Following the successful 1998 video release of Cats
comes another Andrew Lloyd Webber blockbuster musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
, and it's a savvy choice. It hasn't been represented on film before, it's short enough (78 minutes) to present without cuts, and it has the star power of former teen icon Donny Osmond, who played over 1,800 performances across North America. Rather than record a live performance, Cats
director David Mallet conceived Joseph
as a film, though one that is based strongly on codirector Steven Pimlott's 1991 London revival and relies more on camerawork than venturing beyond its stagelike sets.
Lloyd Webber's first project with lyricist Tim Rice was originally written in 1968 as a school cantata; accordingly, this film uses a framing sequence of a school recital, with an audience of clapping, singing kids and members of the faculty playing the roles. The Old Testament tale of Joseph and his coat of many colors gets a splashy, vigorous treatment with an energetic cast, Las Vegas-style glitz, and catchy, eclectic songs, including "Any Dream Will Do," "Close Every Door," the peppy "Go, Go, Go Joseph," and various bits of country, calypso, and Elvis. Osmond is perfect in the title role, with a strong voice and winning persona, while London stage veteran Maria Friedman performs well in the central role of the narrator. Richard Attenborough appears (and sings a little) as Jacob, and Joan Collins makes a brief, nonsinging cameo.
Joseph certainly isn't revolutionary musical theater, but if you view it as a kids' show, it's a silly good time (though there are poignant moments too). Parents should note, however, that this production might warrant a little discretion due to one suggestive scene and some risqué costumes. --David Horiuchi
For the first time ever, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's fun-filled musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been specially filmed for video. Inspired by the record-breaking London Palladium stage show, this production stars Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins. A lively and colorful journey through ancient Egypt, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat follows the rags-to-riches story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colors. Spectacular visuals and an enchanting score packed with hit songs, including Close Every Door to Me, Go, Go, Go Joseph and Any Dream Will Do make this a dream of a show for all the family.