Broadway Theatre League of NEPA brings ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ to Scranton Cultural Center Feb. 5-7
SCRANTON — No wonder Joseph’s many brothers resent him.
The colorful coat their father gave him proves Joseph is the paternal favorite, and the young man is prone to such conceited remarks as “I look handsome, I look smart. I am a walking work of art.”
Then there are his dreams. He doesn’t hesitate to tell his father’s 11 other sons how he dreamed about 11 sheaves of small, greenish corn bowing down to his large, golden sheaf, and about 11 other stars bowing down to a star that represented him.
“Anybody who’s ever grown up with siblings finds you do grow jealous sometimes. I don’t blame them for that,” said Laura Helm, who has the singing role of the narrator in the touring production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” that the Broadway Theatre League of NEPA is bringing to the Scranton Cultural Center Feb. 5-7.
The narrator doesn’t fault Simeon, Levi and the rest for feeling envious, but she knows they go too far.
“I would never throw my brothers into a pit,” said Helm, who has two real-life brothers, “or sell them to the Ishmaelites.”
Biblical scholars and Andrew Lloyd Webber fans know Joseph’s siblings take his fancy coat, throw him into a pit and lie to their father, telling him Joseph is dead. In reality, they sell the boy to a caravan of Ishmaelites who take him to Egypt — where he eventually becomes a successful government official.
“Last year I was doing ‘Jekyll & Hyde,’ a much darker show,” Helm said. “This one is so magical. I love to meet a little girl or little boy after the show who tells me ‘That was so much fun!’ It’s definitely a relatable show, with every type of dance and every type of music.”
Reggae, hip-hop, country, Elvis-style — it’s all there, Helm said, and freshened up by the direction and choreography of Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler but keeping Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music and Tim Rice’s “so cleverly obvious rhyming” lyrics intact.
“I love this show. It’s familiar, down-home pleasure,” Helm said, adding one of her favorite numbers to perform is “Poor, Poor Joseph.”
“They’re ripping his coat off and throwing him in a pit and selling him. It’s like (the computer game) Frogger,” she said with a laugh. “They’re all running one way and he’s running the other.”
Actually, Helm has been loving the show since she was a Massachusetts fourth-grader playing Joseph’s brother Dan because there were more girls in the cast than boys. At that time she also shared the role of the narrator with three other children. “Now it’s all mine,” she said.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT
IF YOU GO
What: ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’
Who: Presented by Broadway in Scranton
Where: Scranton Cultural Center, 420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 5; 2 and 8 p.m. Feb. 6; 1 p.m. Feb. 7.