If you like your Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat straight up (no chaser), then the current production playing The Muny may not be your cup of tea. But, if you like it when they give the show a St. Louis twist, then this is your type of musical. I've seen enough productions of this particular show to want something a little different myself, so I was completely charmed by the Muny's take of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's work.
Set in ancient Egypt (via St. Louis), this clever musical tells the biblical story of Joseph. Joseph is singled out as special among his eleven brothers by his father, Jacob. Jacob gives him the gift of an attention-grabbing, rainbow-hued coat. In an extreme act of sibling rivalry, his brothers strip him of his clothes and toss him in a well, before they finally decide to sell him into slavery. But, even though he's jailed after an unsuccessful stint as a servant for Potiphar, he impresses the Pharoah with his ability to read his dreams. His advice is taken, and when his visions come true, he ascends to the number two spot. In the end, things come full circle, with his brothers learning a valuable lesson along the way.
Justin Guarini is a thoroughly capable fit as Joseph. His version of “Any Dream Will Do” gets the action off to a pleasant start, but it's his take on “Close Every Door”, while imprisoned, that really soars emotionally. Mamie Parris adds immeasurably to the proceedings as the Narrator. “The Prologue” sets the tone for the show, and Parris immediately lets the audience know that this is going to be a fun ride. Austin Miller rocks the pyramid as The Pharaoh, and Gary Glasgow does exceptional work as Jacob and Potiphar.
Lara Teeter directs and choreographs this fresh take that speeds along at a nice, lively clip. His work is augmented by the clever costumes of Robin L. McGee and the colorful scenic design of Michael Anania.
This is a terrifically fun and cool regional take on the classic Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and it continues through July 28, 2012 at The Muny.
photo: Larry Pry