Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - July 30, 2010

Amazing technicolor production

Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre presents timeless Old Testament tale

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Talk about colorful, lyrical and entertaining. The Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre (formerly Pleasanton Playhouse) is offering "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore through Aug. 8. The production is continually entertaining, for adults and children alike, with the fantastic music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, exciting dancing and splendiferous costumes.

This musical goes way outside the box to tell the Biblical tale of Joseph, son of Jacob, and his 11 brothers, who sell him into slavery in Egypt. Who else would have imagined the Pharaoh as Elvis?

TVRT does a fine job of choreographing and casting the musical, which has the audience not only tapping its toes but clapping along to the music and jumping to its feet to applaud. A delightful 26-member children's chorus in T-shirts sings and dances, creating a bridge from the audience to the characters that makes everyone feel they're all in this together.

Min Kahng as Joseph and Catherine Gloria as the narrator keep the audience spellbound as they perform the lead solos; she occasionally steps into the scenes, which of course makes no sense whatsoever but works beautifully. The Pharoah, played by Alex Orenberg, and the supporting cast also sing and dance superbly as the melodies meander crazily from Biblical times to French apache dancing to calypso to cowboy to '70s pop. A hippie scene reveals the 1968 origins of the musical.

The plot thickens as, in Egypt, Joseph is purchased by wealthy Potiphar, whose wife's attempt at seduction lands Joseph in jail. But his dream-deciphering abilities cause the Pharoah to send for him, and Joseph becomes second in command.

Eventually his brothers, when famine strikes, unknowingly find themselves groveling at the feet of the brother they no longer recognize. After testing their integrity, Joseph reveals himself, leading to a heartfelt reconciliation of the sons of Israel.

The production is directed/co-choreographed by Todd Aragon, with musical direction by Cary Litchford and choreography by Morgan Breedveld. They expertly carry out the random delights planted by Webber and Rice for a thoroughly enjoyable production.

Toe-tapping tale

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