Reality TV Dreamcoat Disrobes in West End, 17 JulDate: 27 March 2007
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 28 Feb 2007), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s upcoming, reality TV-cast revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will, subject to final confirmation, open at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre on 17 July 2007 (previews from 6 July). NOTE: Booking has not yet opened for this production.
As reported on Whatsonstage.com yesterday (See News, 25 Mar 2007), Any Dream Will Do, the BBC One programme that will find the actor to take the title role in Joseph, begins airing this Saturday (31 March). Whittled down from thousands who applied via nationwide open auditions since January, 12 finalists – a number chosen, no doubt, to represent the vibrantly adorned Joseph and his 11 jealous brothers from the biblical tale on which the musical is based – will compete over eight weeks to 26 May 2007 in order to win the public vote and a chance at West End stardom à la Maria victor Connie Fisher.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started life in 1968 as a 20-minute entertainment for an end-of-term school concert. By the time it received its Broadway premiere in 1982, it had been expanded into a full two-hour show. Steven Pimlott’s record-breaking 1991 production ran for over two-and-a-half years at the West End’s London Palladium and also transferred to Broadway in 1993. Pimlott, who died last month (See News, 15 Feb 2007), later directed the all-star 1999 film – featuring Joan Collins, Richard Attenborough, Alex Jennings, Christopher Biggins and Maria Friedman as well as Donny Osmond (pictured) as Joseph – which was used in 2001 for the karaoke “Singalonga” Joseph that continues to tour theatres regionally (and, on the back of Any Dream Will Do, will return to the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square this summer).
The stage musical was most recently seen in the West End care of Bill Kenwright’s production, running at the New London theatre for two-and-a-half years until it closed in September 2005. That revival featured, at different points, former boyband stars Stephen Gately (of Boyzone) and Ian ‘H’ Watkins (Steps) in the title role. Others who have donned the robe over the years have included Philip Schofield, Jason Donovan, David Cassidy and Andy Gibb.
With music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, Joseph’s popular score includes the songs "Any Dream Will Do", "Close Ev'ry Door to Me", “Go, Go, Go Joseph”, “Those Canaan Days”, “Benjamin Calypso” and "One More Angel in Heaven".
For Any Dream Will Do, Lloyd Webber will be joined by a judging panel comprising actor John Barrowman, vocal coach Zoe Tyler (both of whom appeared on last year’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?), actress Denise Van Outen and impresario Bill Kenwright, who continues to tour Joseph extensively.
On Saturday nights in April and May, Any Dream Will Do goes head-to-head with Grease Is the Word, the ITV programme to cast a couple to star as Danny and Sandy in the new West End revival of Grease, opening at the Piccadilly Theatre in August (See News, 16 Mar 2007). The rival reality show – involving Grease’s lead producer David Ian, who was also Lloyd Webber’s Sound of Music co-producer and fellow judge on last year’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? - airs for ten weeks from 7 April to 9 June and is officially launched to the press with an event tomorrow night (Wednesday 28 March 2007) at the Bloomsbury Ballroom.
No casting or creative team details have yet been announced for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, though Lloyd Webber has previously confirmed that the new staging will be based on the “wonderful direction” from Steven Pimlott’s 1991 production. At the time of the director’s death at the age of 53 last month, Lloyd Webber wrote on his website www.andrewlloydwebber.com that Pimlott’s “loss is incalculable”. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is presented in the West End by Lloyd Webber and the Really Useful Theatre Company.
Currently at the Adelphi Theatre, and also produced by Really Useful, Michael Grandage’s revival of another Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical, 1978’s Evita, stars Elena Roger and Philip Quast as Argentine first couple Eva and Juan Peron. It closes on 26 May after a run of 11 months (See News, 28 Feb 2007).
- by Terri Paddock