As the house lights were turned off at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis on the opening night of the musical, "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," this writer had reservations about the entertainment of a stage play containing no scripted dialog, in which the performance would rest almost totally on music and choreography. However, as the stage lights came on and the show began to gain momentum, those reservations were soon dispelled, and this writer was drawn into the biblical story of Joseph, his coat of many colors and his amazing journey through slave-hood and his God-given ability to interpret dreams.
The show's director and choreographer, Andy Blankenbueler demonstrates to the audiences of this Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber collaboration that a story can be told in music and choreography, and leave the audience with the pleasure of having watched and listened to a fabulously entertaining show with exceptional lighting that leaves one in awe of what they have seen.
The cast of this musical seem in almost flawless form as a singing/dancing unit that allows one to follow Joseph through this trials, tribulations and final consolation at the end of his journey.
Diana DeGarmo has a very demanding role as narrator, who must sing her way through the entire show. She is well up to the challenge and performs outstandingly, using her beautiful voice and in-sync movements. Her real life husband, Ace Young stars as the journey bound interpreter of dreams, Joseph, who is sold into slave-hood by his jealous brothers who are sick of him being their father's favorite son. He too, has a very demanding role which he seems delighted to perform and is right on with the choreography.
The other cast members of this musical are also very talented and carry out their roles in splendid song and movement as they bring the arrangements to life. A favorite of this writer was the second act performance of "Those Cannan Days," in which Joseph's 11 brothers have to divide one rat among themselves as a very meager meal. Their precision movements with knives, forks and metal pans at the dinner table is a humorous and very polished part of the performance.
Of all of the songs, singers and total choreography, the show topper was Ryan Williams, who received the most accolades from the audience with his performance as the Pharaoh in "Poor Poor Pharaoh"/"Song of the King." His performance, which mimicked another king, Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock and Roll," brought the house down. He was able to give the Memphis audience a "Rockabilly" romp through Egypt, which fittingly is the home to Memphis, Tennessee's own namesake, the ancient city of Memphis, Egypt.
DeGarmo and Young performed a romantically charged duet, "Any Dream Will Do," as the show was drawing to a close. This number highlighted the abilities of the two singers working together and their combined charm and talent that make them stars.
Just when the audience thinks the show is over, the entire cast mesmerizes you with their finale, the supercharged number "Megamix," in which lighting and video are blended with a combination of different high spirited dance styles to make the finale a true "Finale," theatre style.
This writer and lover of great theatrical performances rates "Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as an outstandingly orchestrated and choreographed musical, whose cast leaves the audience with the undeniable feeling of complete theatrical satisfaction and the appetite to see the show again and again.
"Joseph And the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" will continue its run through April 27, 2014 at the Orpheum in Memphis. Show dates, times and ticket information can be found online at the official Orpheum Theatre website. Tickets can also be purchased at the Orpheum box office (901.525.3000), the ticket counter at The Booksellers at Laurelwood and all Ticketmaster centers (901.743.ARTS).
Please join this writer, actor and theatre reviewer at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee for all the great Broadway shows and other outstanding performances throughout the year. Also, Please continue to watch for other Examiner articles by Gerry Glenn Jones that cover the performing arts in the Memphis metropolitan area, as well as surrounding venues. Click on the subscribe link near the top of this page, and you will be notified by email each time a new article is published. Also, remember they are free. Please share this information with friends and family, and "Let's support the Memphis Metropolitan Performing Arts."