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Sunset’s ‘Joseph’ raises the bar with complete show

 

 


   
By Julie McHale - TimeOut Theater Critic

March 20, 2014

   
       

Marty L. McNamee plays Joseph in the Sunset Playhouse’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 
Submitted photo

WAUKESHA - Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice launched their sterling careers in 1968 with  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat.”

Since then, they have composed an array of stunning and very popular musicals. At present, the Sunset Playhouse is offering a very impressive production of this collaborative team’s first successful show.

Director L. Tommy Lueck and company have much to be proud of here. With a cast of 28 participants and a chorus of 18 children, the stage is filled with colorfully costumed performers with energy and strong vocals. It is a delight from start to finish.

To review the biblical story, in case you haven’t picked up the Old Testament lately, Jacob had 12 sons, the second youngest of whom was Joseph, his favorite. To show him his special favor, Jacob gave him a beautiful technicolor coat, which filled the other 11 brothers with jealousy. Revenge followed, and Joseph was sold to Egyptian traders, where he became the personal servant of Potiphar.

Potiphar’s wife later made a move on Joseph, but he refused her advances. In anger, she told her husband that Joseph had tried to rape her, so he was imprisoned. Beware of a spurned woman!

When times got tough in Canaan, the brothers had heard that Joseph was thriving in Egypt because he had the power to interpret dreams (his ticket out of prison), which came in handy when Pharaoh needed some help with his. So the brothers went to Egypt soliciting their younger brother’s help. What follows is an interesting scenario.

There are many strong actors and vocalists in key roles in this cast. Pamela Niespodziani is a marvelous narrator. Her voice soars and her diction is perfect. 

Marty L. McNamee is a mesmerizing Joseph. His demeanor is perfect and his voice stellar. The fact that he’s gorgeous doesn’t hurt either.

Paul Burkard as Reuben and Dominic Russo as Judah also stand out in their solo numbers, “Those Canaan Days” and “Benjamin Calypso,” respectively.

“The Song of the King” is electrically executed by Parker Cristan as Pharaoh.  Elvis is back. Sometimes it was hard to understand his words, but his styling is spot on.

The mosaic of musical styles, the sumptuous costuming by Dana Brzezinski and Joanne Cunningham, the spectacular lighting design by Aaron Schmidt, the choreography of Reginald T. Kurschner, the music of Donna Kummer all work together beautifully. It is always a joy to experience such a professional production at a community theater. It proves again that there is a plethora of talent among us and people are willing to share it with us. 

Don’t miss this one.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” runs through April 6 at the Sunset Playhouse, 800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove. For show times and tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit www.sunsetplayhouse.com.