“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at CVLT is Bubbly Family Fare
By Marjorie Preston
Currently playing at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (CVLT) is the old chestnut “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This production of the musical hams it up and glams it up with innovative choices, costumes and pacing, making it a more lively choice than most “Josephs” out there.
In “Joseph,” the Narrator (Alexandria Marzullo) tells the story of Joseph (John Kolar), given a coat of many colors by his father to show his love for his special boy. When his eleven brothers hear of this, their jealousy moves them to try to kill Joseph and then eventually sell him into slavery.
However, Joseph is an enterprising, educated young man with the power to interpret dreams, and he rises literally from a jail cell to advisor to the Pharoah of Egypt (Jim Marzullo) overnight when he predicts a famine and moves to save the people of Egypt from certain death.
Kolar plays Joseph as a giddy eternal optimist, always looking past problems to a bright future he believes is right around the corner. The beaming Marzullo shows great flexibility in the role of narrator.
Highlights of the varied musical stylings include the Western-infused “One More Angel in Heaven,” the innovative staging and candlelit singing of children in “Close Every Door,” and the toe-tapping, literally go-go “Go, Go, Go Joseph” performed by the cast in psychedelic 60s mini-dresses and go-go boots. This show also incorporates tiny Elvis impersonators in “Pharaoh’s Dream Explained,” offers a sad, French-flavored song, “Those Canaan Days,” (featuring CVLT mainstay Eric Oswald as the funny Simeon) and a calypso number as well.
Director Michael Rogan keeps the show moving quickly – the audience is in and out in an hour and a half – and has chosen a strong Narrator and Joseph in Marzullo and Kolar. Set and Lighting Designer Edmond Wolff has created a vibrant orange set with Egyptian gods, pillars, sphinxes and palm fronds. Several levels allow the audience to see the large cast easily. Jen Justice has choreographed another fun show (and also capably plays Potiphar’s Wife). Harold Crawford’s varied and eye-popping costumes deserve a nod, as well.
Perhaps if “Any Dream Will Do,” you won’t be choosy about which version of “Joseph” you see. But CVLT’s version is above average – quick, bubbly family fare with flair.
“Joseph” runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays Nov. 25, Dec. 2 and 16 through Dec. 16 at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, 40 River Street, Chagrin Falls. For tickets, call (440) 247-8955 or visit www.cvlt.org. For tickets to the December 2 matinee only, a benefit for the non-profit organization WomenSafe helping victims of domestic violence, please call (440) 285-3741.