Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

The seminal videographed interpretation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoati was not only beautifully sung, convincingly acted,ii reasonably costumed, but also rife with lyrical and stylistic gems.iii Nearly 50 years since it was first performed on stage, Joseph is as timely as ever.iv

Starring the incomparable Donny Osmond, who had over 2`000 performances of the show under his belt before filming,v no other rendition of the dream-reading jewboy offers such crisp confidence in the music, an unshakeable foundation from which he can thunder out roles spanning naive prince to strutting rock star to a magnitude and extent matched only by Colm Wilkinson on the modern stage.vi He’s that good.

As a character, in addition to his flamboyantly-dressed studliness, Joseph was, let’s face it, the original Jewish economist. It’s no wonder that Yellen, Bernanke, and Greenspan are so devilishly shrewd at it. It’s in the blood! Like the rest of them, Joseph used his soft skills par excellence to create himself a job, one that would be readily labeled as charlatanic had he not had so much skin in the game.vii But unlike his descendants, you’d better believe that Joseph would’ve been back in the dungeon faster than you could say “skinny ears of corn” had his forecasts been inaccurate, something we can only wish were the case for Yellen and her fellow econophasts.

The budget of this production was certainly no more than Broadway-level but the ability to capture take after take meant that the cast was never anything less than spot-on. The show-within-show effect also meant that more special effects would’ve broken the believability. Overall, it was really like having the only bit of New York worth the visit right in your living room.viii Other than inconsistent volume levels, the NIB DVD was exactly the throwback the moment called for.

___ ___ ___

  1. 1999. Original screenplay by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice, directed by David Mallet, featuring Donny Osmand. []
  2. Even if the dubbing syncronisation was mediocre at best. []
  3. Most musicals adopt a musical style and stick with it throughout. JATD touches on American Rock, French Folk, Calypso, Old Western, Synthpop, and traditional Phantom of the Opera style musical. []
  4. Jealousy of success is very au courrant. []
  5. Donny toured with the Broadway Across Canada production for six years in the early 90’s. Comparing the Canadian Cast recordings from those early days with these video’d rendition almost a decade later speaks volumes to the ultimate mastery displayed in the latter. There is quite simply no better rendition of “Close Every Door To Me” than this 1999 production. Not anywhere and not for any money. Shirtless Donny isn’t hard on the eyes either, doubly so compared to the chubby-tittied noodle-boy I saw at the community theatre in Palm Springs last month. []
  6. Wilkinson was similarly rock starish and every bit as enrapturing in his role as Jean Valjean in Les Mis. []
  7. [Pharaoh in the style of Elvis]

    Well I was wandering along by the banks of the river
    When seven fat cows came up out of the Nile, uh-huh
    And right behind these fine healthy animals came
    Seve other cows, skinny and vile, uh-huh
    Well the thin cows ate the fat cows which I
    Thought would do them good, uh-huh
    But it didn’t make them fatter like such
    A monster supper should

    Well the thin cows were as thin
    As they had ever, ever, ever been
    Well this dream has got me baffled
    Hey, Joseph, won’t you tell me what it means?

    Well you know that kings ain’t stupid
    But I don’t have a clue
    So don’t be cruel Joseph
    Help me I beg of you

    Well I was standing doing nothing in a field out of town
    Whe I saw seven beautiful ears of corn, uh-huh
    They were ripe, they were golden and
    You’ve guessed it,
    Right behind them came seven other ears
    Tattered and torn, uh-huh

    Well the bad corn ate the good corn
    They came up from behind yes they did
    Now Joseph here’s the punch line
    It’s really gonna blow your mind

    Well the bad corn was
    As bad as it had ever, ever, ever been
    Well this dream has got me all shook up
    Treat me nice and tell me what it means

    Hey, hey, hey Joseph
    Won’t you tell poor old Pharaoh
    What does this crazy dream mean?
    Oh yeah

    [Joseph]
    Seven years of bumper crops are on their way
    Years of plenty, endless wheat and tons of hay
    Your farms will boom, there won’t be room
    To store the surplus food you grow
    After that, the future doesn’t look so bright
    Egypt’s luck will change completely overnight
    And famine’s hand will stalk the land
    With food at all-time low
    Noble king, there is no doubt
    What your dreams are all about
    All these things you saw in your pajamas
    Are a long-range forecast for your farmers

    []

  8. New York’s architecture, arguably the only other reason to bother with the Big Apple, obviously doesn’t scale quite so neatly. []

3 thoughts on “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

  1. […] of no small number of buildings,iv particularly in NYC where the market is already sizzling like Donny circa 1999 but could slow down with interest rate increases barring further […]

  2. […] didn’t matter.ii He wasn’t grovelling at my doorstep like so many thankless brothers. He was just doing his job and grateful for the unpredictably conditioned stimulusiii that found […]

  3. […] Joseph is certainly an outstanding work, it plays second fiddle in my books if only for its relative […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>