Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

I watched it this week, after deciding that while “have seen it” was a true statement, “am familiar with it” was NOT. I saw it, probably, about 25 years ago. Maybe a couple more than that. Not on Broadway, of course, but in a local church.

But the preacher at my church has been preaching on Joseph for the last month, and so the choir director couldn’t resist doing an Amazingly Abridged version.

It was kinda fun. The choir wore a wide assortment of bright colors–lots of pink, red, and orange, and more than a few Hawaiian-type prints.

Joseph, King Pharoah, and the narrator were played by hand-picked young people, and seemed to enjoy themselves-Especially Pharoah who was modeled a good bit on Elvis.

The choir struggled a bit with the idea that we had one week to learn this music, especially after we saw the quality of our copies (copy of a copy of a copy . . . ), but a lot of our part wasn’t difficult.

Anyone else have any memories of this show?

It’s such a fun show, which can sometimes ruin it.

Since it’s fun and light and silly, there are often productions that go with “if the material is fun and silly, you can do no wrong!”- which is a horrible approach to any production of anything.

Very often it just turns into a cheesy puke-inducing unfocused mess.

I saw a wonderful professional, yet lower-budget, production of it in 1990, just a couple years before the official revival. After the revival there was a years long touring production with a rotation of stunt casting for either Joseph or the Narrator or both. This production oozed so much cheese that it poured out from the television commercials, so I never bothered to see it.

I felt quite fortunate that I was able to see a really good production before the official revival.

Unfortunately, the cheese-ball revival is all that’s available for home viewing.
My favorite soundtrack recording is the 1982 Broadway Cast Recording with Laurie Beechman. She reprised the role in the 1990 production I saw in Philadelphia.

I got the recording of the 1991 London Cast as soon as it came out and hated it. This is the production that inspired the cheese-ball 90s revival productions. Between my distaste for this recording and just how horrible the television commercials looked, I never checked out that touring production nor the resulting DVD.
It’s not a hard show to do. Quality amateur productions are entirely possible. I would recommend that anyone interested see an amateur production over a professional production any day.

Though, if a good professional production is ever available again that would be nice. I lucked out getting to see it when I did.

P.S. Re Pharaoh being modeled on Elivs- not sure if you were aware that that is the traditional approach to that character in stage productions.
“This dream has got me All Shook Up
Treat Me Nice and tell me what it means”

I sang in the chorus in a production when I was in sixth class at school in 1975 and I’m pretty sure I can still remember all of the colours in order.


Yes, I knew that Pharoah was modeled on Elvis. I mean, I don’t know that I knew that before rehearsal, but there was something in our score that might tip one off, and certainly the style of the music fit.

Several people in or associated with our choir had directed youth productions. One had played Joseph as a youth himself. And they talked about how good a show this was to do with youth, simple sets and small casts, and such.

So it was something of a surprise to see the version I saw on youtube featuring Donny Osmund. The sets were maybe a little flashy, but the big thing that startled me was the number of scantily clad women. Nothing egregious, exactly, but not what I was expecting to see either.


It was as well for the choir’s sanity and our director’s health that he did not expect us to sing anything as lyric heavy as the song about all the colors in the dreamcoat.

In fact, Joseph wore only a plain striped shirt–pretty uninspired. Elvis/Pharoah had on jeans and a black t-shirt, and was very effective.

My daughter’s junior high chorus saw it in Chicago on a field trip, and I was one of the chaperones. Donny Osmond played Joseph, and I really enjoyed it. I’d love to see it again.

A version of it ran on PBS about a decade ago, Donny Osmond as Joseph and Joan Collins as Potiphar’s Wife. Quite enjoyable!

I was in a community theater version of it in 1984. Good times!

Gotcha all beat. I got the LP from the remainder bin in the mid-1970s when it was mainly a choral piece & was rushed onto vinyl because of the popularity of JCS.

Seen it twice in the last 15 years, both done by our amazingly talented high school. Love it!

I performed in it (as an anonymous interchangeable chorus member) when I was a wee lad.

The part I remember best was a gag they put into the Pharaoh Elvis song, that I’m not sure was even in the original script. The original chorus was:

Well you know that kings ain’t stupid (stupid)
But I don’t have a clue (clue)
So don’t be cruel Joseph (Joseph)
Ya gotta help me now I beg of you!

where the parts in parentheses were sung by the backup singers. But for the last chorus, they changed the backup singer part so the first two lines were:

Well you know that kings ain’t stupid (stupid)
But I don’t have a clue (stupid)

To my unsophisticated little mind that couldn’t get most of the other jokes (even Pharaoh ==> The King ==> Elvis was beyond my understanding at that point) that was the funniest gag ever.

I saw that version myself. It was at the Chicago Theater, and it was quite enjoyable. Donny has the perfect persona to play Joseph: all smiles and smarminess.

I’ve also seen an old GF perform it in community theater. Quite a fun show… “You’ll buttle as you did before!”

I used to have a CD of the 1992 Toronto cast (the one with Donny Osmond and Janet Metz), and it was quite good, objectively. I’ve never heard the two versions you mention, so I don’t know how it compares with either of them.

Nitpick, cause it’s one thing I go apeshit over: Movies have soundtracks. Musicals have cast recordings.

The 1982 is considered one of the best. The late Laurie Beechman won a Tony for the role.

Pharoh has been an Elvis impersonator from the first recording, where the role was sung by Tim Rice, mostly because the record company didn’t want to pay someone else to do it.

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this show when he was 19!

Amateur rights have been released, meaning schools don’t have to pay royalties when they do it.

Once again, Annie, you’re propagating false information here. The phrase “Amateur rights have been released” does not mean that at all. It simply means that now they are allowed to present the show. The rights have been released, meaning to the general public, not released in the sense that they don’t exist anymore. The work itself is still copyrighted (and by a living composer no less); there’s no way they’re going to let you do the show for free, whether you’re a professional theatre, a school, or a couple of kids with a shower curtain and hand puppets.

What about when it’s the movie versionof the musical stage show? :stuck_out_tongue:


Sorry about the above misinformation, I was misinformed.

I saw it on Broadway in the 80’s during the run when Andy Gibb was starring. In the theatre, house lights start to dim, and they make the substitution announcements. Final substitution is “…and tonight, the role of Joseph shall be played by [some dude nobody has ever heard of]”. A loud groan from the entire house.

Whoever the guy was, he was fantastic. It’s just as well that Andy decided to have another one of his weekend coke binges, because this guy personified Joseph.

Overall it was a great show- I bought the soundtrack and listened to it until it wore out.

Love that show.

It’s been one of my favorites for 30 years. The simplicity may be becauseit was originally written as a cantata for a prep school.

Sigh :rolleyes:

Andy Gibb would have had a great career in musicals if he had sobered up long enough to do them!

It’s gotta suck being an understudy to somebody famous. And, not just Broadway famous, but famous famous. You have to be able to hit it out of the park, in that case.
I’ve done this show a lot . . . I’d be happy to never do it again. Very simple, formulaic songs that are thematically all over the map, and no characters or crises of interest. It’s a great show for kids, and for spectacle, but IMHO it ranks way way down on the ‘Best Musicals’ list.

Regular choir rehearsal was tonight, and so of course the choir and director talked about how our little production was recieved.

One choir spouse was asked if we’d hired professional singers for the solo bits.

Nope, that’s pure homegrown talent. (I know the Narrator has professional training, not so sure about Joseph or Elvis).

Someone else is looking for a church home, and first tried ours the week before–when the Summer Choir performed some old-timey Southern Gospel music.

He loved it, because he grew up in a church in the Ozarks.

He came back this past week. No feedback on whether Joseph chased him off, but apparently he liked our minister, so perhaps he’ll be back.

Whatever else can be said of our choir, we do present a wide variety of music to the church.