Reviewed by Don Gillis, May 11, 2002
Rounding out Academy Players 46th season is a wonderfully entertaining version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This popular musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice has been a favorite of mine and apparently for both actors and audiences alike. Joseph is a lighthearted musical that examines the ageless conflict between love and hate, honesty and deception, good and evil, humility and pride. It is a "rock style" musical that can have many interpretations which make each production of the show a unique experience .Slobhan McHugh as the narrator opens the show with a very pleasing rendition of "Jacob and Joseph" which sets the tone for the rest of the production. Siobhan has a pleasant voice and renders her character nicely throughout the production.
The leading male, Joseph, was played excellently by Donald Dallaire, who not only sings well, but can move well with facial expressions that give the audience a hint of what he is thinking and feeling. His musical solos "Close Every Door, and "Any Dream Will Do" were very pleasant to listen to. This young man has a rich baritone voice that projected into the audience. His renditions will most definitely have you humming some of the tunes as you leave the theater..
Joseph's brothers, Chris Schulz as Rueben, Brian McGovern as Simeon (who doubles as the Baker), Tim Grant as Levi ( who doubles as a Guard) Stephen DeCesare as Napthali, Joseph Turchetta as Isaachar, Sean Bumpus as Asher, Ian Richardson as Dan (who doubles as a Guard), E'Stefano-Ray DiSanto as Zebulun (who doubles as the Pharaoh), Steve Michelsson as Gad (who doubles as a Guard), Joseph M. Gilmore as Judah ( who doubles as the Butler) and Taylor Mitchell as the youngest brother, Benjamin lead the way for most of the action and story which is all music. They are all so good with standout solo performances by Tim Grant (One More Angel In Heaven), Chris Schultz (Those Canaan Days), Stephen DeCesare (Benjamin Calypso), and E'Stefano-Ray DiSanto (Pharaoh's Dream). Paul G. Mancini as Jacob (who doubles as Potiphar) excelled in his dual roles.
They sing well together, harmonies were perfect, and they worked well with the choreographers, Jennifer Martirano (assisted by MaryEllen Beaudreau and Beth Bolig). The musical quality of any production is largely based upon the talents of the musicians. Academy had some of the best musicians around, Scott Morency, Tiffany Blais, Stein Munslow, Tony Texeira, Brian Grochowski, Mike Iadevaia, and Brandon Levesque. The music was delightful to listen to, and the orchestra blend with the male and female leads and chorus was outstanding.
This production introduces a children's chorus which consists of Caroline Bateson, Andrew Hayden, Ashley Lockaby, Christiana Rodi, Amanda Beaudoin, Sarah C. Hayden, Mallory Moreau, and Danielle Loumena. Many of these are grade schoolers, and they interact with the narrator quite nicely. In addition to the children's chorus, the women backup for the brothers were Sarah Bilofsky, Christine Romanello, Lauren Steingold, Janine L.Weisman, JoAnn Maccarone, Trish St. Laurent, Diana Truesdale and Naomi Wilkinson.
Supporting roles were played by JP Richard, Alex Lorraine (who also was assistant SM, Program Cover Artist, and Set Decorator) and Richard Nardella all playing Ishmaelites. Diana Truesdale and Lauren Steingold played The Camel and Beth Bolig has a nice dance solo.
Production team consisted of Roberta Anderson, Production Set-Up, Michael Farrelly, Artistic Consultant , and Tony Prichard , Producer and Set Designer. Others teams members were: Stage Managers- Janet Prichard and Deb Weaver, Properties Coordinator- Barbara Greene, Peter McDonough- Sound, Photography-Chris Clancy and Make-Up and Hair Design by Joe Turchetta. Programs were by Deb and Carla Weaver.
Particular attention by this reviewer was given to the MEGA MIX as the shows finale. Its a dazzling array of colorful special lighting effects and fog executed by Dennis E. Pouliot, Jr .and Tony Prichard. Creative choreography and a wonderful blend of stage actions with colorful costumes by Costume Coordinator, Verna Thurber, and her assistants, Joan Daly & Susan Young. Joseph's coat was designed and constructed by David T. Howard.. Jim and Linda Somes made the Crepe paper spinners that were used during Joseph's Coat .
This cast is high energy at its best! Cast and crew are to be congratulated for a professional and highly polished production. 'Joseph' is not to be missed. Production dates are May 16, 17, 18, 19, 2002. Don't miss it!!
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Little Rhody Theater
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
The Greenwich Odeum
59 Main Street
East Greenwich, RI