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Ah yes. We come to one of my family’s favourite feel good musicals, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lyrics by Tim Rice. In fact it recently was put on by 5-Star Theatricals in Thousand Oaks starring Patrick Cassidy and Adam Hollick.
The musical is based on the Biblical story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his elder brothers and after much trial and tribulation he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh when God helped him interpret his dreams about an upcoming famine. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice take numerous liberties with the story including having younger son Benjamin participate in the plot to sell Joseph when in fact he was a child kept at home at the time and in some versions it is made to look as though Joseph is an active and willing participant in adultery with Potipher’s wife when in fact he fled from the scene innocent. For a more accurate interpretation check out King of Dreams with Ben Affleck (vocals by David Campbell) from the same people who brought us Prince of Egypt.
It is the creative choices made by Andrew Lloyd Webber to use different musical styles including parodies of French ballads (“Those Canaan Days”), Elvis-inspired rock and roll (“Song of the King”), western music (“One More Angel In Heaven”), 1920s (“Potiphar”), jazz (“Joseph’s Dreams”), and 1970s (“Go, Go, Go Joseph”) and my favourite, Calypso (“Benjamin Calypso”), that makes this musical a standout and fan favourite.
In 1999 a direct to video production of Joseph…Dreamcoat starred Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, and Sir Richard Attenborough, Joan Collins and Alex Jennings. The cast is exceptionally strong — just don’t expect Attenborough and Collins to be singing geniuses and you’ll be happy — featuring numerous cameos including Attenborough as Jacob, Collins as Potipher’s Wife, Jennings as The Butler, Ian McNeice as Potipher and Christopher Biggins as The Baker. Donny Osmond played Joseph in the Original Canadian Cast, Robert Torti was Pharaoh in the Original LA Cast, and scene stealer Gerry McIntyre was Judah on Broadway.
And for those who love reality shows you might enjoy searching YouTube for clips of Any Dream Will Do the Andrew Lloyd Webber + BBC casting show looking for a new Joseph with Graham Norton as the MC.
Now do yourself a favour and check out my favourite number — “Benjamin Calypso”.