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17 July 2008 @ 03:07 pm
We got a fantastic review! Woot!  
The Bulletin - Philadelphia's Family Newspaper had this to say about our production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dreamcoat. Source

A Colorful Staging Of Webber's 'Joseph'
By: Bradley Vasoli, The Bulletin

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is, in two important respects, the apposite choice for a community theater production in the calm American suburbs. It draws upon the Western religious traditions that most who grew up in such an environment know well, and it appeals especially to families who want to take their small children to a clean, heartening show.

The collaboration of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice also features some fine tunes, albeit ones that don't quite match the emotional force and musical beauty of some other Webber works in Phantom of the Opera or (intermittently) Cats. The songs tell, after all, a simple and occasionally flippant tale. But in the hands of director Laurel Smith, music director Keith Clattenburg, producer Dave Shaw and choreographer Tom Blair, it is a charming and memorable one.

Viewers who see the show by the King of Prussia Players (running at the Shannondell Performing Arts Center Jul. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m.; Jul. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Jul. 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Jul.26 at 2:00 p.m.) will remember foremost David Cox's winning portrayal of the hapless Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers who resent the favoritism their father Jacob shows him and who detest his near-certain ascent as a ruler.

By day, Joseph wears the coat his father bestowed upon him to express his affection, and by night, he dreams with unfailingly accuracy about all that life will bring him and his family. The young man has plenty to be happy about, enough to make him forget his vulnerabilities.

You find an air of perfect security in Mr. Cox's face before he finds himself at the mercy of the Ishmaelite masters. He is young but not boyish or delicate, a man whose adolescent overconfidence has followed him well into adulthood. Thus he repeats, with satisfaction, "I look handsome. I look smart. I'm a walking work of art." There persists a warm but detached grin suggesting to the uneasy audience, "I'm fine. What's the worry?" It manifests Ms. Smith's understanding that Joseph "needed to be a little bit smug in the beginning."

Weathering his betrayal by kin, his purchase by the Ishmaelites and his unjust jailing after his Egyptian owner Potiphar believes him to have had a tryst with his wife, Mr. Cox's Joseph is the kind of chap you can view with engrossed sympathy, though not uncritical veneration. And he meets the vocal demands of the role almost flawlessly.

The lineup of men cast as Joseph's brothers also fit the bill magnificently. All either older or stouter than Mr. Cox, they're a rough bunch, but not so irredeemably bad that it would hurt to stop by and share a laugh with them before their baser spirits creep into view. They're bad guys of the bizarre, comical sort Alec Guinness portrayed in his heyday. When they tell the audience, "We're great guys, but no one seems to notice," it almost seems credible.

Exploiting this façade with particular deftness is Levi, portrayed by Denis Wheeler, the play's comedic show-stealer. A thickset, bearded 20-something, he has the face and build of a dumbly brutish but jocular football player. His rendition of "One More Angel in Heaven," a folksy song falsely describing the sorrow he and his brothers feel when they lie to Jacob that Joseph was killed, is spot-on. Viewers would probably believe his phony tearfulness if they didn't know better. Because they do know better, they enjoy a hearty laugh.

Other characters got some fine actors to match as well, particularly David Ben Leavitt as Jacob and Ben Fried as the Pharaoh. It was a nice touch, indeed, to present the Elvislike Pharaoh more as a late-in-career King than the young jailhouse rocker we see in some Joseph productions.

After ingratiating himself with the Pharaoh, Joseph finds himself wielding absolute power over the brothers who turned against him. It's a weighty experience, pondering whether the arrogance he exhibited early in the musical will reassert itself in the worst way. Joseph's foreboding wisdom gains him power but that power comes with a burden that is hard to bear. In this, the production offers the youngsters it attracts a valuable theme: an understanding of the moral perils that come when one rises in the world. And, in view of the King of Prussia Players' rendition, that earnest lesson can even be a delightful one.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
starlightmoonlastarlightmoonla on July 16th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
That's Fantastic!!! Congrats! :D