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REVIEW: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Civic Theatre

The classic coat of many colors makes its way to Carmel's Civic Theatre.

Now running at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre at Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts through January 5, the popular Broadway musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been scaled down to accommodate the intimate stage. But the production never once feels deprived of the kind of spectacle that’s wowed larger audiences for so many years. Upbeat and perfectly choreographed, the enthusiastic performers and phenomenal orchestra really fill up the small space.

The musical follows the biblical story of Joseph’s coat of many colors, in which Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers because of his ability to explain people’s dreams. But the performances go beyond telling the story of Jacob and his 12 sons, with disciples in sunglasses breaking out their best “Gangnam Style” dance moves, and a mash-up of Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” giving the show’s score a modern edge without taking away from Joseph’s original onstage glory.

The fact that much of the audience already knows the storyline allows for a playful inside joke throughout the musical, especially from the narrator, who reassures Joseph during difficult times everything will be fine, because “we all know how it ends.”

Keep an eye on the camel, which provides comic relief along the way, and on Joseph, played by Patrick Clements. (At the risk of committing sacrilege—who knew a biblical character could be so darn sexy?)

There were times during a few of the vocal performances when words to the songs were undecipherable as they were belted, another reminder that strong pipes do not necessarily translate to vocal clarity. Aside from that, the singing was mostly mesmerizing, and the high energy of the closing number was the piece de resistance that really brought the story together in the end.

Now through Jan. 5, 7 p.m. Thurs.Sat. and 2 p.m. Sat. and Sun. $39 for adults and $34 for 17 and under. Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, 3 Center Green, Carmel, 843-3800, civictheatre.org.

Photos courtesy Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre; video via wishtv.com.