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January 18, 2005 > Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

by Praveena Raman

Stage 1 Theatre, in Newark, has started the new year with a visually vibrant and musically eclectic production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The musical, a collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, was originally written in 1968 for St. Pauls' Junior School Choir in London for their Easter end of term concert.

Though it had a humble beginning, this biblical story of Jacob's youngest son Joseph and his coat of many colors, has continued to be an enduring and endearing show. The musical that started out to be a 15 minute show now runs for about an hour and a half in two acts.

This light musical stars Greg Lucas as Joseph. He was last seen in Stage 1's Grease and Into the Woods. A fitting Joseph, Lucas acts with style and has a strong voice. This vocal strength was superbly shown in the song "Close Every Door" which he ended powerfully, transporting the audience to new heights. Shannon Schultz shines as the Narrator. Her lovely voice commands attention but is not overwhelming. Her clear diction adds strength to the role giving her the unique ability to sing and be understood at the same time, a key quality to being a narrator. She clearly enjoys her role and it is a joy to see her on stage. Each member of the cast has put their heart and soul into this production and have taken ownership of their roles. This is nicely showcased by Silas Parker III as Potiphar and Nick Guerrero as the Elvis-like Pharaoh. It was nice to see Parker keeping his curious gait with a little hop while walking off stage even though the lights had come down.

Director David Hochstedler, also the vocal coach for this production, has done a superb job with the ensemble, especially with the children. It is a delight to see the musical strength of the children in the cast and it is wonderful to see it back in a Stage 1 production. The ensemble also handled the variety of the musical numbers, ranging from rock to country to calypso, with ease. The orchestra directed by Ruthanne Crow though small was excellent and could be heard clearly over the singing of the ensemble.

This show has some lively dance numbers performed with ease by the cast. Christina Lazo has done a wonderful job with the choreography. The colorful costumes designed by Angela Lazear are in tune with the setting of the play and add to the visual delight of the audience. The strength of the technical aspects of this production is evident in the excellent lighting and clear quality of the sound system.

Hochstedler has done a remarkable job with the casting and direction of the show. It is definitely a must see for the whole family. This show would be especially enjoyed by young adults.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Stage 1 Theatre
8 p.m.
Jan. 21-22 and 28-29, matinees at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays, Jan. 16 and 23
Newark Memorial High School, Newark
Tickets are $10 to $18
(510) 791-0287

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