Friday, October 12, 2007

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

While I was not permitted to review Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, by the Davis Musical Theatre Company's Young People's Theatre, because the newspaper policy is to not review children's theatre, I decided to write and post a review anyway.

This is an amazing production. Credit goes to MJ Seminoff & Emily Jo Seminoff, who directed, choreographed, and designed the sets and costumes. The sets reflected the shoestring budget, but when you have a cast of 47 talented kids on stage, you can forgive a bit of skimping in the set department.

Katie Quiring, Tyler Warren and Erin Carpenter also helped with choreography and the cheography is one of the strengths of this production, as each scene gave such a delightful "tableau," each different from the one before. Partly this was due to the size of the cast, but much was due not only to the design of the numbers, but the crispness of the performers. (I particularly liked Joseph's brothers popping their heads in from the side of the stage.)

Costumes were inventive, using things that kids would wear anyway (matching jeans and tennis shoes) with a bit of "costume" on top and delightful headgear. Joe's coat, designed by Jez Cicero was one of the best I've seen in prior community theatre productions I've reviewed. Truly spectacular.

As for the cast, it was exemplary. The role of the narrator was divided up among three singers, Caitlin Humphreys, Kennedy Wenning and Rebecca Rudy, who blended well and who each had good solo voices.

Chris Peterson, as Joseph, was simply outstanding. His bio in the lobby says he has been performing since age 6 and has done 30 shows and his experience shows. Not only is he completely at home on stage, but he has a terrific voice that never wavered once.

Joseph's brothers gave great performances. I don't know why, after so many years with the high school jazz choir, but I'm always surprised to find a chorus of young men, in their mid-teens, who are comfortable singing and dancing on stage, and who do it better than some adult choruses I've seen over the years. Little Matthew Fyhrie, as Benjamin, was adorable. In some ways he reminded me of puppy Mabel, stuck in with all the big guys, but mimicking their every move and doing it very well.

Soloists in various numbers, Nora Unkel in "One More Angel," Mark Lillya in "Caanan Days" and Meek Craig in "Benjamin Calypso" did a great job. When Craig reprised her song during the curtain call, her movements were so fluid she appeared to have no bones at all.

Staging for "One More Angel" was such fun, with Noel Parente playing the goat the brothers slaughter to convince their father of Joseph's death.

Andrew Lemons was somewhat sabotaged, as both father Jacob and the Pharaoh, by a faulty microphone which prevented his voice from being heard most of the time. Still as the Elvis-Pharaoh he gyrated nicely and deserved the screams of the girls.

The Ishmaelites, Alex Totah, Danika Carlisle, Ella Gallawa, Guiliana Salerno, Jumi Nanakida, Eric Nishiyama, Maria Martinelli, Matt Lemons and Sally Li were adorable, all being the youngest members in the cast, all made up with long beards.

By any standards, adult or children's theatre, this was a terrific show. The theatre was nearly full tonight and is almost sold out for the three remaining performances, so I guess word has got about and people are coming to see it, even without a review!

No comments: