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Port Tobacco Players Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

By • Mar 12th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Port Tobacco Players’ production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat [MP3 5:29 1.6MB].

Laura: Last Monday evening we saw a final dress rehearsal of Port Tobacco Players production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in La Plata, Maryland.

Mike: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical written by Tim Rice, with the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s the retelling of the biblical story of Joseph, a young man whose brothers are jealous of his ability to tell the future. They feel threatened by it because he is predicting that for some reason he will be worshipped by the brothers. They decide to kill him. But instead of killing him they end up selling him as a slave to some passing Ishmelites. Joseph ends up going to Egypt and, through no fault of his own, ends up in prison. While in prison he interprets some dreams of other prisoners. One thing leads to another and he is released and becomes the number 2 man in all of Egypt. Meanwhile there is a famine throughout the land and his brothers are starving. They come out to Egypt and end up before Joseph who has to decide if he should give them food or not. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a wonderful tale. It’s very popular to do in community and professional theater all throughout the country.

Laura: This was a final dress rehearsal so there were a few tasks to be hammered out. I think one thing that really adds to, I don’t know if it’s the adrenalin or what, but because there were only like 4 people in the audience, not everybody gave it quite 100%. It was still a good performance and they all worked very hard.

Mike: I was expecting a super wizbang performance of Joseph. Partially because the night before we saw this was the WATCH Awards Ceremony for 2006. Port Tobacco Players had a lot of nominations and a lot of wins for the shows from last year. I was expecting a super stupendous show. I was disappointed unfortunately. It just didn’t quite live up the hype I had built up in my own mind. A lot of the places in the show I felt like they were just trying to get a laugh and trying to make fun of the situation. Nothing directly wrong with that, but it just didn’t really work for me.

Laura: There were two Narrators in this version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which I had not seen before. I thought that was kind of interesting. I wondered why they needed two Narrators. The two Narrators were Sarah Koon and Kristen Page-Kirby. They did a good job, but I didn’t know if they really needed two.

Mike: Joseph was played by Philemon Tevis. He did an ok job with the part. He didn’t quite have a stage presence. A lot of the time for a lot of the numbers he just kind of stood around. For example during the Grovel, Grovel song when the brothers are trying to talk Joseph into giving them food to eat, he just kind of stood there and looked at them. He didn’t really do anything. He felt very weak.

Also, there were a few things that were kind of funny. When he was a slave in Egypt working for Potiphar, he still had the irons on his wrists. I didn’t understand that at all. I think he shouldn’t have had them on and then put them back on once he was arrested. That was kind of a strange thing.

Laura: A few other interesting things. When the Ishmalites came out to buy Joseph, they came out supposedly riding a camel. It was a camel head attached to a bike. That was kind of amusing. When they gave the money to the oldest brother, instead of giving him a bag of silver, they gave him a check.

Mike: Another place where they went for the laugh was the role of Potiphar, played by Justin Foster. Potiphar was a pro wrestler. He had the big booming voice. I can see the ads on TV when I’m flipping channels. He was a pro wrestler. That went for the laugh. It was a very different interpretation of the part. It worked OK, but it was kind of odd again.

Laura: In the song,”Those Canaan Days” in the second act. There was one part that I thought was kind of crude. One of the brothers went behind a dune in the desert and then brought out a roll of toilet paper.

Mike: One of the funniest lines in the show during Canaan Days as well when they say they’re down to their very last sheep. A dog came a cross wearing a sheep costume. That was actually kind of funny. The dog kind of got lost because he was at upstage and you really couldn’t see him too well. Hopefully that got worked out so the dog/sheep could be a little more prominent.

Laura: Then at the end when Joseph snuck around and put the supposedly put the gold cup in Benjamin’s sack it was actually, a 7-11 Big Gulp cup that they painted gold. It didn’t quite work out. I always picture like a gold chalice thing. Something much bigger. That was a little disappointing.

Mike: So all in all I guess that’s the word to describe my thoughts of the show. I was disappointed. I was expecting super duper top notch like the other shows we’ve seen at Port Tobacco in the past.

Laura: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is playing through April the 1st. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sundays at 3PM at the Port Tobacco Players Theatre in La Plata Maryland.

Mike: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

7 Responses »

  1. Hello Mike and Laura! While I completely respect your opinions and reviews, I have to point out that your facts are a little off. This was not our final dress rehearsal- in fact, we had two more dress rehearsals to follow before we opened that Friday. Thank you!

  2. Hi Brooke, we did say it was “a” final dress rehearsal, not “the” final dress rehearsal.

    It’s an interesting issue you raise. Some reviewers do not ever attend a rehearsal for review. They will only attend a performance. That gets tricky since almost all community theater performances are Friday night, Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. There are a few exceptions locally (LTA, ESP, PCP, KAT. LMP), but if we adopted a policy of only reviewing performances, there would definitely be shows we would not be able to attend to review.

    Another problem is getting photos of shows. I like that Port Tobacco lets press take photos at the press night rehearsal. If we attended a performance, we’d need to get “official” photos from Port Tobacco.

  3. I put in a search on Yahoo for Port Tobacco Players to actually send them an email about this show. I saw that there was a review on it from this website and I had to read it. And after reading this I have to say, I am quite surprised and partically disgusted with this review. Granted everyone is entitled to have an opinon. But I can’t sit and not comment on this review. I have seen several productions of this show as well as been in one. All the productions I have been in were pretty much to the script. All the productions I have seen are pretty much to the script. This is one production that I was relieved and thankful that it took the concept and made it its own. I give Brooke Howells a pat on the back for making the show her own. There was never a dull moment. Normally I would be bored after “One More Angel In Heaven” up until “Song of The King”. I always thought the Potiphar section was always boring and dull. Just get to “Go, Go, Go Joesph” and end act one. Seriously the Potiphar as a wrestler was a stroke of Genius. All the other shows I’ve seen shows him as a wimpy Bill Gates type of character. This one, he was a strong character that demanded and commanded the stage as soon as he appeared. If you can’t accept fresh ideas and innovative thinking, then whats the point in doing theatre. If you can’t accept Potiphar as a wrestler, how can you except Elvis as a Pharoah. The two Narrators were diffrent, but I totally can see why it was needed. The entire show they were like the Ying and Yang. The balance. One was a little on the bad side, the other more on the goody good side. Both the same person but two diffrent ends. You don’t take a show at face value, you look at the innards and the workings of it. To me, I would see this show over and over again. Its fresh, funky, funny, and full of energy and life. Phil Tevis. Wow I am in love with him! He didn’t overpower the role of Joesph and made him bigger than life. He humbly took the role and made it his own. During “Close Every Door” I was crying. The lighting and his emotions poured out him during that song. I love his characterization. Maybe you should go and see it again. Dress rehearsals are a horrible time to see a show. And also remember, theatre is for the patrons. Bad review or not, there will always be someone out there that thinks otherwise. I do apologize if this is too long or seems to be attacking you. I do respect your views. I just had to put something good out there for this remarkable show. Thanks for your time!

  4. Hey Laura and Mike-
    Being in the cast of Joseph, I would have to disagree with some opinions posted above. Number one: Our show was meant to be funny- not a somber story. Going for laughs is exactly what we do, and it works. Hence the 7-11 cup- for humor. Had we been going for a drama, we would have used your “golden chalice.” I suppose the rest of the audiences haven’t found it disappointing, but rather fitting with the humorous theme of the show.
    In Phil’s defense, there wasn’t much he could do while we were groveling. His sole purpose was to look supercilious- as the number 2 in Egypt who was being worshiped by the very brothers that had tried to kill him earlier. Should he break out in a dance next time? Perhaps that would lend a certain “stage presence.”
    I don’t mean this to be a personal attack on any of the reviewers. We thank you for coming to see the show and writing a review on it, but perhaps you could attempt to get yourselves in the correct mindset before seeing our next comedy. Thank you.

  5. Hi Simon, Thanks for writing in. I hope Joseph wouldn’t be a somber show either. But we obviously just didn’t get it as a comedy all the way through either.

    And yes, we are seriously reconsidering attending future dress rehearsals, and may only attend “real” performances. But unfortunately that would mean there will be some theaters that get cut out of the slight extra exposure we can give them. So, that’s a tough issue, and one we take seriously. We’re open to suggestions.

  6. No offense – but what a horrible review.

    After reading your comments, I had second thoughts about my tickets, and boy am I glad that I went to see “Joseph.” This production epitomizes the sort of fresh perspective that Andrew Lloyd Webber intended when he wrote the score.

    You thought that Potiphar as a Professional Wrestler was an “odd” interpretation. Yet one of the primary constituents of the audience – children – identified with this characterization. They might not have as readily indentified with the traditional role of Potiphar as a pyramid magnate – distracted by his accounting, and neglecting his spousal duties.

    You wrote a review of an opera and never once mentioned the music. Philemon Tevis’s rendition of “Close Every Door” and “Any Dream Will Do” were masterful, and his warm, buttery tones left me wanting more. Further I found that you could watch him evolve as a character. When Donny Osmond performed this show, he portrayed Joseph as an arrogant individual, who after that little run-in with his brothers, felt justified to his arrogance. Philemon’s portrayal of Joseph starts as naive and doe-eyed, and after his rise to power, a definate Yul Bryner sort of confidence. Watch carefully, and you’ll see that same doe-eyed Joseph in the Finale, as he sings “May I return to the beginning”.

    The cast features 11 additional brothers, each of whom exudes personality. When they come on stage, you hardly know where to look. The kids around me loved them – and I dare say – so did most of the adults.

    This is a show that moves. It has energy. It will not disappoint you.

  7. We rocked the stage! I was in the Jo Choir, and I thought our show rocked! The kids all did great, just like the brothers! And GO SIMON FOR STANDING UP! All the kids had trouble in the scenes due to partial bordom, but we stuck it out just like everyone else! Phil did a good job mostly, but messed up a few parts, but HEY, what star hasn’t messed up? Thanks for the review, but please, we were SO much better then you made it seem! Not one member of the audience had any complaints. EVER. Thanks!