Lloyd Webber's Amazing Technicolor flops

by Beacon Staff • November 9, 2005

On his journey, Joseph shares his explanations of other people's dreams, winning him the attention and love of the Egyptian people.,"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's adaptation of the Biblical tale of young Joseph, for whom conflict arises after he is cast away from his homeland by his 11 brothers.

On his journey, Joseph shares his explanations of other people's dreams, winning him the attention and love of the Egyptian people. The Narrator, portrayed by third season "American Idol" contestant Amy Adams, tells the tale.

The show, currently playing at the Colonial Theatre, is flashy beyond belief and has more rainbows than a San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.

Portraying "young" Joseph is Patrick Cassidy-who, at the age of 43, is a little past his prime. The audience sat in anticipation to see the actor, who is possibly only well-known for being the child of legendary parents Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, as well as well as the brother of former teen heartthrob David Cassidy. As he entered, I thought "maybe the show will be amazing." When Cassidy waltzed on stage, however, the only thing I immediately noticed was his horribly dyed blond hair.

His psychotic appearance makes Cassidy appear less like a good-looking shepherd boy and more like a grown-up version of one of the Children of the Corn. His nasal voice makes Fran Drescher sound like Celine Dion, and was even more prevalent when Cassidy attempted to modify "normal notes" to scream them into "big notes." The audience's general reaction to this was similar to what it would be if they were watching a massacre.

Thankfully this slaughter of a performance is at least partially saved by the surprising work of Adams. After departing from the touring concert version of "American Idol," getting married and having a baby, this young singer has matured surprisingly well. Her performance is energetic, refreshing and professional. Adams may just be at the beginning phase of her career, provided she loses the haircut reminscent of a rebellious 16-year-old.

The supporting characters were not impressive. The role of Pharaoh, which is supposed to be played as if he were Elvis, comes off less as "The King" and more like "my uncle Marty who drank too much and dressed up as Elvis at my Bar Mitzvah."

Typically, Joseph provides a local children's choir the opportunity to perform next to older, more professional actors. In this case, the show's recruits come from the Franklin School for the Performing Arts.

The kids are cute and have good voices. They deserve credit; not only do they perform several times a week, but they also have to sit on stage with a barely clothed Cassidy.

The technical side of the production was gaudy and over the top. The music was so loud that some children in the audience cried through the entire second act, which actually ended up being comforting compared to Cassidy's "nails on a chalkboard" voice.

The show musically touches on multiple genres-from disco to western to Jamaican to basic choral numbers. It would have been better if the lyrics were understandable, but the orchestra drowned out a significant number of the lines.

The finale of the show, done Mamma Mia-style (best described as over the top squared), is nothing shocking, considering it came from the mind of Webber. It features fog machines, overly loud music, set pieces that light up and enough strobe lights to cause an epileptic seizure.

It is a shame that Broadway in Boston could not take bigger risks and bring non-mainstream shows to Beantown. Remember that "culture" stuff? Variety? How about some non-musical shows? Or anything not written by Webber?

Do not waste $25 dollars on student tickets. Instead, consider instead throwing away your money by going to see the movie Doom. At least you will not be surprised when it sucks.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be performed at the Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St., until Sun., Nov. 13. Tickets are normally $35 to $85; however, student rush tickets are available at the Colonial box office an hour before showtime.

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