Review: ‘Joseph’ Puts a Brilliant Bow on La Mirada Theatre’s 2022-23 Season

Chris McCarrell (center) and company in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, CA. Photo credit: Jason Niedle

What started off as a project for a London prep-school has turned into an enduring phenomenon for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice whose first collaboration in the late 1960s, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, again takes center stage in breathtaking fashion at La Mirada Theatre through Sunday, June 25th. McCoy Rigby Entertainment’s 2022-23 procession of hits, which has satisfied audiences with flying colors, culminates with the most colorful of all in Joseph…, an energizing spectacle that flourishes on the collective coattails of awe-inspiring cast members, led by director/choreographer Gerry McIntyre, who keep things moving at a lightning pace.

With no spoken, but only sung words, Joseph… functions as an oratorio with melodic hints of what Webber would later be capable of. Over the course of the one-hour-and-forty-five-minute duration, musical director Jennifer Lin and her fantastic pit orchestra, along with sound designer Josh Bessom, ensure that the audience feels they’re experiencing a concert as much as they are a staged musical. There are surges of excitement and stimuli coming forth in every direction, not the least of which is a multichromatic visual feast by lighting designer Jean-Yves Tessier, costumes galore (including Joseph’s one-of-a-kind coat), and a set that highlights the humble Canaan as well as Egypt with its impressive pharaoh statues.

Kelli Rabke (center) with the Voices of Hope Children’s Choir in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, CA. Photo credit: Jason Niedle

Best of all, one doesn’t need to be religious to enjoy this particular story about Joseph from the Bible’s Book of Genesis, which examines envy, hope, and forgiveness mixed in with a dreamscape of scenes which alternate between provoking laughter and astonishing with dance finesse. A voguish Narrator (Kelli Rabke) pushes forward a premise that sees Joseph (Chris McCarrell) earmarked for greatness by his father Jacob (Peter Allen Vogt) who bequeaths his favorite son with a special multicolored coat. However, Joseph’s 11 brothers have another thing in mind for their divine kin, whose prophesizing dreams foretell a future where he will rise above them all. Consequently, the jealous brethren furtively sell Joseph as a slave all the while selling the yarn of his death to their grieve-stricken dad. As Joseph’s dream-deciphering skills become more known, he finds himself in the company of the pompadour-styled, jumpsuit-clad Pharaoh (Daniel Dawson) before again coming face to face with his long-suffering siblings.

As simple as the narrative is, it works because the performers not only bring the material alive, but often transcend it, making this Joseph… must-see. McIntyre’s impact is largely felt in a show that has no respites, feverishly jumping from one number to the next. Notwithstanding that, the audience never feels burned out and instead is apt to feel more exhilarated by the staggering vocals and clever dance sequences, especially as Act I sets the stage for an even more sizzling Act II.

(Standing in the Center, L-R) Dino Nicandros and Peter Allen Vogt with the company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, CA. Photo credit: Jason Niedle

Rabke, who was initially handpicked by Webber to be the Narrator in the 1993 Joseph… revival, again offers an experienced leadership and radiating confidence in the role. Having been cast by the discerning Julia Flores, Rabke offers an important credibility that can’t be denied, which is reinforced by her powerhouse voice. Filling the sandals of Joseph is the rockstar-esque McCarrell who is stellar at conveying his character’s range of emotions and journey from persona non grata to one of Egypt’s VIPs, never losing his humility along the way. Of note is that McCarrell, whose blonde wig appears incredibly real (a credit to hair/wig/makeup designers Kaitlin Yagen and Madison Medrano) has a timbre that not only feels innocent but ultra-soothing, making songs like “Any Dream Will Do” and “Close Every Door” extraordinarily pleasant to the ear.

Beloved character actor Vogt makes for an amiable Jacob who, in a fantastic bit, howls in horror every time he’s reminded of Joseph’s apparent passing. Vogt, who will readily admit he is not an elite singer, plays up this very fact to the tune of several laughs. Moreover, Vogt amps up the fun factor even more as the affluent slave-owner in Potiphar, who, in a spectacularly resplendent striped suit, angrily approaches his chattel, Joseph, whom he suspects is potentially smitten with his seductress of a wife, Mrs. Potiphar, portrayed by Ellie Barrett who scorches with her amorous body language.

(Center, L-R) Daniel Dawson and Chris McCarrell with the company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, CA. Photo credit: Jason Niedle

The über-talented Daniel Dawson is infectious as not only brother Levi, but the sole sovereign of the Egyptian land, the Pharaoh, who bears a striking resemblance to Elvis Presley. When he bursts onstage in Act II, he truly does sing a song suited for a king, crooning his way through a pop ditty that reminds of Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel” and yet feels original enough that it very well could have been an entry in the King of Rock and Roll’s discography.

Joseph’s brothers — as hilariously paranoid, deceitful, and yet redeemable as they are — are additionally depicted by James Everts, Brandon Keith Rogers, Juan Guillen, Marcus Phillips, Rorey Michelangelo, Kurt Kemper, Edgar Lopez, Dino Nicandros, Ceron Jones, and Josh Grisetti. That said, they wear many literal hats, changing in and out of countless costumes and headdresses as they walk and gesture like Egyptians. Not to mention, Michelangelo also amazes as an Apache Dancer, partnering with Bridget Whitman, who is able to do a full, mid-air revolution with merely her leg being used as a lever. Kemper and Lopez, too, garner chuckles as the Butler and Baker, respectively, who as prison peers of Joseph, have their dreams (and destinies) interpreted by the biblical figure.

(Standing in the Center, L-R) Josh Grisetti and Ceron Jones with the company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, CA. Photo credit: Jason Niedle

Not to be understated is the fact that three of the brothers have featured roles in a trio of catchy songs. The charismatic Nicandros, as Reuben, becomes the ultimate cowboy with a velvety southern cadence, yee-hawing and passionately skipping across the stage in “One More Angel in Heaven/Hoedown,” which is likewise notable for Rianny Vasquez’s grand vocalizations. Jones is a Judas audiences will want to clap for when, with a straw hat in tow, he tunefully grooves alongside his brothers during the Caribbean-inspired “Benjamin Calypso.” And, if opening night is any indication, what is likely to be the crowd’s favorite is “Those Canaan Days,” led by Grisetti who, as Simeon, somehow manipulates a cigarette better than Andrew Dice Clay. Grisetti emotes with an impeccable French accent from one lamentation to the next and, with picture-perfect expressions, strikes just the right number of satirical chords.

Given this is an ensemble-fueled musical, the Wives — who are further represented by Bernadette Bentley, Johnisa Breault, Jasiana Caraballo, Lauren Decierdo, Andrea Dobbins, Ashley Evangeline, Marie Gutierrez, and Callula Sawyer — all make significant contributions to a production that doesn’t rely on any one individual to carry the load. Last, but not least, performers as young as five years old, as part of Sarah Grandpre’s Voices of Hope Children’s Choir, make a terrific impact throughout by communicating the virtuousness and family-friendly appeal of Joseph…

Chris McCarrell (center) with the Voices of Hope Children’s Choir in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in La Mirada, CA. Photo credit: Jason Niedle

When La Mirada Theatre’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat puts an exclamation point on the proceedings with a nine-minute “Megamix” recap that we never knew we needed, it becomes clear this is exactly the type of bright and lively pageantry that has been sorely missing from theatre. If nothing else, with Joseph…, attendees of all ages will find themselves grinning from ear to ear, invigorated by the vitality that a personality 3,400 years old — and his kaleidoscopic coat — brings. Audiences are advised not to miss out on this show; otherwise, they’ll have to wait until October when they’ll be summoned to stand up for On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan, which will kick off La Mirada Theatre’s 2023-24 season.

For more information on La Mirada Theatre’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, please visit


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