Monday, 25 August 2014 15:48

Broadway’s ‘Show of Many Colors’

Written by  Allison Parker
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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat
Broadway Grand Rapids
DeVos Performance Hall
Sept. 30-Oct. 5; show times at 1, 2, 6:30, 7:30 and 8 p.m.
$30-$75, (616) 235-6285 

Put red, yellow, brown, green and every shade in between together and you get the most fabulous coat on Broadway. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat brings a vivid palette of breathtaking hues to Broadway Grand Rapids this month.

Narrating this biblical Cinderella story is none other than "American Idol" runner-up Diana DeGarmo. Her new husband and fellow "Idol" alum Ace Young joins her onstage as the musical’s titular character, Joseph.

Already boasting several Broadway roles under their belts, the couple was eager to sign on to Joseph with Andy Blankenbeuhler as their director.

“When [Ace and I] heard that Andy Blankenbuehler was going to direct and choreograph, we knew we wanted to jump on board because he is kind of like a modern-day Joseph,” DeGarmo said. “He has such an exciting and inspiring new idea of what Joseph could be and how to honor what Joseph has been for the last 30 years, but how to make it new and hip and current feeling, and we knew it was a project we had to be a part of.”

Like earlier productions, Blankenbuehler’s Joseph features a diverse offering of musical selections ranging from Broadway ballads to an Elvis-inspired number.

Noteworthy changes include challenging choreography updates and minor song alterations. A duet reprise of one of the songs has also been added, featuring both DeGarmo and Young.

Perhaps the most conspicuous new addition to the production is the technicolor dream coat itself. Hand sewn and dyed for this production, the coat was modeled after Marc Chagall’s stained-glass windows in Jerusalem with the help of a textile designer. The elaborate costume features each of Jacob’s 12 blessings and each of the 29 colors listed in the song “Joseph’s Coat.”

“I mean, it truly is stunning," Young said. "The way that the lights hit it, and it lights up onstage… I don’t even see it, strictly, until it’s onstage and it’s brought out during the show, and then it’s swished away. I mean it’s literally—it has it’s own track. It’s its own character.”

Much like the rainbow garment itself, Joseph is a mosaic. Not only is there a song for every musical palate, but also there is a relatable character for every age group. The musical’s smorgasbord quality, feel-good message and universal themes make it an accessible production with a broad appeal.

“It’s a great first show for a lot of people, if you have like kids or young children in your family all the way up to maybe that uncle or aunt that may not be into musical theatre, this is a great show to bring them to," DeGarmo said. "It literally has a little bit of something for everyone. It’s very family friendly; it’s very fun and fast-paced."

When comparing their roles in Joseph to their appearances on "Idol," DeGarmo and Young said their Broadway experiences allow them to appear before audiences in a transformed way.

“Our goal is to make you believe our characters, and our characters are much different from our true selves, so it’s really cool and a lot of fun to take everybody to another place, an unexpected place," Young said. "'Idol' is more about the literal. Musical theatre is about the dreaming and the fantasy."



Carrie the Musical
Circle Theatre, Grand Rapids
Sept. 4-6, 10-14, 17-20; show times at 5, 7:30 and 11:59 p.m.
$13.50-27, (616)456-6656

Based on the Stephen King novel, Carrie is the dark tale of a troubled teen with a shocking secret. Smothered by her religious mother and savagely taunted by her peers, it’s only a matter of time before Carrie reaches her breaking point. When she becomes the victim of one of fiction’s most infamous pranks, Carrie lets her terrifying powers loose. For an extra jolt of horror, come to the midnight showing of this chilling thriller.


NorthEast (NORDOST)
Dog Story Theater, Grand Rapids
Sept. 4-7, 11-13; show times at 3 & 8 p.m.
$15, (616) 425-9234

Freshly translated from German, NorthEast is part of the Actors’ Theatre Second Space Series. The story focuses on the experience of three women during the 2002 Chechan siege of Dubrovka Theatre. The first woman is sitting inside the theatre with her daughter, waiting for a show to begin. The second is a young widow mourning on the other side of town. The third is a doctor who suddenly receives a radio call about the siege.

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