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.