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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
a Musical
by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) & Tim Rice (lyrics)

COMPANY : Agape Players, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Gwinnett Civic & Cultural Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 4935

SHOWING : July 30, 2016 - July 31, 2016



The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Joseph, his father’s favorite son, is a boy blessed with prophetic dreams. When he is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt, Joseph endures a series of adventures in which his spirit and humanity are continually challenged. Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, from country-western and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock ’n’ roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.

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Joseph with the New Testament
by playgoer
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Agape Players’ production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" starts with a stool and an oversized Bible onstage. Considering the organization’s description of itself as a "group of like-minded Christians" and music director John V. Glover’s pre-curtain exhortations for the audience to bring Jesus into their lives, you can assume that the Bible contains the full New Testament. The figure we see emerging from its pages, though, is the Old Testament Joseph of coat fame.

There are several clever moments in the set design by Ben Crider and the direction by Barbara Hall. Both are on the minimal side, though, with the sand-colored ramps and platform walls almost looking like raw wood from a distance and with little cohesion of effect in large group scenes. Joy Walters’ choreography keeps the actors grouped and moving with a good degree of synchronicity, but the performers seem to have been left to their own devices as to how they react to plot points. Consequently, some reactions are understated and some are broad.

There is a wonderful performance by Clay Mote as Joseph, with his splendid voice and acrobatic movements impressing from first to last. What revolves around him, though, is more lackluster. The tempos of the songs all seem slow, dragging down the energy of the show. The songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice are largely meant as showcases for one character or another, and most of the performers, aside from Mr. Mote, aren’t quite up the challenge. Melanie Barnes, as the Narrator, has an almost operatic voice and zaftig presence, lacking the dynamism the role can benefit from. The show is filled with performances that don’t quite work.

At the performance I saw, it didn’t help that a number of technical problems occurred. One long (but simple) set change, accompanied by silence, brought the show to an unnecessary halt. A wheeled sheep came onstage dragging a plastic coat hanger under it, and certainly not in tribute to the show’s logo (multi-colored words forming the title, draped on a coat hanger). Microphones were not turned on in time on many occasions. Still, the most impressive set transformation, involving a pyramid, seemed to work flawlessly.

Agape’s production lets the show come through just fine, but it drags some in the second act, with the Joseph Megamix that ends the show a totally unnecessary re-introduction of the actors shorn of costume colors and wigs. "Joseph" has worn out its welcome by that point. The cast of about 60 and the orchestra of 15 (plus conductor) have overstuffed the show, resulting in an overall impression of mediocrity. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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