Fort Salem's 'Joseph' Offers A Variety Of Fun
By Bob Rose
an evening of rousing fun!
SALEM * The Fort Salem Theatre's current
production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
provides an evening of rousing fun. The Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber
show has lost little of its spark and appeal since its 1972 debut in
Playing through July 27, it is directed by Gregg Brevoort in his
initial assignment at Fort Salem and his first musical anywhere. But
Brevoort, who directed the widely acclaimed "Redwood Curtain" at the
Dorset Theatre Festival, knows his craft well.
He has his large cast thoroughly and excitingly in the spirit.
RIGHT ON CUE
With the guidance of Michael Ellison as choreographer, these performers
never seem to miss a step as they dance to a variety of music that
embraces everything from country and western to calypso.
That includes a rocking impersonation of Elvis done to perfection by
Scott Matthew Harris, who plays a double role of Potiphar and Pharaoh.
Joseph is handsomely played by Stephen Lydic while the attractive and
talented narrator is Heather Mayes. All three leads are newcomers to
Fort Salem, which is fortunate to have such talent come this way.
Even the Sunday School class of young children reacts beautifully to the
unfolding tale of the narrator.
Most of the costumes, unfortunately, are nothing to write home about.
This is especially true of the much-advertised dreamcoat, which looks
like it came from great-grandmother's dusty attic. But once you see the
cast in action, you hardly notice what they are wearing.
Voices are crisp, clear and colorful and reasonably well-balanced with
the infectious recorded music.
The entire cast projects the story, the humor and the charm of this
popular and much-produced show.
The most awesome factor is the production's spontaneity and liveliness.
Even Salem's well-loved Charlie Murn seems totally with it as Jacob.
After all those sons you'd think poor Charlie would be pretty much out
of energy but he shows no trace of that.
And those sons and their many wives sing and dance as though they were
truly enjoying every minute. Just watch their feet, full body movements
and their facial expressions for the proof.
Jeremy Barnett's authentic-looking backdrop for all this wonderful
activity seems to transport us out of Salem into Egypt. And you don't
have to leave your seat or submit to a body scan at the airport.