By Manning Harris
fmanningh@gmail.com

The Atlanta Lyric Theatre is performing a completely charming production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the beautiful Strand Theatre in Marietta through June 23.

It’s my understanding that the show was sold out the weekend of June 14-16, but that leaves this week (June 20-23); so I’d “make haste,” as my grandmother used to say, and get tickets now.

Yes, readers, I have once again left the confines of  “intown” (that is our paper’s name) to go OTP; the last time I did that was for the brilliant Lady Gaga at the Gwinnett Arena, but I had inside info that “Joseph,” directed and choreographed by Dustin Lewis, was sparkling, and it is.

The Lyric has become the best professional musical theatre in Atlanta.  For that we can thank Managing Artistic Director Brandt Blocker, Associate Artistic Director Alan Kilpatrick, and their ability to recruit and cast outstanding players and a highly skilled technical crew.  (Okay, I fibbed a bit earlier:  I saw the final performance  of the Lyric’s “Ragtime” last month and was mightily impressed.)

I’m sure you know the show is based on the Biblical story of Joseph (and his coat of many colors), whose jealous brothers sold him into slavery to Egypt because their father Jacob loved Joseph best.  The piece is early Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics).  There’s almost no spoken dialogue; it’s what they call “sung-through,” which is fine when you’ve got first rate singers, as the Lyric does.  You could call “Joseph” a children’s show, but it’s one that adults also enjoy, with plenty of wacky charm and whimsy, lovely universality of theme (be true to yourself and don’t give up your dreams), and fun, catchy music which, corny as it sounds, you may be humming on the way home.

Joseph is played by the  homegrown (Marietta) golden-voiced Matthew Kacergis, who is already making a name for himself in major regional theatres as well as New York.  His Joseph is gentle, witty, and altogether winning.  Galen Crawley (recently seen as Rachel Jackson in Actor’s Express’ “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) is a fine Narrator with a big, theatrical voice and a powerful stage presence.  Glenn Rainey easily does multiple duty as Jacob/Potipher/Baker; Clint Clark impresses as Levi/Pharoah.

This is a fine cast; shows usually do not sell out for no reason.  I must mention a comic highlight: “Those Canaan Days,” sung by Simeon, Jacob, and the brothers, brought down the house.  This number hits every comic note, broad and subtle; this song alone is almost worth the price of admission.  And I must single out Jeremiah Hobbs (Simeon), whose comic panache here had me in stitches; Mr. Hobbs has genuine comic talent.

Jeremy Wood, Jeremy Varner, Austin Tijerina, Dan Ford, J. Koby Parker, Barrett Crowder, Tucker Weinmann, Allen Hill (a charmer as young Benjamin), Terry Guest, Priscilla Parker (the lascivious Mrs. Potipher, and Natalie Barrow are all worthy of mention, and I just did.  Also there’s a children’s ensemble—totally endearing.

Bobby Johnston’s sound design is as good as it gets: perfect balance between singer and accompaniment; costumes by Lindsay Paris, lighting by Andre C. Allen.  Fun songs:  “Any Dream Will Do,” “One More Angel in Heaven,” “Go, Go, Go Joseph,” and many others.

The clock is ticking; get your tickets and go, go go to “Joseph” (sorry—couldn’t resist); take the whole family.  You won’t be sorry.

For tickets and information, visit atlantalyrictheatre.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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