It’s very rare when a director takes a rock-solid, classic musical and writes new bookends for it, but Venice Theatre's Brad Wages (director/choreographer), has placed a cherry on top of the psychedelic sundae that is “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Wages coupled the Make-A-Wish Foundation and its mission to grant dreams come true to children with life-threatening illnesses with the theme of the play, “Any Dream Will Do.” The result adds a touching tribute to all caring dreamers and underscores the contemporary relevance of the 1982 Broadway production, which was nominated for numerous Tony Awards.
The play, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andre Lloyd Webber, is based on the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis. It was first recorded as an album in 1969, and was advertised as a theatrical follow-up to the ultra successful Lloyd Webber and Rice piece, Jesus Christ Superstar, years later.
Venice Theatre’s current production is wonderfully exuberant fun. The enormous cast boasts over two-dozen members, most of whom are teenagers. These kids are adorable in their performance of the ambitious, explosive choreography and their energy creates something akin to a joyful riot on stage. The scenic design by Christopher A. D. Parrish adds to the fun with clever elements like a beeping sheepcycle.
The most outstanding aspect of this work is the variety of styles used by Lloyd Webber, including parodies of French ballads, Elvis-inspired rock and roll, Western, 1920s Charleston, Calypso and disco. Music Director Michelle Kasanofsky delivers on all fronts. Costume designers Stephanie Gift and Becky Evans, and all their volunteers, went all out with individual costumes for each of these varying styles, plus more.
The amazing cast includes Savannah Sinclair as Narrator; Zach Herman as Joseph; Neil Kasanofsky as Jacob/Potiphar; Joseph Cross as Reuben; Robert Plummer as Simeon/Baker; Terry Slaughter as Levi; David C. Tennal as Naphtali; Charlie Kollar as Issacar; Teri DeNiro as Asher; Kiersten White as Dan; Christina Dillow as Zebulon; Elizabeth Clark as Gad; Josue Rivera as Benjamin; Rachael Henry as Judah/Bulter; Megan Starr Bartek as Mrs. Potiphar; Kristofer Geddie as Pharaoh; as well as, Sarah Blinkhorn, Allie Campbell, Charlotte Crowley, Elizabeth Leone, Whitney Olivia Corey Owens, Allison Pickens, Skylar Selitti as the Wives; and a children’s chorus of Case Berkery, Kiley Berkery, Leah Henry, Alexia King, Nate Oss, Ava Podewitz, Logan Schultz and Hannah Swain.