Sunday, May 26, 2002

Joseph and his amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (JCC/Halle Theatre)

Halle’s 'DREAMCOAT' aimed at the kids and their parents

Every production of 'JOSEPH AND HIS TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT' is uniquely. Because it is a series of songs, with no script or stage directions, each director does his or her own thing. I’ve seen the show at least 15 times and I’ve never seen the same concept.

Years ago Beck Center did a smashing professional-level adult-centered production starring local actor/director Rob Gibb. Playhouse Square brought in a professional production several years ago that was so outstanding that it made the Biblical story glisten. Last year Berea Summer Theatre did a production which starred the always terrific Craig Recko as Joseph. Now, the Halle Theatre has taken its turn.

Director Jacqi Loewy decided to make her production kid-oriented. It is short, has some nice gimmicks, incorporates a large children’s chorus, and is aimed at the parents and grandparents of the children in the cast and the less-sophisticated theatre goer. My five and six -year old grandson's (Alex and Noah Berko) laughed when the brothers turned their “butts” toward the audience and for some odd reason found the prison scene to be “fun.” Go figure!

Andrew Kay sings well and makes an acceptable Joseph. Sheri Levy Gross, portraying the Narrator, has a nice voice. Tom Wang’s Pharaoh needed more abandonment in his Elvis imitation. The very talented Greg Violand seemed wasted with the minor roles of Jacob and Potiphar. The kids chorus sings well and are bad can that be?

Don’t go to see this production expecting anything close to a polished show. Take your kids, enjoy the wonderful music and expose them to the theatre. It’s family theatre. No one even minded the exits for “potty” breaks by some younger audience members or the kid who wandered the aisles for most of the production.

Capsule judgement: As a cute blue-haired elderly lady sitting next to me said as we exited, “It’s a nice show.”