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REVIEWS

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
Pleasant evening, go see it
Sunday, May 23, 2004
4.0
DISCLAIMER: I know one person in cast/crew, I did not jot down notes during the show and I think I got all spelling and grammar correct.

I saw Joseph on Friday night with a small, but very enthusiastic audience. I can tell you without hesitation that the band and singers had the balance issues straightened out. I could always hear the singers, and could understand the words. There were only a few times when the mics cut out, but they came right back on and caused minimal disruption.

WARNING: There is a lot of silliness in this show. If you really like Monty Python, Three Stooges, Kids in the Hall, etc. you will love the twist on this show. If you are more of a purist, you will not like it as much.

I liked some of the additions but not others. The smaller things, like the name tags for the brothers, the "Pick Him" signs, the costumes for Go, Go Joseph number (complete with "go go choreography"), Jacob having to be revived, the neon gangster hats and sunglasses, etc. all added to the show. The more outrageous bits, like Joseph's grand stalk of "wheat" being compared to the brother's stalks being too small (you know where), the gorilla, the lengthy bit after the Pharaoh number and the "Hava Nagila" bit at the end of Canaan Days were disruptive and/or in bad taste and slowed the pace of the show. As a suggstion, at least cut the length of the Pharoah bit after the short reprise of his number to be much shorter. The audience seemed to love the Pharaoh song but was ready for the bit to be over after. (Ouch, leave them wanting more, not less.) Also, you cut your own applause when the audience started to applaud and Joseph gave his line to cue the reprise too soon. Wait just another second or two to let the applause for the first number happen (hopefully).

The singers had energy and really put their best foots forward. Clint Pridgen did a great job as Joseph and Barry Green also as Pharoah. (I asked to be sure that I had the right names.) The Potiphar number was well done by Alan Stacy and Tara Hodges as Mr. and Mrs. Potiphar. I also liked the country number, Canaan Days and especially the calypso number. The brothers' sound was very solid with nice harmony. It is a shame they didn't have all eleven brothers, but they more than made up for it with their singing and acting. (It is hard to find that many men who can commit to any show in community theatre.)

William Riggs did a fantastic job with the band and doubling as a cast member. (Don't you love community theatre when everyone really pitches in?) The addition of the flute, guitars and mandolin added to the songs. I understand from previous discussion that none of that music was in the score. Bravo, musicians! Your musical sensitivity was right on target for the times those instruments were added. Also, the drummer was never overbearing, but added the right amount of support that a drummer should.

I thought the lighting was dark at times, but that has already been covered in previous reviews and unavoidable for the space. Costumes were well designed and appropriate. Notable pieces were the dreamcoat, Joseph's Egyptian garb, Mrs. Potiphar's attire, and the aforementioned 60's Go Go Joseph costumes. Choreography by Olivia Prawdzik was also in good taste, correct for the music styles and very pleasing to watch throughout the show.

I wish the kids had been seen better and used more in the musical numbers. I actually cringed when they came in so loud when Joseph was singing Close Every Door. You probably can't fix it now, but they really broke the mood of the number. (On a postive note, they looked so cute in their costumes and were so well-behaved sitting so long during the show.)

Cast and crew, you have a great show and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thanks for a memorable evening of good theatre.

I did not forget one person who really made this all come together. I saved her for last. Sara Holton, you were amazing. I cannot say enough about you, so just know that you were everything you should be in the part. Brava, Brava, Brava!!!!!

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, by By Burt Shelove and Larry Gelbart, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Musicals Need Singers
Tuesday, May 4, 2004
2.0
I submitted a review two weeks ago which never showed up here so here goes again, hopefully with better luck this time.

I agree with most of the reviews for this show. I found it of an amateur status because of its lack of musical direction. You really need a musical director when you do a musical and this show is proof postive.

Also it is not a good idea to settle for non-singers in critical roles, Hero and Hysterium are the main targets here. Although Philia, Miles and Pseudolus held it together, the show suffered much from the lack of vocal talent. Kudos to the accompanist who stayed with the singers no matter how far from the score they strayed.

Even poor singers can usually learn correct rhythms and memorize their words. Please Hero and Hysterium, do NOT tryout for another principal singing role until you seek some vocal training.

I totally enjoyed the sets, pace, outright drama and sense of chaos which is critical to Forum, but the music is so integral to the plot that I wished the non-singers could just recite the songs instead of having me to dread them each time. Direction: A+, Music Direction: F-.

It truly was a mixed bag, watching some actors who clearly got it and others who never established a clear character. Please, Domina should have some dimension other than screaming the first Act. What was Hysterium going for? Gay, Bi, Confused gender? God only knows... On the other hand, Philia, Pseudolus, Miles, Senex, Lycus and the Proteans (yea, Proteans) stayed in character throughout. I would have loved to see more of the Proteans, even if not scripted. (I do not know them and am not connected in any way to the Proteans ... just enjoyed their performance.)

Congratulations to Robert Hadaway for his vision and direction on this project. Get some help musically from someone who knows his/her stuff and you will have a dynamite combination.

I would have rated this show much higher had it not been a musical. In this case, it deserved the 2 I bestowed.

Aside to OD: Senex IS scripted to open Act 2. Shame on you for not checking that fact before questioning it in your original review. You are very critical of others who make such mistakes.

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