You know it’s going to be a bad day when your very own brothers sell you to a “hairy bunch of Ishmaelites.”
This weekend, the Waxahachie Community Theatre is presenting “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat,” with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is based on the Biblical story of Joseph, but trust me – this is NOT the way you learned it in Sunday school.
As you have come to expect from Waxahachie Community Theatre, the cast for this production is excellent. In an interesting twist, there is no spoken dialogue. Everything is sung. The story is told in song by Narrator, Amber Perez. Amber has a very strong voice, and you will enjoy her telling of this ancient tale.
Jacob has 12 sons and Joseph is his favorite. Not only is Joseph the child of Jacob’s old age, he is also the child of Jacob’s favorite wife. That might not be so bad, but Jacob makes no attempt to hide his favoritism toward Joseph; and Joseph is not all that gracious towards his brothers, either. The situation is made much worse when Jacob gives Joseph the aforementioned “Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat.”
The coat is “red and yellow and green and brown and blue…” just to name a few of its many colors. I cannot list them all because I’m limited to 750 words for this review. It looks like an explosion in an Easter egg factory. It’s worth the price of admission just to see this coat!
Joseph is played by Chris Wagner. Long-time fans of the Waxahachie Community Theatre will recognize Chris, who has played a number of leading roles here. And his rich baritone voice is just right for Joseph.
After Joseph is sold to that “hairy bunch of Ishmaelites,” the brothers return home and tell Jacob, played by Kevin Sanders, that Joseph has been killed by a wild beast. They even bring back his colorful coat smeared with goat’s blood as proof. (By the way, there is a role in this show for “Goat Thrower” – bet you never saw that before!) Jacob goes into mourning, and the brothers and their wives celebrate with raucous song and dance.
The Ishmaelites travel on to Egypt, where Joseph is sold into slavery. There he finds himself working as a personal servant in the household of Potiphar, an official in Pharaoh’s court.
Things are going about as well as could be expected for Joseph, considering the circumstances, until Mrs. Potiphar, played sultrily by Cheryl Langley, takes a hankering for this handsome young lad. Joseph tries manfully to resist but she will not be resisted. One day, Potiphar comes home at a most inopportune time, and Joseph is sent to the dungeon.
Now things are really looking grim. In the dungeon, Joseph strikes up a friendship with Pharaoh’s butler, played by Allen Andrus, and his baker, played by Michael Green. Somehow they have gotten crossways with Pharaoh and he has tossed them into the hoosegow. They each have a dream, which Joseph interprets for them. Joseph tells the butler that, based on his dream, he will soon be restored to his position. Joseph asks the butler to remember him when he has been freed. But for the baker, Joseph has bad news: his execution date has already been set.
Sure enough, the butler is soon restored to his position and the baker is sent off to his death, leaving Joseph alone again in the dark dungeon. Will the butler remember him to Pharaoh? Will Joseph be freed from the dungeon and returned to his work in the palace? Will he ever be reconciled with his family? Well, that is all in Act II. You will just have to come see for yourself.
And I recommend that you do come see for yourself. This is a fun performance for the whole family with lots of song and dance. There is even smoke and colored lights. Every musical number is in a different style, from Country/Western to Elvis. The characters are all well cast. And I say again: seeing that coat is worth the price of admission!
All performances are at the Chautauqua Auditorium in Waxahachie:
• 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7
• 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 8
Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for seniors/students and will be available at the door. It truly is an amazing show!
Bill Weatherford is a resident of Ellis County and frequent contributor to the Daily Light.