Ingenious direction and equally innovative choreography are just two reasons not to miss 5-Star Theatricals’ excitingly performed revival of Sirs Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 100 minutes of pure, unadulterated, family-friendly music and fun up Thousand Oaks way.

Taking the Book Of Genesis as its inspiration, the 1970s West End/1980s Broadway smash has Joseph sold into Egyptian slavery by eleven brothers jealous of the multicolored coat given the next-to-youngest by their all too obviously favoritism-showing father.

Once in the land of pyramids, camels, and the Sphinx, our hero’s ability to interpret dreams gets him promoted from human property to second-in-command to none other than Pharaoh himself.

Later, when famine strikes the land and Joseph’s starving brothers head off towards Egypt in search of food, who should they meet there but …. (I’ll let you do the math.)

Entirely sung-through (that means no spoken dialog for the Broadway-unsavvy), Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat offers audiences of any religious (or non-religious) persuasion the most delectably eclectic blend of pop music genres/eras of Lloyd-Webber’s half-century-long career.

From the country-western twangs of “One More Angel In Heaven” to the 1920s-flavored “Potiphar” to the disco beats of “Go, Go, Go Joseph” to the Elvis-ready “Song Of The King (Seven Fat Cows)” to the French chanson oh-là-là of “Those Canaan Days” to the Caribbean flavors of “Benjamin Calypso,” it’s one tuneful showstopper after another, and these are just half-a-dozen of the twenty or so nonstop musical gems Joseph’s got up his many-colored sleeve.

With virtually no “book” in the traditional sense (and I’m guessing very little in the way of stage directions), it’s up to a director, choreographer, and design team to turn Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from the “concept album” it started out as back in 1968 to the full-fledged big-stage musical it’s become today, a task achieved quite splendidly on the Kavli Theatre stage by director Will North, choreographer Dave Scott, and costume designer Beth Glasner.

One glance at Joseph’s eleven siblings in their PULSE dance class-ready black-and-white workout garb cues audiences in from the “Jacob And Son” opening number that this isn’t going to be just any Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and even more so when said bros go hip hop, the first of a dozen or so Hi-NRG production numbers staged by So You Think You Can Dance resident choreographer Scott, making an auspicious musical theater debut here.

Other North-Scott-Glasner strokes of inspiration are a flamboyant Liberace-style captain of the palace guards surrounded by sultry servant boys in gold lamé tops and white harem pants in “Potiphar,” the French mime and pierrot, absinthe fairy, and Les Miz-style flag-waving that accompany eleven red-beret-sporting frères de Joseph in “Those Canaan Days,” and the foot-stomping cowboy-cowgal hoedown of the Grand Ole Opry-ready “One More Angel In Heaven,” with Jonathan Infante’s clever Instagram projections adding wink-wink humor throughout.

Recounting Joseph’s tale in song, Laura Dickinson (in Lady Of The Lake-esque grand diva mode) not only hits the highest notes in town, the added stage time director North has given her makes this Narrator as ubiquitous as she is ready for her next power ballad.

Adam Hollick’s Joseph proves prime for anyone’s dream (Technicolor or otherwise) with tenor pipes perhaps even more gorgeous than his shirtless Steve Reeves-as-Hercules musculature.

As for Pharaoh Patrick Cassidy, it’s a treat to see the twice National-touring Joseph in 70s Elvis mode, gold lamé clad go-go girls (and boys) backing his show-stopping, hip-swiveling, swoon-inducing “Song Of The King.”

As eldest brother Reuben, the always charming Marc Ginsburg turns chansonnier français charmant in “Those Canaan Days,” charismatic UCLA junior James Olivas (Levi) displays future leading-man chops with a country twang in “One More Angel In Heaven,” and Mitchell Johnson’s jerk-spiced Judah makes “Benjamin Calypso” a Jamaican delight.

Memorable cameo performances are delivered by David Gilchrist (Jacob, Potiphar), Tyler Stouffer (Tailor), Michael Mittman (Butler), and a slinky, seductive assistant choreographer Naomi Pacheco as Potiphar’s lascivious bride.

Brothers Kyron Correia (Gad), Cedric Dodd (Asher), Zy’heem Downey (Zebulor), Rodolfo Larrazolo (Issachar), Derek A. Lewis (Naphtali), Adlai Musia (Simeon), Rile Reavis (Dan), and Patrick Viloria (Benjamin) and Wives Devon Davidson, Rebecca Gans, Haley Gilchrist, Narrator understudy Julia Lester, Carolyn Lupin, Julia Marley, Miyuki Miyagi, Alyssa Noto, Alissa Tucker, and Terri Woodall do some of the best dancing in town (from the show-opening “Jacob And Sons” to the supercharged grand finale “Megamix”) while vocalizing under Cassie Nickols’ accomplished musical direction to the 5-Star Theatricals orchestra under Dan Redfeld’s equally adept baton, with a talented children’s chorus* popping up throughout.

The entire production looks fabulous thanks to 3-D Theatricals’ sets (by an uncredited Stephen Gifford), Glasner’s costumes, Alex Choate’s properties (also courtesy of 3-D), and Leo Quang Zeller’s nifty hair and makeup design, all of the above lit with vibrant pizzazz by Jose Santiago, with Jonathan Burke’s pitch-perfect sound design making this Joseph And The Technicolor Dreamcoat sound as great as it looks.

Talia Krispel is production stage manager and Tawni Eccles is assistant stage manager. Jack Allaway technical director

5-Star Theatricals could hardly have asked for a finer production to launch its inaugural season than Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It’s one Technicolor Dream of a show.

*Lal Besir, Luca de la Pena, Amelia Fischer, Savannah Fischer, Andrew Grigorian, Calista Loter, Marissa Margolis, Collin Nelson, Madison North, Rhythm Pacheco, Drew Rosen, Marcello Silva, Bayley Tannenbaum, Taylor Lynda Thomas, and Lilly Victoria Thompson and alternating local children’s choirs directed by Laura Leininger

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5-Star Theatricals, Kavli Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks.

–Steven Stanley
October 13, 2017
Photos: Ed Krieger
(2nd and 3rd photos from 5-Star Theatricals Promotional Video)

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