Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster County, PA has once again brought the Bible to life with another enchanting theatrical experience. This time the production is Joseph and for those who want a more straight forward adaptation than what Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice came up with, this show is definitely for you.
For those that need a quick refresher on the story, Joseph is one of Jacob’s twelve sons and is his favorite. The other brothers are jealous of Joseph’s talents and the fact that he has Jacob’s favor. Jacob has given Joseph a coat of many colors as a gift. Joseph constantly talks of the dreams he has and the brothers think he is a little insane. One day the brothers decide to make Joseph go away permanently and tell Jacob his son is dead. He is sold to an Ishmaelite and then to the well-to-do Mr. and Mrs. Potiphar. For being a slave he is actually treated quite well but Mrs. Potiphar is a bit of a drama queen so she accuses Joseph of sexual molestation after he does not succumb to her advances. He is thrown into a cell with other prisoners and thinks this is where he will be forever.
Pharaoh has heard about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams and calls upon him to help interpret his own and then makes him a top advisor. Joseph tells Pharaoh a big famine will fall upon the land and when the brothers show up looking for grain, Joseph has to decide whether or not to forgive his brothers for what they had done to him. If you need any more plot, see the show or read the book.
…another enchanting theatrical experience.
Sight and Sound believes that all the people working on one of their shows are equal in importance. This includes everyone from the folks on and back stage all the way down to the people who deal with the parking out front. Based on this principle, there are very few names associated with the show that they will allow me to mention so as to keep with the theatre’s policy.
I can tell you that the cast is simply superb. I saw the third show of the day but you wouldn’t have known it. The energy level was extremely high throughout. A prime example of this is the production number called “Seven Years of Plenty,” which features exuberant choreography by Wally Calderon.
Director Dan Deal never makes the show feel forced and lets the story unfold naturally. He has a huge stage to play with as well as two side stages to the left and right of the audience.
Like several other Sight and Sound shows I have seen, music is a big part of telling the story. Composer Don Harper has scored the show just like a movie with lots of effective and soaring underscore while writing several songs as well. My favorite of the songs is Joseph’s big power ballad called “When Dreams Come True.” Harper along with Tim Kelly, Tom Caleraro and Steve Wilkinson provide the orchestrations and to say that the scoring is as epic as everything else in the show is an understatement. It took around 70 musicians under Harper’s baton to bring his score to full fruition. The bulk of the music was recorded in Prague the Czech Republic by the Prague Symphony Orchestra and then additional scoring was done afterwards in Nashville, Tennessee.
The sets depicting palaces, marketplaces and other biblical locales are as grand as described in the original story. The production also utilizes real animals including camels, sheep and goats.
The thing that always impresses me when I go to a Sight and Sound production is how honestly the material is treated. Yes, there are things always added for theatrical effect but the underline message always comes shining through. In this case there is the character of a comedic jail keeper added, and the storyline of Joseph marrying and raising a family is more pronounced than in the original story.
The message in Joseph is based on forgiveness and putting God first. Sight and Sound Theatre brings this message to the masses loud and clear.
Put your family in the car and take a trip to Lancaster County, PA and witness what Sight and Sound has to offer with Joseph. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and you might come away with something as well. That my fellow readers, is what good theatre is about.
Running Time: Two hours and 35 minutes with one intermission.
Joseph runs through October 17, 2015 at Sight and Sound Theatre which is located at 300 Hartman Bridge Rd, Strasburg, PA. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
Here is a recording of Don Harper’s amazing composition called “When Dreams Come True” from the original cast recording of Joseph. Orchestration by Tom Caleraro.