Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic family musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which retells the biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and his coat of many colours and is full of unforgettable songs including 'Any Dream Will Do', 'Close Ev'ry Door To Me' and 'One More Angel'.
The original production of Joseph was 'commissioned' by the Alan Doggett, Head of Music at Colet Court School, a small 'prep' school in Hammersmith, West London. He knew Andrew's family well and knew that Andrew was trying his hand at composing, so Alan asked Andrew if he would like to compose something with a religious theme for the school's end of term concert. Andrew and his new writing partner, Tim Rice, choose the story of Bible story of Joseph, composing a 15 minute rock'n'roll pastiche version that was performed in front of an invited audiences of parents at Colet Court School on 1 March 1968. Andrew's father liked what he saw and heard and so arranged for a larger public performance to take place on 12 May 1968 at Central Hall Westminster, London in a slightly expanded 20 minute version which was well received. During the summer Andrew and Tim expanded the material again by 10 minutes and it was recorded before having another performance on 9 November 1968 at St Paul's Cathedral, London and reprised again at Central Hall on 28 January 1969.
Andrew and Tim then moved on to other things, in particular their new show, Jesus Christ Superstar, which they wrote together. Interest in Joseph And the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was reignited in 1972 with it's first theatrical staging by The Young Vic Theatre Company at the annual Edinburgh Festival. There have been four basic 'versions' of the musical staged in London: the original Frank Dunlop directed version for the Young Vic Theatre Company (1972 - 1973) which was expanded to 40 minutes and filmed and broadcast on British television; the Ken Hill London revival (1978 - 1980) which was recorded and broadcast on British BBC 4 radio; the Bill Kenwright West End revival (1980 - present) which has gone into The Guinness Book of Records as the longest running touring stage musical of all time, having completed over 30 years touring regional theatres in the UK; and the Steven Pimlott West End revival (1991 - 1996) which was filmed in a recast version staged in a film studio.
Joseph: Original West End Production 1972
Opened 16 October 1972, Closed 28 October 1972 at the Young Vic
Previewd 7 November 1972, Opened 8 November 1972, Closed 16 December 1972 at the Roundhouse
Previewed 9 February 1973, Opened 17 February 1973, Closed Saturday 15 September 1973 at the Albery Theatre (Noel Coward Theatre)
The original West End cast (at the Albery Theatre February 1973) cast featured Gary Bond as 'Joseph' with Peter Reeves with Peter Blake and Maynard Williams as 'Narrators'. Directed by Frank Dunlop with choreography by Christopher Bruce, designs by Nadine Bayline and lighting by Jules Fisher.
Frank Dunlop's 'glam-rock' staging, for the Young Vic Theatre Company, was originally seen at the Edinburgh Festival during August and September 1972 before it transferred to London: Firstly to the Young Vic Theatre when it was billed as Bible One (including Joseph.... and then at the Roundhouse Theatre when it was billed simply as Joseph..... Both these staging featured the first act: The Genesis Mediaeval Mystery Plays (Creation to Jacob) adapted from the Wakefield and York Mystery Cycles by Frank Dunlop with music by Alan Doggett.
For the West End staging at the Albery Theatre the first act was replaced with 'Jacob's Journey' which was written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson with music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. At the Albery Theatre the show was promoted as a 2-act musical under the heading Joseph.....
ITV television recorded Frank Dunlop's 45 minute staging of the musical - with Gary Bond in the title role - and it was broadcast on British television on Saturday 23 December 1972, and repeated the following Christmas on Saturday 22 December 1973.
Joseph: London Revival 1978
Previewed 27 November 1978, Opened 30 November 1978, Closed 17 February 1979 at the Westminster Theatre
Opened 1 November 1979, Closed 19 January 1980 at the Westminster Theatre
(Westminster Theatre now rebuilt as The Other Place)
The cast for the Christmas 1978 season featured Paul Jones as 'Joseph' and John Golder as 'the Narrator'. Directed by Ken Hill with choreography by David Thornton, designs by Saul Radomsky and lighting by Francis Reid. This production was recorded for radio and was broadcast on British BBC Radio 4 on Friday 22 December 1978.
The cast for the Christmas 1979 season featured Paul Jones as 'Joseph' and Clifton Todd as 'the Narrator'. Directed by Ken Hill with choreography by Francesca Lucy, designs by Saul Radomsky and lighting by Joe Davis.
Joseph: 1st West End Revival 1980
Previewed 9 December 1980, Opened 15 December 1980, Closed 7 March 1981 at the Vaudeville Theatre
Opened 23 December 1981, Closed 13 February 1982 at Sadler's Wells Theatre
Opened 16 December 1986, Closed 17 January 1987 at the Royalty Theatre (now Peacock Theatre)
Directed by Bill Kenwright with choreography by Henry Metcalfe, sets by Gerald Binns and costumes by David Terry. This production was originally brought in to the West End from a regional tour. Bill Kenwright's directed version of this show has gone into The Guinness Book of Records as the longest running touring stage musical of all time, having completed over 30 years touring regional theatres in the UK.
The cast for the Vaudeville Theatre West End Christmas 1980 season and the Sadler's Wells Christmas 1981 season featured Jess Conrad as 'Joseph' and Leo Keith Andrews as 'the Narrator'.
The cast for the Royalty Theatre Christmas 1986 season featured Mike Holoway as 'Joseph' and Karen West as 'the Narrator'.
Joseph: 2nd West End Revival 1991
Previewed 1 June 1991, Opened 12 June 1991, Closed 15 January 1994 at the London Palladium
Opened 22 February 1996, Closed 20 April 1996 at the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre
Directed by Steven Pimlott with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, designs by Mark Thompson, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound by Martin Levan. This production had been expanded by adding a 'Joseph Mega-Mix' at the end which reprised a lot of the songs, this was also the first professional production to incorporate the children's choir as an integral part of the production. This production formed the basis of the re-cast 1999 'straight-to-home-video' version, directed for film by David Mallet.
The original West End cast at the London Palladium featured Jason Donovon as 'Joseph' and Linzi Hately as 'the Narrator'. The role of 'Joseph' was played by Jason Donovan up to Saturday 11 January 1992; by Phillip Schofield from Monday 13 January to Saturday 22 February 1992; by by Jason Donavon from Monday 24 February to Saturday 23 May 1992; by Phillip Schofield from Monday 25 May 1992 to Saturday 1 May 1993; by Darren Day from Monday 3 May to Friday 21 May 1993; by Phillip Schofield from Saturday 22 May to Saturday 2 October 1993; and finally by Jason Donavon from Monday 4 October 1993 to Saturday 15 January 1994. For the return London season at the Hammersmith Apollo the role of 'Joseph' was played by Phillip Schofield.
Joseph: 3rd West End Revival 2003
Previewed 13 February 2003, Opened 3 March 2003, Closed 3 September 2005 at the New London Theatre
A brand new production produced and directed by Bill Kenwright with choreography by Henry Metcalfe, designs by Sean Cavanagh, lighting by Nick Richings and sound by Dan Samson.
The cast featured Stephen Gately as 'Joseph' from Thursday 13 February 2003 to Saturday 13 September 2003; Lee Waterworth as 'Joseph' from Monday 15 September 2003 to Saturday 4 October 2003; Darren Day as 'Joseph' from Monday 6 October 2003 to Saturday 29 November 2003, Andrew Derbyshire as 'Joseph' from Monday 1 December 2003 to Saturday 28 February 2004 and Ian 'H' Watkins from Monday 2 March 2004 to Saturday 11 September 2004. Darren Day returned to the production from Monday 14 February 2005 to Wednesday 16 March 2005 when he left the production abruptly due to 'vocal problems' and was replaced by Simon Gorton who continued in the role until the production closed on Saturday 3 September 2005.
"Here it is again, the most genuinely popular of all the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, and the first fruit of his historic collaboration with Tim Rice back in 1968, almost 35 years ago to the day. But what a wonderful and fabulous concoction this was, and remains, as Bill Kenwright's production proves... With former Boyzone star Stephen Gately as Joseph, you sense the whole freshness of pop and rock music of the time bending to a new-age theatrical musical... Tim Rice's lyrics are brilliant, Cole Porter-ish in their careful wordiness; but especially, you note, here was a score of eclectic, super-talented theatricality: and so it proved!" The Daily Mail
"I always thought that reaching my advanced age without seeing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was a miraculous stroke of luck. But on Monday I was thrilled to see former Boyzone star Stephen Gately take the lead in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's timeless classic. Bill Kenwright's masterful production of this wonderful 35-year-old musical allows Gately full range to showcase his talents. The whole splendid exercise was great fun. As a Dreamcoat virgin I felt fulfilled by a superb piece of entertainment that is certain to stand the test of time for many years." The Daily Mirror
"Bill Kenwright doesn't pretend that this is a musical with hidden depths, rather he emphasises the jaunty creativity that makes the show so appealing... There's plenty of good humoured daftness in the staging and in Sean Cavanagh's kitsch set... This is all, by and large, most enjoyable. The drawback is that it can be too energetic: it is unflaggingly jaunty and loud, and sometimes overblown. The pace rarely changes from strenuously upbeat and the volume is such that you cannot always hear the lyrics... The performances are strong and Henry Metcalfe's choreography is pleasingly corny" The Financial Times
"Stephen Gately is amusingly cocky and chipper, he can sing adequately and the role as the kid brother Joseph suits him down to the ground... The key to the musical is its unpretentious simplicity. It is a show for kids and Bill Kenwright wisely directs it as such... A super-charged cast have a ball... A bottle of pure theatrical pop, it was first uncorked 35 years ago and hasn't lost its fizz." The Express
Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in London at the New London Theatre previewed from 13 February 2003, opened on 3 March 2003 and closed on 3 September 2005
Joseph: 4th West End Revival 2007
Previewed 6 July 2007, Opened 17 July 2007, Closed 30 May 2009 at the Adelphi Theatre
Directed by Nichola Treherne, based on original direction by Steven Pimlott, with choreography by Anthony Van Laast and designs by Mark Thompson.
The role of 'Joseph' was chosen by the public through the BBC TV programme Any Dream Will Do which was broadcast on Saturday evenings from 31 March to 9 June 2007. Andrew Lloyd Webber said: "The character of Joseph is very difficult to cast. He has to be nauseatingly gorgeous so you understand why the brothers throw him in the pit and we have to be convinced of the journey he goes on and the value of forgiveness. It's a tough call." The winner of the television series was Lee Mead.
The role of 'Joseph was played by Lee Mead from Friday 6 July 2007 to Saturday 10 January 2008; by Ricky Rojas from Monday 12 January 2008 to Saturday 7 February 2008; by Gareth Gates from Monday 9 February 2009 to Saturday 23 May 2009; and Ricky Rojas from Monday 25 May 2009 to Saturday 30 May 2009. The role of 'the Narrator' was played by Preeya Kalidas from Friday 6 July 2007 to Saturday 10 January 2008; and by Jenna Lee-James from Monday 12 January 2008 to Saturday 30 May 2009.
"This early Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice show is a poppy, popup, rainbow-coloured, musical Sunday-school story. The sphinxes' eyes roll, but by today's standards, this revival of Steven Pimlott's 1991 hit is technologically unsophisticated and charmingly old-fashioned. Lloyd Webber's score has great fun parodying musical genres, from country-and western, French ballads, disco, to rock'n'roll. And Rice's lyrics have wit and bounce. As cheesy as it's corny, it's an unapologetically feel-good confection. Go, go, go; expect delight, but no surprises." The Mail on Sunday
"Lee Mead looks great and wellies out his songs with do-or-die devotion to his task... This is folie de grandeur on a, er, grand scale. The brilliance of this script was its lack of ambition: a pastiche of many musical styles, from rock'n'roll to calypso, for school children to make into rough, exhilarating musical theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber's tunes are charming and stick to the brain like Superglue and Tim Rice's lyrics are, at moments, not unworthy of Lorenz Hart. When they first wrote it they probably never dreamt of the West End showdown they now have on their hands. But here it is. A revival of the late Stephen Pimlott's 1991 West End production, ramped up into an even more monstrous money-spinner, predicated on a reality TV show, with no more creative input than a shed-load of money. At its best Joseph tells a parable about arrogance, bullying, forgiveness and redemption. Here, overlaid with the reality TV gloss of a struggling actor turned into a star, it's nothing more than the old musical theatre cliché of rags to riches." The Sunday Telegraph
"High-minded commentators may speculate, with agonised expressions, about the enduring appeal of Lloyd Webber's musicals. There is really no mystery: the fact is, they're bloomin' brilliant. All right, some of us are never going to get on with Starlight Express, but the early ones are incomparable - not least because they were written with Tim Rice... This particular Joseph is, of course, slyly self-referential, although certainly not postmodern in any other way. In this musical about dreams coming true, Lee Mead, from Essex, cab driver's son and winner of the television talent show Any Dream Will Do, takes to the West End stage in nothing but a skimpy loincloth and a smile. How does he fare? He's perfect... You chuckle all over again at Rice's lyrics, the best of their type since WS Gilbert's... Lloyd Webber's masterly magpie pastiches of reggae, rock'n'roll, even French accordion music, sound as fresh and funny as ever. And special mention for the choreographer, Anthony Van Laast. I never thought I'd find myself writing the words 'witty choreography', but there, I just did." The Sunday Times
Joseph in London at the Adelphi Theatre previewed from 6 July 2007, opened on 17 July 2007 and closed on 30 May 2009.