‘Dreamcoat’ is a dream production


With every possible musical choreography included and peppy, vibrant songs, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is a fun night of theater for the whole family.

Kid-friendly “Dreamcoat” is one of those productions that conjures up dreams of a big stage with thunderous applause.

Director and choreographer Rochelle Martin had ambitious plans for the production, with all-hands-on-deck dance numbers and bravado voices abound.

With nearly two-dozen performers on stage at times, the choreography was challenging, but clearly intended for visual awe as the movements were dramatic and defined.

Cast members managed well to portray a cohesive unit while carving out their specific characters, despite the limited distinctions in the actual script.

The 11 brothers of Joseph were farcical, opportunistic, celebratory, and repentant in their different numbers, but always with a strong sense of camaraderie.

The John Mazzarella set design and Ronald R. Green III costume duo once again delivered in transporting the audience to another realm, and in “Dreamcoat”’s world, quite a few contrasting realms.

Distinguishing the different locations, Mazzarella and Green had harmonious color palettes, from earthen tones in Joseph’s hometown to the Art Deco black of Potiphar, to the Golden Age of Vegas in Egypt.

The kookiness of a Bible story mixed in with secular and cinematic settings is a challenge because it can get too hokey and look tacked on, but Mazzarella and Green were able to craft world building to enhance the story’s morals with the unexpected aesthetics.

In the title role as Joseph, Will Brennan was charismatic as his father’s Golden Boy, but transformed into the seething revenge-seeker with humanity and deference to the character.

In one of the final scenes, where he embraces brother Benjamin, Brennan’s acting skills become quite apparent as he captures the contrition with his subtle body movements and facial expression of pained love.

Voice-wise, Brennan carried the lead role well and swelled at just the right moments of his numbers to highlight the desperation or elation felt by his character.

Particularly in his prison cell, Brennan’s voice remained clear and strong, but broken in spirit.

Emily Gates as the narrator was splendid, as she managed to shine with her spectacular voice that had Idina Menzel flourishes throughout the performance, but with enough generosity as an actor to share the spotlight when her character interacts with the ensemble.

James O’Connor as Pharaoh, a sort of broken-down Elvis, provided such comedic moments and levity to the story.

Dance captain Steffy Jolin (who must be cast as a lead in another production) gave a standout performance in her delicate and deliciously seductive Apache dance. Her gentle grace and formidable aura are always such a treasure on stage and always leaves the audience wanting more.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” will play until April 6 at the CM Performing Arts Center in Oakdale.


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