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Musical theater is a delicate balance of the acting, dancing, lighting, costumes, sound, and many other things. If one thing in the musical equation is off kilter, the entire show is tainted by the unfortunate miss-hap. The touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Orpheum Theater is a fairly entertaining show as far as the story line, but this production could have been executed much better than it was.

Following the story of Joseph from the Bible, I would describe Joseph as the Bible meets Broadway. The dance numbers are over the top and flashy, which was cute to watch. I enjoyed the energy of the production when it was present, but more often than not it was like the actors were simply going through the motions. Some characters stood out, but the production needs some work in a few areas.

My favorite thing to watch was the eleven brothers of Joseph. They had great energy, which was greatly needed on the stage. Their harmony is also worth mentioning. I didn’t want the brother’s songs to end. They did have to end at some point, and when they were done singing, the narrator (Laura Helm) would sing about what was happening in the story. Helm is very talented, but her voice was very nasally and squeaky. It’s okay if you like that type of voice, but it was hard to endure for myself. The star of the show, Joseph, (JC McCann) was okay. The only time I really felt like he was in the ‘zone’ was during “Close Every Door.” Whether it was opening night jitters or he just couldn’t hit the notes is a mystery. They lacked the passion that should come with songs like “Go, Go, Go Joseph.”

The lighting was trying to make up for the fact that the actors were not spot-on, and it did not work. Unnecessarily bright lights would flash the audience during dance numbers, and it was just distracting. The point of lighting is to light up the stage, not the audience. I felt as though they were trying to erase my memory from previous bad lighting, and it didn’t work. It took away from what was happening on stage.

In addition to the lighting, there were some questionable costuming choices. The start of the second act featured the narrator singing and women in white robes dancing around her. I was caught off-guard by how random these robes were, but there was somewhat of a point to them. Projections of clouds and sand were reflected onto the robes. It didn’t serve a greater purpose and was another thing that was distracting from the show.

Despite the interesting lighting and the actors not doing their best, the story line was cute and I found myself singing the songs on the way home. I enjoy the Bible meets Broadway vibe that it gave off as a whole. It’s a feel-good musical, but I could have left the theater feeling better.

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Comment by Dudley Voigt on April 1, 2016 at 1:59pm

I like the way you establish your authority and voice in the first paragraph. The mechanics of this review are solid, covering all the key elements will really solid examples.  So, let's look at the overall effect.  

You state your argument three times (1st paragraph, 2nd paragraph and last paragraph), and I think you are attempting to be balanced, saving room for the reader to have a differing view.  But each time the argument shifts slightly.  While they are all echoes of the same idea, I think it weakens your overall assessment and makes your opinions less persuasive.

How could your middle paragraphs where you dig into the details do an even better job and fleshing your thesis out?  The sum total of those arguments should add up to a clear conclusion, even if there is contradiction within it.

Good job!

Comment by Grace Peterson on April 2, 2016 at 3:33pm

Laura-

I think it's interesting that you start with this statement that when even one aspect of the ratio is off, the whole show is off. That, along with the title, led me to believe that you would be focusing on the lighting as the main critique of the show. However, you didn't mention the lighting until the third paragraph and you critiqued other elements. You have a great voice and a strong critical eye, I would just recommend working on the organization and thesis-building of your reviews. 

You're also more than welcome to change your intro/thesis after writing the rest of your review and realizing that you're original argument may have shifted!

Good job!

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