Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat kicked off 3-D Theatricals 2016-2017 season at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center earlier this month and their inaugural show at The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Friday night. In true fashion, 3DT presented another prismatic production, this time enlisting the talents of Tony-award nominee, Marc Kudisch to direct and his wife, Broadway veteran, Shannon Lewis to choreograph. We all know the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors but this production offers something truly unique.
3-D Theatricals opening number of Joseph is definitely one for the books. Dressed in all-white, the entire cast adorn the stage during the first few seconds of the show. Accompanying them was a 35-piece children’s choir that debunks the myth about working with children in “show business” as they each performed in unison. The Narrator (Charlotte Mary Wen) steps fourth and begins to recite the story of Joseph (Justin Anthony Long) whom is later revealed to the audience by a single spotlight resembling divine light from the heavens above, in part of Lighting Designer, Jean-Yves Tessier.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Likes of Us, Evita) wrote the concept album for Joseph back in 1969 and it features an eclectic blend of songs ranging from pop to country western to calypso. The rock opera also has very few spoken words, resulting in an high energy performance from beginning to end.
Musical Director, Corey Hirsch ingeniously updated the orchestral arrangements bringing a modern sound to the songs without compromising the original composition. Sound Designer, Julie Ferrin also successfully filled the theatre with the right amount of acoustics, melodies and harmonies creating an aural world both sophisticated and well-balanced.
To help create the ancient city of Canaan, The Pharaoh’s Palace and Joseph’s prophetic dreams, Scenic Designer, Stephen Gifford and Projection Designer, Jonathan Infante used a simple backdrop illuminating symbolical imagery, while utilizing key set pieces to help transport us to the scriptural period.
The story of Joseph reads like a drama of biblical proportions dealing with rather serious topics such as fratricide, treason and slavery but Director, Marc Kudisch brought the family-friendly fun and humor back to the show that other productions missed the mark on. Choreographer, Shannon Lewis, also updated the musical numbers breathing new life and pizzazz into them. The audience went particularly crazy for the re-imagined showstopper, Song of the King featuring Edred Utomi (Pharaoh/Levi) and his smooth James Brown moves.
The songs from Joseph tell the story (remember no spoken dialogue) and at the forefront of most of these fast-paced, lyrically challenging numbers is Charlotte Mary Wen (Narrator). Wen does a superb job handling each note with crystalline vocals, while embodying great warmth and a high-spirited personality. You can’t help but to smile when she graces the stage. Justin Anthony Long (Joseph) does an unequivocal job showcasing his characters metamorphosis from callow boy to powerful man. Long also possesses a beautiful tone and tenderness in his voice that sweep each song, as if drafted for him.
Truly an ensemble production, the multi-talented cast also includes: Bryan Dobson (Jacob), Jason Peter Kennedy (Reuben), Dennis Kyle (Simeon), Brandon Michael Nase (Judah), Nick Morganella (Dan), Brady Stanley (Gad), Max Herzfeld (Issachar), Nic Hodges (Naphtali), Joe Komara (Zebulon), Nick Waaland (Asher) and Ernie Figueroa (Benjamin).
You only have 5 more opportunities to rediscover Joseph. Believe me when I say, you’ve never seen a version quite like this before. Come see this amazing spectacle suitable for the entire family before it’s too late. Just don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes!
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is playing at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts until October 23, 2016. Tickets are available by calling the box off at (800) 300-4345 or Order Online.
Photos courtesy of Isaac James Creative