It had been years since I last saw a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Back then, I was still in my early teenage years and was watching a high school’s interpretation of the musical.
The show is essentially a musical retelling of the Biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.
Both the original story and the plot of the flashy musical bother me, but I won’t focus on those.
Instead, I’ll focus on the choices of the director and choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler, and the choices of the actors.
To start, I was very impressed by all of the uses of technology during the introduction (and the whole show). They made very good use of curtain screens and projectors to help introduce you to the setting of the show. Ryan was extremely impressed with the use of the projectors.
The costumes were spectacular, as to be expected with a Broadway performance, but they were a bit too sexy to be deemed kid-friendly in my opinion. Most of the women wore skirts or pants with what, at best, can be described as bikini tops and, at worst, can be described as bras. Many of the male characters went shirtless.
Regardless, the songs are catchy, and the acting was well-done.
But, as can happen with live theatre, things can go wrong.
Part of the way through the show, an announcement came on to say that, due to technical difficulties, the show would be paused. They then lowered the curtain.
During the announcement, the actors froze, and you couldn’t tell there was anything wrong before the announcement.
During the pause, Daniel and I discussed our theories of what went wrong, and we explained to Ryan about how live theatre differs from movies and TV shows in the fact that things can go wrong that can’t be edited out.
It turned out that a piece of the set that was supposed to be lowered into a table (and eventually a bed) failed to lower.
Once they figured everything out, they restarted the scene and continued on.
Here’s where things got uncomfortable (spoilers)…
So Joseph gets seduced by the wife of his master. Fine. Things happen.
What made it uncomfortable was that two people (one that was very scantily-clad) were on a bed, straddled each other, and then were covered in a bed sheet so they can kick around under the sheets. That is a bit too sexy and way too obvious for it to be called a family-friendly show. It’s not family-friendly.
A five or six year old may not know what’s going on, but an eleven year old knew that what was going on was something he shouldn’t be seeing.
As adults, my husband and I were uncomfortable with watching the scene. I don’t know what Daniel did, but both Ryan and I covered our eyes.
Ryan even called them out on it. He said, “I thought this was supposed to be a kid-friendly show.”
We thought so, too, as we had looked into reviews of the current production. Yeah, they mentioned some sexiness and that the seduction part was a bit more obvious than it needed to be, but we didn’t think it would be that bad, since there were a TON of kids there. Plus, the news and actors had been reporting it was very kid-friendly.
Moving along, there was one other technical difficulty, but they didn’t stop the show for it. During the song “Benjamin Calypso,” the microphone for Joesph’s brother, Judah, was covered by something, which prevented the audience from hearing him (it was like he was speaking from the far end of a very long tunnel).
After that, though, everything went well.
Even though I get that sexy costumes and dances “sell” or attract people, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is not the show to incorporate sexiness into.
It’s supposed to be a fun, catchy, and enjoyable retelling of the Biblical story for kids. Adults do not need swirly hips and abs and skin (from all of the actors, not just the women) to be entertained by the show. The show itself stands out.
Leave out the sexiness, and you have a great show with incredible usage of technology, wonderful actors, and a fun evening.