Jersey Productions will probably sell a boatload of tickets for its production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat due to its large chorus of grade-school children. It's a fairly standard holiday strategy for smaller theaters -- find a show that will accommodate a large cast of kids and let the ticket purchases from friends and family put the show in the black.
The result usually looks great on the spreadsheet, but a little less solid onstage. That is the case here in Covington.
To Jersey's credit, it's a rare pleasure to see a stage so fully populated, and director/choreographer Richard Amelius does a smooth job marshalling so much stage traffic. The range of experience, however, makes the show feel more like a sloppy romp.
One welcome exception is the French-inflected number, "Those Canaan Days," in which Napthali (Christopher Smyth) and his band of brothers aggressively take the stage as their own, raising the performance from a showcase to an actual show.
Kathryn Zajac also deserves mention for her powerful backup vocal on the country-twanged "One More Angel in Heaven."
Dan Docherty, as Joseph, brings a farm-boy charm to Dreamcoat's cut-and-paste camp and pastiche, but never really radiates enough wattage to make you think he is more gifted than the rest of his clan. Liz Vosmeier, on the other hand, who serves as Narrator, has a presence that definitely belongs onstage, but she laces her performance with more irony than warmth. The result is a little chilly and shrill.
Conductor/pianist Kelly Martin and her orchestra of four provide this pageant with strong accompaniment, although the show closes with a regrettable megamix that sets previously passable performances to a dance beat. Jersey's Joseph might be good fun, but too often it's more fun than good. Grade: C+
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