March 1 2017 01:04 PM

Owosso Community Players tackles tale of biblical proportions

The singing, orchestra, choreography and sets were all rather amazing. And the coat? Well, that was pretty amazing, too.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Owosso Community Players’ latest production, was a musical on a grand scale. The nearly 50 performers, directed admirably by Lyn Freeman, cavorted on elaborate sets to music expertly played while executing clever unison dance moves and wearing splendid clothing.

The dreamcoat was not the only amazing costume to grace the Lebowsky Center stage. Most outfits were complex, detailed and suited for a Technicolor show. All 11 of Joseph’s distinctive brothers had distinctive costumes designed by Freeman, Ann Hall and Joanne Morovitz. The myriad ensemble characters wore hats, robes or gowns that were majestic. Everyone on stage changed costumes multiple times — usually into another magnificent outfit.

The sets also changed regularly. Platforms and stage embellishments — often put in place by the actors — included long tables, a lengthy, multi-colored stairway and a backdrop that lit up. At times, thin side flats were lowered, or huge, church-like frames or jail bars dropped to the stage. Painted backcloths were impressive because of both their artwork and their size. To tell the biblical story of Joseph and his storied past, backdrops were used that were at least two stories high.

Vinnie Lindquist, as Joseph, commanded the lead role. Besides having movie star looks, he had a beautiful voice. His solos deserved the thunderclaps of applause that followed each one. When Lindquist harmonized with Rachael Cupples, who played the narrator, the sounds were especially gorgeous.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” used non-stop songs to convey its dialogue. A pompadour-ed Quentin Brainerd II, who also played brother Simeon, turned in an impressive Elvis impersonation as Pharaoh.

As the frequent narrator of “Dreamcoat,” Cupples sang dreamily, sometimes hitting notes so high it seemed only dogs in Heaven could hear them.

But some the most heavenly singing in the 100-minute show came from a 19-piece children’s chorus. Sadly, the lack of amplification for the youngsters made their angelic voices sound like they might have come from too high above. The delightful cherubs were often hard to hear.

Alas, that wasn’t the only sound issue with the Owosso production. Too soft or too loud levels, unbalanced microphones and a one-time audible crackle spoiled the near-flawlessness of the production. I never heard a sour note from the stage or the orchestra pit, which was conducted by Jillian Boots. I never saw a significantly out-of-step dancer performing one of Cupples’ masterfully choreographed songs or any actual accidents by actors who accomplished arduous acrobatic acts.

There are plenty of reasons to see the Owosso “Dreamcoat” show — including the aforementioned coat. Joseph’s coat/ cape was truly remarkable. In addition to its intricate pleats, ornamentations and stitching, the garment had more colors than any rainbow. In fact, the titular coat had so many hues, it took two verses of a song to list them.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”
Owosso Community Players
8 p.m. Friday, March 3; 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4; 3 p.m. Sunday, March 5
$21.50/$19.50 students and seniors/$11.50 children
Lebowsky Center 122 E. Main St., Owosso
(989) 723-4003, owossoplayers.com

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