Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics: Tim Rice

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the first collaboration between Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, tells the story of a young man named Joseph living in the land of Canaan. His father's favorite son, Joseph is perhaps a little spoiled. While the rest of his brothers are forced to wear sheepskin, he struts around in a fabulous rainbow-colored coat, a gift from his adoring father. The rest of Joseph's brothers aren't too pleased with the situation, and when Joseph goes so far as to tell them of a dream he has had in which their stacks of wheat bow down to his stack of wheat, they decide they have finally had enough.

Joseph's brothers abduct him, destroy his cherished coat, and toss him into a pit to perish. But when a group of Ishmaelites come trotting by on their donkeys at the last minute, the brothers have a change of heart and decide not to murder Joseph, but rather to sell him into slavery. Either way, he's out of their hair, and this way, they make a little extra cash. So they slaughter a goat, bloody up Joseph's coat of many colors, and return to their father, feigning great sorrow at the unfortunate death of their poor brother Joseph.

Joseph, however, will not be put down so easily. After being sold to an Egyptian property owner and serving a brief stint in prison, he uses his dream-reading abilities to secure an interview with the Pharoah who is so impressed with the young man that he immediately appoints him Minister of Agriculture. Years later, when a severe famine hits the land, Joseph's brothers come begging for employment. Realizing that they don't recognize him, Joseph decides to stage a little surprise for his would-be murderers before he allows everyone to live happily ever after.

Lasting only fifteen minutes when it was originally presented as a cantata at the Colet Court School in London on March 1, 1968, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was revised five years later by Webber and Rice, expanded to 40 minutes, and presented at the West End. It was expanded again, this time to 90 minutes, before its first New York production at the Boston Academy of Music in 1976. In 1981, the show opened at an East Village theatre and ran 77 performances before moving to the Royale on January 27, 1982, where it remained for 747 performances. The Royale cast featured Bill Hutton (Joseph), Laurie Beechman (Narrator), and Tom Carter (Pharoah). During the Broadway run, Hutton was succeeded by Andy Gibb and David Cassidy. The 2000 film version features Donny Osmand.


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Related Sites

British Theatre Index

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