The Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown is bringing the biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors to life in a wash of color and musical styles through “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
The show marks the theater’s first in-house production, involving 74 young performers in a well-choreographed and engaging show.
“The biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors has always been one of my favorite musicals, as it provides the perfect combination of high-energy musical numbers with a simply great story and message,” Director Cathy Roy writes in the program notes.
“It has served as a great tool throughout our rehearsal process to educate our young performers about honest storytelling and character development while challenging them to take on the demands of a complex musical score and high-energy choreography and staging.”
Justin Anthony Long, who portrayed Joseph, had a bit of a role reversal, as he usually is a musical theater and improv teacher at the Mayo. Outside Morristown, he recently played a featured role in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” due in movie theaters in November, and co-writes and co-stars in the Broadway web series “City of Dreams.”
The noted lay theologian Verna Dozier once called Joseph “probably the most annoying teenager that the world has ever seen.” Daddy Jacob’s favorite son, he hung out at home when his brothers were working in the field, sported a fabulous multi-hued coat from his father and literally had dreams of grandeur. Perhaps it’s no accident his older brothers decided to bump off their annoying sibling and make it look like an accidental killing by a wild animal in the desert.
But luck was with Joseph, who instead was sold to passing traders and brought to Egypt as a slave. There, he served Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s guard, until the officer’s wife took a little too much interest in him, and Joseph wound up in prison.
Ultimately, Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams brought him to Pharaoh’s attention. Accurately predicting seven years of harvest bounty followed by seven years of famine, Joseph found himself appointed vizier – Egypt’s second in command – and overseeing food storage during the good years and rationing during the bad.
The famine drives Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to buy food. Recognizing them, Joseph first gives them a hard time – framing his youngest brother Benjamin for theft – before revealing his identity and enjoying a happy family reunion.
In the show, the performers tell the tale with a few modern twists, including a cowboy and cowgirl hoedown as the brothers rejoice when they rid themselves of Joseph, a Caribbean-style song complete with a limbo stick and an Elvis-impersonating Pharaoh, who wears a big P on his back and proclaims, “It’s good to be king!”
The show at the Mayo concludes its run at 7:30 tonight, June 2, 2013. Tickets cost $15.
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