By GEORGETTE SPELVIN
Genesis tells us Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Audiences tell us they love Joseph a lot too, or this wouldn’t be the third go-round of “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for the Cocoa Village Playhouse.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s seminal pop opera fills the many seats at the stately old Aladdin, just as it fills that broad stage. It’s a show with 76 actors, a couple of faux camels and some comic sheep that should not be described here because you do not want to be spoiled. What that all means is that the production has to be quite well managed, with top-rate sets, props and costumes, and it is.
“Joseph” is as energetic as it is expansive, and the chief energy-expander in this production is Jason Crase, in the title role for the third time at CVP. The biblical dream-teller is onstage and singing for virtually the entire show; and Crase, who still looks like a kid, under that golden-blond weave, is more than up to the task. He did not quit and neither did his voice, a fine thing, by the time you get to the “Any Dream Will Do” reprise. He is wonderful.
The other star of the show is the redoubtable Rick Roach as Pharaoh, who has down pat the Kingly sneer and the rock-and-roll moves that go with it. The only thing missing is the peanut butter and banana sandwich. Does that give you a clue?
The rest of the cast is fine, with excellent turns by Joseph’s 11 brothers. (Quick: Can you name the 12 Tribes of Israel?) Anyway, Doug Grandey, Sam Henderson, Terry Clowney, Rob Barone, Chris Waterman, Keith Larson, Kyle McDonald, Jonathan Goforth, Devlyn Holman, David Morales and John Sayut did the guys after whom they were named, really, really funnily and really, really well. Those men can harmonize.
Everyone on this cast can sing, not least its youthful trio of narrators, Eliana Berrean, Hope Goodman and Nicole Ramos, who showed self-possession worthy of stage veterans. As for the kids with whom they sang…awwwww.If “Joseph” had a fault, it was kind of minor: At times it was difficult to hear some of the actors, including Pharaoh Roach and the narrators, possibly an electronic problem. I’m betting that the problem will have been solved in time for the second weekend, though.
So “Joseph” was “Joseph:” big, bright and busy; pure entertainment. Still trying to remember that 12th tribe? It’s Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulon, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali or Benjamin…
…Or Joseph. Don’t forget Joseph. It runs through Oct. 9. Enjoy it.
SIDE O’ GRITS: “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” runs through Oct. 9 at the Cocoa Village Playhouse, 300 Brevard Ave., Cocoa. Tickets are $19 to $30. Call 321-636-5050 or click onto their ad.