Musicals at Richter’s third show of the summer “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is as vibrant as the multi-colored coat featured in this Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Based upon the "coat of many colors" story of Joseph from the Bible's Book of Genesis, this musical tells the tale through a variety of musical genres. As the narrator sings in the Prologue, “but all that I say, can be told another way.”
The narrator played by Katie Cummings (Sandy Hook, CT) guides us through the story as the youth ensemble is interwoven into the narrative. Ms. Cummings’ interpretation of the narrator is as sweet as her voice, taking on the vocally demanding role with ease. The impressive youth ensemble members were engaging and entertaining. I was truly amazed at their vocals and enjoyed how director Jane Matson (Danbury, CT) creatively used them throughout the production. The youth ensemble was comprised of Elizabeth Clayton and Jessica and Madeline Olexy (Bethel, CT); Domenic and Lina Burns, Nicole DeMotte, Vincent Fontenelli, Abby Giansiracusa, Hannah Margiloff, Olivia and Viola Minor; Jesse Goodman and Emma Lubbers (Mahopac, NY); and Cate Hanna (Southbury, NY).
Our hero, Joseph was skillfully portrayed by Connor Spain (Bethel, CT). Of special note was the heart-touching song “Close Every Door” where he expresses the despair of being jailed for a crime he did not commit.
Among the featured performers are John Armstrong as Joseph’s father, Jacob and Potiphar with fellow Newtown resident, Lexi Tobin as Mrs. Potiphar. MAR’s Executive Director Robert Bria (Redding) channels Elvis in his cameo appearance as Pharaoh.
The hardworking female ensemble includes Beth Bria (Bethel, CT), Mary Rose Canevari (Brewster, NY), Alysia Ross (Danbury.CT), Stacy Basinger Goodman (Mahopac, NY), Susan Gelb (New Fairfield, CT), Teah Renzi (Newtown), Morgana Kate Watson (Patterson, NY), and Elizabeth Hanna (Southbury, CT).
Although I enjoyed the all the characters, I could not wait to see what the multi-talented, comedically inclined and vocally thrilling brothers of Joseph would bring to the stage next. They included Brian and Rachel Salvador (Bethel, CT); Noah Matson, Brailyn Rodriguez and Ismael Santana (Danbury, CT); Marco Fiumara (Mahopac, NY); Brian and Karl Hinger (New Milford, CT); Jack Armstrong and Jacob Schultz (Newtown, CT); and Brian Bremer (Wilton, CT).
Noah Matson’s countrified “One More Angel in Heaven,” Brian Bremer’s French Ballad (with an insane sustained note) in “Those Canaan Days” and Marco Fiumara’s rhythmic “Benjamin Calypso” were captivating and enthralling. The solo vocals were equally matched by the strong harmonies and comedic timing of their fellow brothers. This ensemble complemented each other and enhanced each of their production numbers.
I have seen this show many times in community theater and this is the first time I have understood every word of this extremely difficult and vocally challenging show. Kudos to Musical director, Tom Morris and Director, Jane Matson. The casts’ enunciation and articulation allowed Tim Rice’s beautiful lyrics to be heard as intended.
Ms. Matson is as multi-talented as her impressive cast. Her costume design was an intriguing combination of contemporary and traditional. Her choreography was clean and captivating.
Stage managers, Kris Aug (Newtown, CT) and Beth Saultz (Brewster, NY) coordinated this constantly morphing musically. The 6 piece orchestra rarely gets a break to our thorough enjoyment. Tom Morris (Conductor/Piano); Kieran Minor (Keyboard); Ariana Tullai (Reed); John Hoddinott (Guitar); Don Hurta (Bass) and Tom Morris, Jr. (Drums) provided the joy of live music!
The icing on top of this family-friendly show, is the Megamix finale. The Reprises of some of the songs were mini solo performances with the original soloist and a youth ensemble counterpart. The comradery that existed among the cast was truly evident. Not only was this a treat for these kids’ parents but the audience got a glimpse of the amazing future talent that will be taking the lead in Musical at Richter’s show in 10 years or so!
Performances run through August 6th. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students and $10 for children 10 and under. Special Thursday performances on July 28 and August 4, are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $5 for children 10 and under. Tickets may be purchased through the Musicals at Richter website (www.musicalsatrichter.org) or at the door. Grounds open at 7:15 p.m. for picnicking, with curtain at 8:30 p.m. So grab your picnic dinner, don’t forget your bug spray and bring a jacket just in case - because you don’t want to miss seeing this show under the beautiful starry sky.
Photo Credit David Henningsen Photography.