You’re Doing Fine: “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Directed and Choreographed by Susan M. Chebookjian
Musical Direction by Dan Rodriguez

June 8th – 19th
Reagle Music Theatre
617 Lexington Street
Waltham, MA
Reagle on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Waltham, MA) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is easily my favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.   Full of camp and cheese with loads of catchy, singable songs, it’s pretty much everything I want in a musical.  As a North-of-Bostonian, I was so excited to see a production of Joseph outside the city limits at the Reagle.

The talent on this stage is off the charts.  Andrew Giordano walks away with the show in hand as Pharaoh, it’s only a pity that we have to wait until the second act to witness his incredible performance.  Peter Mill plays a serviceable Joseph with a voice perhaps even more incredible than his amazing colored coat.  Ayla Brown has the pipes of an angel, though the part of Narrator is a touch north of her range (she manages this complication well, with plenty of support from musical director Dan Rodriguez).  The chorus of children is adorable, talented, and well behaved; comporting themselves like the professionals with whom they share the stage.  Perhaps the greatest thrill of this show was seeing actors from all walks of their career contribute to the production; from children, to students, to equity-card-carrying-professionals.

Unfortunately, it seems like Susan Chebookjian was in a bit over her head as a director.  Despite the incredible talent onstage, the actors were often left to their own devices to wander the stage, attempt to get involved in the scene from their directorial-given position, or just kind of stand and sing their part.  The show is undoubtedly and overwhelming piece of vibrant color, but Chebookjian just didn’t give it quite the kick it needed to thrive.  The choreography was predictable and stagnant, not providing enough interest to carry the show or enough life to let it thrive.

Costumes by Goodspeed Musicals and David Joseph were uneven.  Some were simply incredible; Pharaoh’s court looked visually stunning.  There were strange elements to these costumes though; most notably the footwear.  Joseph ran around in a pair of workboots spray-painted gold to match his otherwise fully “period” Egyptian ensemble.  The brothers wore what were obviously cowboy boots, Canaan’s apparent footwear of choice.  All the members of Pharaoh’s court wore strange blue/white tennis sneakers that kind of looked like Crocs and not in any sort of “good” way.  The narrator looked like she had been instructed to bring clothes from her own wardrobe to supplement the theatrical display.

The sets Peter Colao and Richard Schreiber were astounding; pieces perfectly created ambiance in the zany world of Joseph as they helped to navigate us from place to place.  They were multi-functional, and lent the production depth and beauty.  Props by Lauren Corcuera were similarly on point, giving the actors what they needed when they needed it and looking cohesive with the world while maintaining visual interest.

On the whole, the Reagle puts up a serviceable production of Joseph.  If it has been a concert version, it would have been great.  The show needed just a bit more kick into the realm of camp to fully embrace the queues that Webber’s text gives.

That said, it’s worth going to see if only to come to the realization that what you need in your darkest moments is a chorus of Go-go clad musical thespians in Technicolor costumes to come sing about how well you’re doing despite the current predicament you’ve found yourself in.  Go-go-go-you; you’ll make it some day (just listen to the upbeat chorus).

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