Strong performances highlight ‘Joseph’ at Maggie’s Little Theater

Strong performances highlight ‘Joseph’ at Maggie’s Little Theater
Photo by Merle Exit
By Merle Exit

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice maintain their theater reputation of writing musicals minus the spoken word. Maggie’s Little Theater in Middle Village took on one of their oldest with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” a Biblical story based on the “coat of many colors” of Joseph in the Book of Genesis.

The show, at St. Margaret Parish, 66-05 79th Place, runs through this weekend, with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 p.m., and then Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $12 for children.

Originally composed as 15-minute pop cantata, the show expanded to include the overture, entr’acte, and “Megamix,” a synopsis of the show plus a curtain call. Apparently, director Lindsay Levy did not think it was long enough, so they added a long production number centered around the person who won the “50-50” drawing.

I bow to the Internet for the plot, as I was totally unable to comprehend the lyrics, mostly done in production numbers. The narrator (Dena Civello) tells a story encouraging children to dream and tells the tale of Joseph (Gary Ducoing) and his 12 brothers, who are jealous of his coat of many colors given to him by his father, Jacob. It becomes clear that Joseph’s dreams include ruling over them. Solution? Sell him as a slave to some passing Ishmaelites and so on.

The ability to enunciate melded with a not-so-great sound system. Those that were hooked up to microphones made it a bit easier. In fact, Civello was most understood. She has a great talent for both singing and acting. However, some of her high notes can be piercing to the ears at times.

Ducoing put on a great performance, but seemed a bit too mild in character. Whereas Civello possesses a more Broadway belting voice, Ducoing’s would have gotten lost if not for his microphone.

With Joseph being a “pop oratorio,”the Pharaoh (Jason Kell) gets an Elvis characterization, which at first was not as obvious until he came down from a set at the top to continue his story.

Kudos to Lindsay Levy, not just for directing the cast of about 30, but for her work as the choreographer. All of the production numbers were well-rehearsed and in sync. Even the children in the cast were in step and singing on pitch at all times.

If not for Music Director Sarah Glassman and Maggie’s Little Orchestra, the music itself would not make it a hit.

For tickets, call 917-579-5389, or visit maggieslittletheater.org.