Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the second British musical theatre show written by the team of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Based on the “coat of many colors” story of Joseph from the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Genesis, this light-hearted show was first presented as a 15-minute pop cantata at Colet Court School in London in 1968. It was not until January 1982 that the show reached Broadway — at the Royale Theatre, where it ran for 749 performances. After many transformations and expansions, and West End and Broadway productions, it was adapted as a straight-to-video film, starring Donny Osmond, in 1999.

Joseph is one of the few major British musical theatre shows with hardly any spoken dialogue, being sung-through almost completely. The entire show runs under two hours and is occasionally performed without intermission.

Its family-friendly storyline, universal themes, and catchy music have made Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat one of the most dependably profitable titles in musical theatre, particularly when producers cast a headlining star — and, according to the Really Useful Group, more than 20,000 schools and amateur theatre groups have successfully put on productions.

In this retelling of the Biblical story, Joseph is a handsome young man who is his father’s favorite child, able to interpret dreams, and the bearer of an amazing coat. These facts lead Joseph’s eleven brothers to become insatiably jealous. Thus, they sell Joseph into slavery to some passing Ishmaelites. After refusing the advances of his owner’s wife, Joseph is sent to jail. Once in jail, he quickly becomes popular due to his ability to interpret dreams. The Pharaoh soon hears of Joseph’s ability and appoints him to the post of Number Two man in Egypt. Years later, Joseph’s now starving brothers arrive in Egypt and ask Joseph, whom they don’t recognize, for assistance. Joseph, in turn, gives his brothers a scare, but eventually grants them all they desire, reveals his identity, and reunites the family.

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