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Tuesday, June 20, 2006


In its 1982 Broadway debut, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was a commercial success garnering 7 Tony, 1 Theatre World and 3 Drama Desk nominations (winning only a Theatre World Award for the late Laurie Beechman for her role as the Narrator). Since then, the show has been revived on Broadway (with Michael Damian) and toured extensively around the world. According to the show’s official website, “it is estimated that the show has been performed in nearly 20,000 schools or local theatres, involving over 700,000 performers of all ages with an audience in excess of 9 million people.” With a story straight out of the bible (the last 13 chapters in the book of Genesis if you must know), a blend of several musical styles, talented performers and visually spectacular costumes and sets, it is no wonder the show has become a favorite among American musical theatre-goers.

I’ve heard the music, seen clips, know the story quite well, but quite frankly I don’t get the hype one bit. If theatre goers categorize this production as being a dazzling spectacular, entertaining musical then Tuesday, June 20 we clearly must have been sitting at different theatres watching completely different shows. I was at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles on the show's opening night and to me, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was definitely Technicolor but hardly amazing. Patrick Cassidy stars in this touring production as Joseph, and his perfomance is frankly quite a shame.

Cassidy is talented in his own right with stage credits like “The Pirates of Penzance” and Sondheim’s “Assassins” but this show shouldn’t be one of his theatrical highlights. Sadly, the talent that surrounded him while growing up (his father is Jack Cassidy, step-mom is musical theatre icon Shirley Jones and sibling to Shaun & David “I Think I Love You”) didn’t seem to help him in this performance. While Cassidy has a strong voice, one cannot (and must not) assume that a strong voice must equal a LOUD voice ALL THE TIME. There are moments when a song should be soft and tender, or inquisitive or emotional, however every song Cassidy sang was just loud, over-acted and under thought out. There was no variance his performance from one song to the next (only his costumes). The audience seemed to respond to Cassidy’s often over-performed interpretation of a dramatic and loud Joseph, however he lacked the soft and emotional sentiments the character required particularly in the highly emotional,Close Every Door to Me. The song (to me) is the best song in the production yet was a car wreck when performed by Cassidy. Every emotion was over-acted, drawn out and loud as if Cassidy took great pleasure in hearing the sound of his own overly amplified voice. At the end of the song, the meaning was lost in his bad interpretation and overly emphasized hand gestures. This was the lowest point of the show for me however I began to fear how I would get through the rest of the show. Two seconds into Cassidy’s appearance as Joseph (in Any Dream Will Do which also was embarrassing and this song is happy, upbeat and not that difficult a number to perform) I knew this wasn't going to be an enjoyable night in the theatre.

While Cassidy’s performance lacked in every aspect one could imagine, Amy Adams as the Narrator balanced out the production and brought the real star power and energy to the show (other than the local children’s choir which was cute and good). Prior to this performance, I didn't even know who Amy Adams was (yes, I am one of the 5 people living in the USA who doesn't watch American Idol). Adams (I found out) was one of the final 10 contestants in the 3rd season of American Idol (during the Fantasia/Diana Degarmo era) and has made quite a splash in her theatrical debut. The moment Adams opened her mouth, it was obvious this woman had talent. Adams’ presence on-stage was definitely a great benefit to the production. She has a powerful and dynamic voice that is full and resonates throughout the theatre and fit the pop/rock style of the music perfectly. Adams’ performance and interpretation as the Narrator added a level of power, depth and warmth to the production. She was everything Cassidy should have been, but wasn't times 10.

The production as a whole was bland in spite of the bright flashing on-stage lights, gyrating Elvis impersonator, dancing pharaohs and country-square-dancing-flourescent-pom-pom-clad dancers. Though the show combines musical influences from pop to country, the show doesn’t quite deliver in any other aspect of the production. Just as Cassidy’s performance was terribly overdone, so everything else seemed to be as well from the costumes, sets and even Cassidy’s well-chiseled abs. Adams’ performance however, was the silver lining in this touring production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ever-popular Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Though the show was supposed to be bright, boisterous, loud and stimulating it was just loud, overacted and as Tianyi aptly put it, "the gayest biblical musical I've ever seen."

For my somewhat less harsh review of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, go to my OTHER review at


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