Last weekend I was treated to another delightful production by the Schenectady Light Opera Company: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Although I had heard the music from it a few times, I had never seen a production of it before. SLOC's production had a young, urban theme to it with a set of scaffolding and graffitied walls. The audience was even younger than the usual sea of gray heads I tend to seen around me. Before the show started I couldn't help noticing some rather obnoxious young people talking on their cell phones. I wasn't too happy about this, and thought they might disrupt the performance. But I convinced myself that it was important for new generations to become acquainted with musical theater. Little did I know that these young people were part of the performance! When the first notes began, the rowdy audience member ran to the stage and revealed themselves to be Joseph's eleven brothers!
Again, I was blown away by the quality of the cast. Everyone truly had an excellent voice, particularly the narrator and Joseph. Like all of the Webber/Rice musicals, it is sung throughout with no dialogue, which seems to me must be challenging for performers. The only slight flaw with the production, which was also true of The Pajama Game, was that the sound mixing was sometimes off. At times the music overwhelmed the voices. It wasn't consistent with any one singer, but affected everyone at one time or another. This was more of an issue in this production since it is all sung and must be heard to understand what's going on. Hopefully this will be alleviated when the company moves to it's new home in a larger theater next year.
Every song in the musical is enjoyable, but here are a couple I especially liked in the SLOC production. These videos are from the 1999 Great Performances production with Donny Osmond.
Courtesy of OfficalRUG on YouTube
They had corn in Israel then?
Courtesy of OfficialRUG on YouTube
Since I enjoyed The Pajama Game so much, I volunteered to serve as an usher for future performances. So after seeing Saturday night's performance, I was lucky enough to serve as an usher for Sunday's matinee performance. This was a lot of fun, and I could see myself becoming more and more involved in SLOC (culminating with my one-woman production of South Pacific).