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30Dec

Belton High School's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Selected Reviews

Breezy Semler
Harrisonville High School

Submitted for publication to KC Star Online

GO, GO, GO SEE THIS SHOW!

Sunday school never looked so fun! Belton High School's JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT sends the audience back to their childhood when it opens with a gaggle of children being taught a story from Genesis, specifically, the tale of Joseph, his brothers, his coat, and his dreams.

Andrew Lloyd Weber's JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is a modern take on Genesis 37-50, the tale of Joseph. Joseph is one of twelve sons born to Jacob. As Jacob's favorite son, Joseph is given an incredible gift: a luxurious and lavish golden coat. Joseph's jealous brothers sell him into slavery, shipping their young brother away to Egypt. While this story has a happy ending, it is not necessarily a tale that someone would think to pair with upbeat tunes of varying genres. However, that is exactly what Weber did, and his show has been dazzling audiences of all ages for decades.

The titular role of Joseph is played by none other than Tyler Pitts. Pitts tackles the emotional role with impressive grace, smoothly transitioning from joyous, to forlorn and lost, to cunning. Joseph cannot do this show alone however, and the outstanding narrators, played by Keshana Jones and Keriana Jefferson prove this every single time they enter the stage. These two women showcase not only their show stopping voices, but also their wonderful chemistry and total elegance. They command the stage in a way very few can.

Joseph's Brothers are an ensemble you cannot soon forget. Every member of this group has a clear character and radiates such an energy that it is contagious. While it is impossible to pick out a bad member of this fantastic ensemble, each member's dedication makes it hard to pinpoint any one actor either. However, soloists Miles Kelley, Nathan Garner, and Logan Bollinger (playing brothers Rueben, Simeon, and Judah respectively,) never falter in their outstanding performances. These soloists clearly understand the genres they are singing as well as the emotion they are portraying. While incredibly funny, they can also quickly shift from exaggerated humor to very real emotion.

The talent in this show extends far past the stage, all the way to the talented crews. Every single aspect of this show stands out and works perfectly together. Jessica Frank's beautiful set and Madison Zamora's exciting lights immediately set the tone for both the actors and audience to feed off of. The intricately design painted on the staircase leaves the audience in awe, while the exciting rainbow lighting always adds too the scene, never distracting the audience. Stage Managers Ashlyn Kelley and Payton Edmonds stay on their toes running this show smoothly and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Each transition is done with precision, never faltering or leaving the audience in the dark.

Very little negative can be said for this show, however, there were minor hiccups that, while not necessarily detrimental, did push the audience out of the moment, making it a little difficult to get back into it. The main issue is that the actors are often hard to understand due to poor diction or that their microphones were often too hot or muted. However, every time an issue occurred the actors quickly made up for it while the crews fix each technical issue.

Belton High School's JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT truly sets the bar for high school performances. It is not often a student production can take a show that has been done countless times and still captivate their audience. In this show, Belton proves to everyone just how deep their well of talent runs and makes the audience leave wanting more. Without a doubt, everyone should "Go, Go, Go" see this show!

 


Michael Schuhler
Harrisonville High School

Submitted for publication to North Cass Herald

ANY DREAM WILL DO

Everyone loves a success story, the tale of the underdog, came from nothing, risen to power. A man sold into slavery by his own brothers, framed for a crime he did not commit, only to rise to becoming the Pharaoh's right hand man. Some might even say it is a dream come true. Belton High School presents JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, a truly amazing tale about the son of Jacob, with a remarkable gift.

Respectively written and composed by iconic Broadway duo Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, originally staged in 1970 and nominated for 6 Tonys, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT spins the Biblical account of the story of Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob, the true blood of Rachel, who could interpret dreams. Out of jealousy, his brothers sold him into slavery, but through a remarkable series of events, Joseph rose to the position of Vizier, the second in command to the Pharaoh.

The title character, Joseph, played by Tyler Pitts, is emotionally extensive in this production, going through a clear range of expression that keeps the audience captivated during the experience, complimented well by his clean and crisp vocal renditions, with stunningly powerful high notes and heartfelt tones. Alongside Joseph can the Narrators be found. Portrayed by Keshana Jones and Keriana Jefferson, they open the show with velvety smooth and sweet narration to a group of school children- a truly touching moment.

Opposing the somber nature of the leads is Eric Nunn's Pharaoh, a larger than life figure that truly lives up to the name. Despite only having a limited number of scenes, the Pharaoh maintains himself as one to remember. Full of roof-raising energy, palpable character, and brilliant comedic timing, he leaves the audience rolling in their seats with laughter. To challenge Pharaoh for the biggest laughs in the show is the ensemble of Joseph's eleven brothers; a group of men so outrageously animated that one is guaranteed to leave crying tears of hilarity. With top notch chemistry, haunting harmonies, and well executed choreography, the brothers stand out as a trademark of the production.

Wrapping this presentation in a golden bow is the eye catching set, designed by Jessica Frank. Consisting of an array of large, colorful, and vibrant drops, it is noticeable that much care and time was put into their creation, and it pays off, giving the show a feeling of professionalism not often found in a high school theatre setting. Completing this feeling is the lighting crew, headed by Madison Zamora, with hundreds of lighting cues pulling the audience further into the story, creating a visually outstanding work that is dazzling.

One would expect a story told out of such color and grandeur to be fantastic, and this production does not disappoint. Complete with stunning technical designs, high energy choruses and ensembles, emotional leads, and a dude dressed as the King of Rock and Roll, time flies by when viewing this show, leaving one dreaming for more. Sit in your seats and "Close Every Door" to the auditorium, because Belton High School's JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT will surely leave you saying "Any Dream Will Do".
 


Halle Keeney
Harrisonville High School

Submitted for publication to Raytown Online

YOU WOULD BE SINNING IF YOU DIDN'T SEE THIS DREAM OF A SHOW!

A traditional style "Sunday School", with joyous and bright colors decorating the stage and a show keeping you praising. Belton High School's version of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is a dream of a show.

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice is a Musical all about Joseph, the son of Jacob, in the Bible's book of Genesis. The show was originally written in 1965, based on "the coat of many colors," follows Joseph, who was sold by his brothers because of his power to explain dreams. The show had its Broadway premiere at The Royal Theatre on January 27th, 1982. It played a total of 747 times there and had its Broadway revival in 1933 at the Minskoff Theatre. There it played 231 times and was a hit. They eventually made the beloved show in to a film, in 1999, also called "Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". Since then, the show has blown up in the theatre community and is a common production done by Community theatres and High Schools.

No production of this show would be complete without Joseph, played by Tyler Pitts. Joseph is introduced to the audience in the second song, "Any Dream Will Do," and dazzles the stage with charm as he sings with the ensemble of children. Pitts portrays a kind and soft Joseph, effectively capturing the essence of this role of biblical proportions. Alongside Joseph are two narrators, played by Keshana Jones and Keriana Jefferson. The Narrators expertly pull the audience into the show with phenomenal voices guiding everyone through the tale. It is no easy task staying onstage for the entire show, but the narrators do it effortlessly, anticipating every scene and lyric.

Joseph's Brothers add to the show in an immeasurable way, displaying wit and creative spark throughout the show. They takee part in the vast majority of songs, with dancing and singing seeming seamlessly easy. Joseph's brothers aid in the story-telling with different songs and soloists, to pack on talent to each aspect of the show. Miles Kelley plays one of Joseph's eleven brothers, Rueben, and is fantastic as he sings "One More Angel In Heaven" with his family. The song is persistent in its changes in mood, and so is the family. As Jacob comes on and off, the brothers and their wives are ready to change the entire scene from giddy to melancholy in seconds. Another brother, Simeon, played by Nathan Garner performs fantastically as he sings "Those Canaan Days," in a seemingly perfect french accent. The brothers have colorful berets and sing the sad tune, with an intriguing duet tango, with Mia Martin and Logan Bollinger, and bug being eaten. Altogether an amazing song done by the brothers.

Belton's set and technical aspects are nothing short of creative, and deserve praise. The colorful set, with minimal props, is the perfect balance to a smooth flowing, yet simplistic show. Jessica Frank's set is bright and beautiful, each set piece is multi purposeful and flawlessly done to add a lovely aspect to this show. Lighting designer, Madison Zamora, had lighting cues on point, with colors in rainbows, commonly used within the show. In the song "Joseph's Coat," the ensemble chants the colors and Zamora's colored lights directly synchronize with the music, adding a whole new magnificent aspect.

Belton High School's JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is creatively, colorful and fun. Each actor knows how to command the stage, and makes each scene, big or small, wonderful. Without a doubt, you would be sinning if you did not see this dream of a show.

 

About the Author

Rackers, Brad

Chair - FY20 Season

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