypso, country to rock and roll, folk music to a Parisienne love song. The cast of singers is backed by marvelous instruments — saxophone, clarinet, tuba, drums, piano, bass and trumpet.
Daniel Fong, who sings, acts and dances the part of Joseph, is overflowing with talent. When he sings of Joseph’s despair from prison, I felt as if he really were languishing there.
Cassia Schmidt, singing the role of Narrator, is also in wonderful voice, opening her window on the story so we see it through her eyes. David Snider is just right as the egotistical but conflicted Pharaoh. Travis Friesen plays a hilarious, powerful-but-naïve Potiphar, singing songs that sound like they were written just for him. And teenaged Donovan Snider pulled on my heart strings with his performance as Joseph’s youngest brother Benjamin, unjustly accused of stealing.
We follow Joseph from boyhood as his father’s favoured son, to mature adulthood and the shocking reunion with the brothers who sold him into slavery. Hearing the story told in this musical made me look at Joseph’s life in a whole new way.
It emphasizes to me how many times Joseph was forced to decide whether he’d keep being hopeful, keep forgiving others, keep trusting God. I ask myself, if I were in that prison with Joseph, what would my attitude be? And if my brothers had treated me that way, would I be as willing to forgive?
This show is also hilariously funny, and for me that was unexpected. My favorite laugh-aloud musical moment is when Joseph’s brothers sing a mourning song to their father. They’ve just sold their brother into slavery, and their song is full of the insincere platitudes that people say after a death.
And, in this show, the costumes are as important as a leading member of the cast.
Joseph’s famous and beautiful coat, stitched from 200 pieces of fabric, depicts the warm earth tones, the sky blues and the glowing colors of sun that make the prairie and badlands around Rosebud so beautiful.
The other costumes also add hilarity and character to the show.
Friesen, as Potiphar, struts around stage in dangly gold earrings and cowboy boots. When Joseph is in prison, he and his fellow prisoners wear every possible kind of black-and-white stripes. And David Snider as Pharaoh puffs out his chest in a turquoise and yellow-striped jacket, matched by a smaller vest for humble Joseph when he becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man.
People of all ages will enjoy Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Our opening night audience included seniors, children, and everyone in between. The young boy sitting near us was rapt and attentive throughout. And my companion said when we were walking out, “This show lifts your spirits!” Yes. That’s what it did for me too.
Rosebud, Alberta is in the Alberta Badlands, an hour from Calgary, and 20 minutes from Drumheller. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat plays at Rosebud Theatre in both evening and matinee performances until September 1. Get tickets at rosebudtheatre.com or 1-800-267-7553. Tickets include a buffet meal.