Playhouse Merced’s first production of the new season, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, based on the Biblical story of Joseph and the coat of many colors found in the Book of Genesis, is a lot of fun.
The musical’s rousing score, which includes country western, calypso, bubblegum pop, and rock ’n’ roll, the brilliant colors and designs of the set, and its humorous aspects, such as an Elvis-like Pharaoh, combine to entertain and delight audience members.
In the story, Joseph (played by Rocky Lein), the favorite son of Jacob, a shepherd (played by Phil Buckle), has the ability to interpret dreams that can foretell what will happen in the future.
Joseph receives a special multi-colored coat from Jacob and then tells his brothers that he had a dream showing a time when they will bow down to him as their ruler.
Motivated by jealousy and to stop this from happening, Joseph’s brothers decide to kill him, but instead sell him into slavery.
They rip his coat into pieces and smear it with goat’s blood, and then tell their father, Jacob, that a wild animal devoured Joseph.
Meanwhile, Joseph is taken from Canaan to Egypt and thrust into slavery. But eventually through hard work and his ability to interpret dreams, Joseph becomes a trusted friend of the Pharoah, an Elvis-like character (played by Ryan Dziadosz).
Will Joseph’s dream that he will one day rule over his brothers come true? Will the family members ever be reconciled?
To find out, it is best to see the musical.
The production is colorfully and brilliantly performed by over 30 cast members, many of whom hilariously play the roles of animals.
Everything in the play is from the script and nothing was added or subtracted, except the part where Ryan Dziadosz as the Pharoah/Elvis engages with the audience members for several minutes, which is his own interpretation.
During an interview with the Times, Playhouse Merced Director Corey Strauss said, “I designed the show, and Niecy-Rae Irby and I painted the set design. Cindy Strauss and I costumed the show.”
He added, “I have directed this show a few times before, about once a decade. I love this show. I added many more costumes since last time 10 years ago here at Playhouse Merced.”