The shows must go on, after a brief period in which the shows will not, in fact, be going on.
Since the start of quarantine, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s YouTube channel (through a complicated corporate partnership with Universal) has been posting various stage-to-screen musicals every weekend, and this Friday’s encore showing of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be the last before a month-ish long hiatus.
The series will return for a second season in August with… something? Hm, that’s vague. Well, for now, let’s do our best to enjoy Donny Osmond’s chest.
Full disclosure: I’ve never managed to make it all the way through this show, as it features what I consider the most repulsive sound imaginable, children singing. I am also not thrilled to see that an Osmond is hot. Still, there’s a cameo by Joan Collins, an actress who is indisputably most famous for her portrayal of Mrs. Slaghoople in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, as well as some not unpleasant costume designs, so now’s as good a time as any to give it another shot.
Originally presented as a 15-minute-long composition (as many of Sir Andy’s works should have been), Joseph is a wriggly retelling of a Bible story—a sort of proto-JC-Superstar. Thanks to the contributions of then-20-year-old Tim Rice, the songs have poppy hooks that cling to your brain like a slime mold, with mild-mannered lyrics that will not perturb your delicate sensibilities.
Probably the most interesting thing to happen to the production is the time that a school in New Zealand changed the lyric “children of Israel are never alone” to “children of kindness are never alone.” The school said they wanted to avoid being political, which … why do a Bible story then??? Andrew Lloyd Weber called the change “terribly drippy,” an insult that’s more memorable than half the songs in the show.
Anyway, this production of Joseph goes live on Friday morning at 11am pacific, and will remain available to watch until Sunday morning. As with most of the Shows Must Go On series, it’s a fundraiser for Britain's NHS, which makes the endeavor itself frustratingly unassailable. See you in August.