It's no surprise that patrons overwhelmingly chose "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as the Alhambra Theatre's summer show.
Productions of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical are known for delivering this biblical parable through a range of musical genres, colorful costumes and sets that bring ancient Egypt's sensibilities to life.
The Alhambra's production does all this, and delivers it with a vibrancy that carries the audience to a feel-good vibe sure to satisfy even patrons who voted for other shows.
This collective high does take time to build, though, since Joseph's story begins with prophetic dreams that lead his father â€¨to bestow a coat of many colors on the favored son. In one of his first songs, "Joseph's Coat," lead Alex Jorth sounds a little out of his element as his voice gets lost in the crowd of other performers careening in and out of the piece.
Jorth's effortless acting quickly refocuses the audience's attention on the character of Joseph and builds a cohesiveness that allows the seamlessness storytelling of a movie.
That storytelling is finely supported by narrator Jessica Booth, whose smooth, rich voice is the common thread tying together country, reggae and other musical styles throughout the show.
As Joseph's story unfolds before a group of children on stage, his jealous brothers conspire to sell him into slavery in ancient Egypt. Memorable numbers include "One More Angel in Heaven," a bouncy country tune sung by Dustin Maxwell as brother Levi, and "Poor, Poor Pharaoh/Song of the King." Sung by Andrew Conners, it's nearly a show-stealer. Egypt and Elvis would never mix anywhere else, or exhibit such hip shakes. Conners turns up the excitement when he pauses the music to flirt with guests in the front seats.
Other crowd-pleasers include Damian Barray's performance of "Benjamin Calypso," delivered with full Rastafarian flair, and the finale "Any Dream Will Do," as Joseph's story reaches its upbeat ending.
The cherry on top is most certainly the "Megamix," in which performers sing brief portions of their respective pieces, all leading up to Joseph in his shining technicolor dreamcoat.
The plot is likely too sophisticated for younger audiences, though it does offer universal themes and catchy music. In spite of its purely modern methods, this biblical storyline is still quite cohesive and definitely boasts some of the brightest colors and songs to hit the Alhambra stage.