From Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the biblically inspired “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is a family-friendly musical opening Friday at Sooner Theatre about the Old Testament story of Joseph and, yes, his coat of many colors.
The favorite son and prone to prophetic dreams, Joseph is sold into slavery as a boy by his jealous brothers and taken to Egypt. After a series of challenging adventures and time in prison, he eventually lands in the court of the Pharaoh, where he has the opportunity as an adult to condemn or forgive the family that wronged him as a child.
Director Lisa Fox, who is celebrating her sixth year working with Sooner Theater, became acquainted with “Dreamcoat” by listening to the music with her kids.
“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s tunes are so well-written. They really stick in your head,” said Fox. “You totally leave the theater humming the songs.”
For “Dreamcoat,” Webber incorporated a variety of song styles from country and calypso to bubble-gum pop and rock ’n’ roll that Fox said serves as a great introduction for kids to other kinds of music.
When presenting a story like Joseph’s, considered sacred by so many, she said the biggest challenge is not offending people.
“You’re not making light of the story, but you do exaggerate some things for entertainment value, while also trying not to stray from the core message,” said Fox. “I do think it stays very true to the biblical story, though.”
She credited the musical’s popularity in schools, churches and community theater to its accessible and inspiring story, great music, that it works with a young cast and remains effective as a bare-bones production.
“Unlike some of Webber’s stuff, you don’t need a huge budget to put it up. You can do it with no sets and very little costuming and still have it be entertaining,” said Fox.
In the end, she feels it’s the compelling story that keeps audiences coming back.