MY DAY: “It was red and yellow and green and brown and absolutely dazzling!”

It was red and yellow and green and brown…

After performing twenty-nine productions as “Joseph” which included three national tours, a shot at “Pharaoh” when the actor I directed in the role decided to have an emergency appendectomy just before the last two performances, directing thirteen productions, and seeing it countless times through the years, one might think seeing it again would be mighty tiring.

And scarlet and black and ochre and peach…

Not on your life.

Tonight, I was joined by my friend, Aaron Jacobs, at Epiphany Lutheran Church to see JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT.  Grant it, there are some productions that miss the mark by adding unnecessary gimmicks and extended scenes, but this production, directed by the incredibly gifted Megan Wean, maintained its integrity to the story, and the score.  This was, undoubtedly, the best production I’ve ever seen at Epiphany in 22 years of attending all but three summer productions.  It might be ranked as a church/community production, but its quality far exceeds even the very best community productions. 

And ruby and olive and violet and fawn…

Of the many productions for which I’ve served as an audience member, this was the strongest in staging and choreography. Megan’s vision was clearly aimed, and beautifully executed, and her creative thumbprint was definitely on this production, but certainly not in the way. The Miami Valley is filled with many community theatre directors, and I hope they, like myself, will take note of Megan’s approach to directing.  She is top notch!

And lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve…

The costuming captured me, immediately.  I am sure my favorite costumer, Heidi Anderson, would have tipped her hat with great enthusiasm.  Bruce Brown of Brown Creative never misses with any of his scenic designs, and sure enough, his dazzling, whimsical designs were brilliantly effective as they took us from Canaan to Egypt, back to Canaan, and finally, back to Egypt.  This production is designed with a circular thrust stage with the audience encompassing a little over 3/4 of the stage.  Very effective in bringing the performers much closer to the audience.  Ian Benjamin, one up and coming performer at Wright State University whose future we should keep an eye on, led a fine instrumental ensemble of electric keyboards, guitar, bass guitar and percussion that did not make me miss the full scored instrumentation that includes woodwinds and brass. Nicely done!

And cream and crimson and silver and rose…

I am not a fan of splitting the role of “Narrator” for JOSEPH as they seldom work as effectively as intended.  This casting decision came closer than most.  Fortunately, both actresses were equally talented, and despite the inability to hear them throughout most of the show due to the audio, they each delivered quality performances.  I can, however, commiserate with the director’s dilemma of having two fierce performers and only one strong female role.

And azure and lemon and russet and grey…

The two candescent deliveries were from two Centerville High School seniors, Charlie Arthur as “Potiphar,” and Brandon Critchfield as “Pharaoh.”  Each young man commanded the stage, and their performances culminated in thunderous applause from a very pleased audience.  Even if these two had performed their roles at half the energy they exhibited, they would have still chewed up the carpets.  Since their roles were also doubled as “Brothers” and “Chorus,” a common casting, Brandon and Charlie continued to deliver full, entertaining performances demonstrating a great deal of professionalism.  Remarkable!

And purple and white and pink and orange…

Having such a history with JOSEPH, I often am too critical of productions that stray from the heart of the story.  Obviously, Epiphany’s JOSEPH is not one of them.  The only criticism I had, aside from not being able to fully hear the “Narrators” unless they were aiming their sound toward me, was in the cast’s diction.  With a show that is entirely sung, the story must not be sacrificed with not-so-clear diction.  The consonants were often too soft, and the lack of diphthongs in key places altered the understanding unless you knew the lyrics.  Overall, the word-energy should be bumped up to near perfection. And there was no reason for two of Jacob’s sons not knowing the list of colors!  

And red and yellow and green and brown and blue!

I will be seeing this production again tomorrow, and honestly, I cannot wait.  I must admit that during “Any Dream Will Do” I wiped away some tears.  Had this production been of lesser quality, I probably would not have taken a brief stroll through a kaleidoscope of JOSEPH memories that all began 29 years ago.

“May I return to the beginning, the light is dimming, and the dream is, too.  The world and I, we are still waiting; still hesitating; any dream will do.”

This production definitely keeps the dream alive!  Thank you, Epiphany, for a technicolor production!

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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