"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat"
Starring Patrick Cassidy, at the Palace Theater until May 7, 2006.

Here's a show that's so unrelentingly good natured, camped-out, perfectly staged and precisely performed that it's virtually impossible to dislike. The Broadway in Columbus version that's just opened at the Palace simply overwhelms, with immense good heart and impressive technical competence, any potential pitfalls of cliche. It is also a spectacular advertisement for pure athleticism and the virtues of physical fitness.

This Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice gem has been around a long enough to be termed a standard. It's so regularly performed by school groups that half America's parents must have seen it at least one time or another. The story is Biblical, the music tuneful and, at the Palace, the staging just a shade shy of Las Vegas glitz-perfect.

In other words, take your kids, from ages six (we did that!) on up, not to mention your parents. Leave all critical blase at the door, and just sit back for a good time.

This Broadway in Columbus production is just what it should be: flat-out in-your-face meant to dazzle, entertain and seduce. The costuming and scenic designs are striking enough to play on their own, relentlessly bright, self-assured and as sweet as the music, which by now has joined the pantheon of classic show scores. From a Sphinx with shades to dance numbers that emphasize the aerobic to the dazzling disco coat that closes the show, there's always something to see with a smile or a smirk. The folks who designed this thing are bound and determined to leave no eye or ear unfilled at any moment, and they succeed.

So do the male leads Patrick Cassidy and Todd DuBail. Cassidy was apparently born a teen idol. He can certainly sing, crucial in a role that could devolve into cheap theatrics without some real talent to carry the load.

Same with Todd DuBail, who gives us a strong comic Pharoah-as-Elvis. With enough shared height to pass for an NBA backcourt, Cassidy and DuBail display enough gusto, wit and throat to carry the show on their own. Given the nature of their costumes, the program should also credit their health clubs and weight trainers.

Narrator Natalie Hill carries the female lead with grace and charm, and a lovely clarity of voice and spirit. There is no hiding in this show. It is out there, full bore, every moment, with no place for the lead singers to rest or hide. None of these performers seems to need either.

On opening night, at least, this could have passed for a musical Cirque du Soleil, and there's every reason to believe each performance will meet the same standard.

Joseph is a known quantity, and a sweet one. At the Palace, it is dazzling, good natured, genuinely funny and utterly entertaining. For kids of all ages.

Three of Harvey Wasserman's daughters have performed in various versions of JOSEPH. But he does not yet know the score by heart.