The Old Testament hasn’t changed since Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaborated on “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
But Broadway time is a lot different than Biblical time. Webber and Rice wrote the show in 1968, and it was crying out for some 21st century tweaks. No wonder the creative team behind the national tour arriving at the Saroyan Theatre on Tuesday, April 12, for a two-night run, decided to make some minor updates.
Here’s a rundown:
▪ The director: Andy Blankenbuehler, whose Broadway star burns red-hot after choreographing the smash hit “Hamilton,” was tapped to direct and choreograph the new national tour of “Joseph” when it went out on the road in 2014. The first tour, an Actors Equity production that played in major cities, featured “American Idol” alums Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo in the leading roles of Joseph and the Narrator. The second national tour, which launched in September, features a non-Equity cast but the same direction, choreography and design. (JC McCann and Laura Helm play Joseph and the Narrator in this version.)
▪ Apple product placement: One of the changes is a prologue, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. A young man is dreaming in bed of wonderful things, courtesy projections on a big screen. He awakens, and “scenes of him dancing through high school, then college – complete with a hoodie and MacBook – merge into a modern dance assembly line of dancers in monotonous corporate suits.” It turns out he’s just one more of those suits. But what about his dreams? (A play on the song “Any Dream Will Do.”) Then we transition into the tale of Joseph.
▪ The storyline: From there, the highly stylized Biblical-based narrative unfolds, with favorite-son Joseph getting shipped off by his jealous brothers to a life in Egypt that turns out sweeter than anyone could have imagined.
▪ The choreography: Modern hip-hop movements have been incorporated in this new production – no surprise considering Blankenbuehler’s work on “Hamilton.”
▪ The design: The production makes extensive use of projections.
▪ The history: Webber and Rice originally wrote “Joseph” for a school project in England, and the first performance was 15 minutes in length. It’s become one of the most performed musicals worldwide, and it’s performed extensively by high schools, community theaters and an occasional professional tour to this day.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 13
- Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St.
- www.broadwayinfresno.com, 800-745-3000