Charismatic “American Idol” alumni Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young will star as The Narrator and Joseph in the vivacious 2014 touring version of the 1973 West End and 1982 Broadway musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, which will play the Durham Performing Arts Center on May 13-18 as part of DPAC‘s SunTrust Broadway Series.
When tour director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler first met “American Idol” 2006 finalist Ace Young and 2004 runner-up Diana DeGarmo, he says that he was delighted to find that becoming overnight celebrities hadn’t swollen their heads. “They are such warm-hearted, generous, small-town people,” says Blankenbuehler.
He adds, “They are tremedously talented, and they are both wonderful people. They sing beautifully, and they are great players … plus, they are totally team players…. Their love for [Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat] trickles down to the company,and helps create a wonderful environment for the company.”
The runner-up to High Point, NC native Fantasia Barrino in “American Idol’s” third season, Diana DeGarmo is a singer and songwriter who made her Broadway debut as Penny Pingleton in Hairspray in 2006; and Ace Young was a finalist on the fifth season of “American Idol,” which was won by Birmingham, AL native Taylor Hicks. Young, who made his Broadway debut as a Kenickie in the 2007 revival of Grease, met DeGarmo while she was playing Sheila and he was playing Berger in the 2009 Broadway Revival of Hair. They married on June 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, where they make their home.
“During my junior year in high school, our school did Joseph, and it was the first thing that I ever choreographed,” says 44-year-old Cincinnati, OH native Andy Blankenbuehler, who won the 2008 Tony Award® for Best Choreography and the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography, both for his work on In the Heights; and he was also nominated for the Tony for Best Choreography in 2009 for 9 to 5 and in 2013 for Bring It On The Musical
Blankenbuehler says, “It is nice to come full circle…. There is definitely an energy about this piece that speaks to a younger heart…. There’s a youthful energy about this story of redemption and second chances….
This pioneering biblical musical, which is based on the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors in Chapters 37-50 of the Book of Genesis, started out on March 1, 1968 as a 15-minute pop cantata written for the Colet Court School in London, England. It was recorded by Decca Records in 1969 as a concept album. A greatly revamped and expanded version of Joseph opened in London’s West End on Oct. 16, 1972 at the Young Vic Theatre and later transferred to the Albery Theatre. It ran for 243 performances.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat made its Broadway debut on Jan. 27, 1982 at the Royale Theatre, where it ran for 747 performances. Joseph received seven 1982 Tony Award® nominations, including nominations for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score. In 1999, the West End and Broadway hit became a television movie starring Donny Osmond as Joseph.
“I wanted to make Joseph more contemporary, a more fluid production,” says 2014 tour director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler. So, he says that the tour is employing a lot of projections to create a “malleable world” on stage.
“There’s a simplicity about this piece — it follows a clear emotional line — but it has its caricature moments,” explains Blankenbuehler.
Composer Baron Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Sir Tim Rice employ a variety of musical styles to retell this familiar Old Testament tale of egotism, jealousy, betrayal, and forgiveness in a fresh, new way. They smoothly shift gears from rock-and-roll to country-and-western to calypso to pop ballads.
In addition to using projections to make the scene shifts more cinematic, Andy Blankenbuehler has taken a fresh, new look at the piece. “Things today move very fast,” he says. “[So, Joseph] moves in a way that feels very contemporary.”
Besides director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, the show’s creative team includes associate director Christopher Windom; associate choreographer Michael Balderrama; technical director T.J. King; scenic designer Beowulf Boritt; lighting designer Howell Binkley; costume designer Jennifer Caprio; wig designers Dave Bova, J. Jared Janas, and Rob Greene; video and projection designer Daniel Brodie; sound designers John Shivers and David Patridge; musical supervisor David Kreppel; music director Wayne Green; music coordinator Talitha Fehr; and production stage manager Ryan J. Bell. The musical features orchestrations by John Cameron and additional orchestrations by David Kreppel, Simon Lee, and Nigel Wright.
In addition to Diana DeGarmo as Narrator and Ace Young as Joseph, the tour cast includes William Thomas Evans as Jacob; Brian Golub as Reuben, Christine Cornish Smith as Reuben’s wife; Vincent D’Elia as an Ishmaelite and a Butler; Will Mann as an Ishmaelite and Judah; William Thomas Evans as Potiphar, Claire Camp as Mrs. Potiphar, Patrick John Moran as the Baker, Ryan Williams as Pharaoh, Paul Castree as Simeon, and Brandon Hudson as Benjamin. David Rossetti is the production’s dance captain; and the ensemble includes Brett Stoelker, Chip Abbott, Amanda Braun, Jonathan Burke, Richard Cerato, Lisa Finegold, Lili Froehlich, Sasha Hollinger, Mark Roland, Tricia Tanguy, and Matthew Tiber.
“A lot of people are huge fans of this show,” says Andy Blankenbuehler. “I believe we’re going to give them a production that’s fresh to them. It’ll be a great night out….”
SECOND OPINION: May 13th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh interview with Diana DeGarmo, conducted by Larisa Mount: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Interviews-Diana-DeGarmo-Dishes-on-JOSEPH-AND-THE-AMAZING-TECHNICOLOR-DREAMCOAT-Playing-DPAC-This-Week-20140513#.U3JP8SjOvqE; May 8th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/lifestyles/entertainment/x483415065/-American-Idol-alums-star-in-Joseph-production-at-DPAC (Note: You must register to read this article); and May 7th Burlington, NC Times-News preview by Rachel Teseneer for “Teens & Twenties”: http://teensandtwenties.com/family-friendly-joseph-brings-biblical-story-to-life/.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, starring Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, at 7:30 p.m. May 13-15, 8 p.m. May 16, 2 and 8 p.m. May 17, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. May 18 at at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $32.25-$111.25 (including fees).
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), email@example.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1953746.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services.
SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat and https://www.facebook.com/events/429563567152365/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://www.josephthemusical.com/ustour/videos/
TOUR: http://www.josephthemusical.com/, https://www.facebook.com/JosephMusicalUS, and https://twitter.com/JosephMusical.
TOUR CAST: http://www.josephthemusical.com/ustour/people/cast/.
TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://www.josephthemusical.com/ustour/people/creative/.
TOUR ORCHESTRA: http://www.josephthemusical.com/ustour/the-show/the-music/.
DPAC NEWS RELEASE: http://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/diana-degarmo-as-the-narrator-and-ace-young-as-joseph-in-joseph-and-the-amazing-technicolor-dreamcoat.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, and https://twitter.com/DPAC.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968 cantata and 1973 West End and 1982 Broadway biblical musical): http://www.josephthemusical.com/ (official website), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=4942 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/shows/?show=Joseph%20and%20the%20Amazing%20Technicolor%20Dreamcoat (Andrew Lloyd Webber web page), http://www.timrice.co.uk/joseph.html (Tim Rice web page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_and_the_Amazing_Technicolor_Dreamcoat (Wikipedia).
Baron Andrew Lloyd Webber (music): http://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/ (official website), http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=12073 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/AndrewLloydWebber (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/OfficialALW (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Lloyd_Webber (Wikipedia).
Sir Tim Rice (lyrics): http://www.timrice.co.uk/ (official website), (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sir-Tim-Rice-Official/104931586217569 (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/SirTimRice (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Rice (Wikipedia).
Andy Blankenbuehler (tour director and choreographer): https://www.broadwaydancecenter.com/faculty/bios/blankenbuehler_andy.shtml (Broadway Dance Center faculty bio), http://www.josephthemusical.com/ustour/artists/andy-blankenbuehler/ (show bio), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=32280 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Blankenbuehler (Wikipedia).
Diana DeGarmo (The Narrator): http://www.dianaofficial.com/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/pages/Diana-DeGarmo/124064927901 (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/DianaDeGarmo (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_DeGarmo (Wikipedia).
Ace Young (Joseph): http://www.aceofficial.com/ (official website), https://www.facebook.com/AceYoungOfficial (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/IAMACEYOUNG (Twitter page), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_Young (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)