An LGBTQ-Friendly Biblical Production to Celebrate Pride Month With

PHOTO CREDIT:  Jason Niedle:   Chris McCarrell (center) and the "Children’s Choir" star in the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment production of “JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT,” directed and choreographed by Gerry McIntyre and now playing at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat is, like their 1971 Broadway hit Jesus Christ Superstar, a rock
rendition of a tale from the Bible. Framed through the prism of a pop sensibility, these
ancient sagas are rendered with the style and sound of the late sixties/early seventies,
giving them a contemporary, hip veneer.
Whereas Superstar adapts the New Testament, Dreamcoat is derived from Genesis, the
very first book in the Old Testament. Joseph (Chris McCarrell) is the favorite of his
father Jacob’s (Peter Allen Vogt) dozen sons in Canaan, land of the Biblical Jews. A
clever young man, Joseph has the gift to interpret dreams – yet, somehow, he can’t
foresee that his envious siblings will turn on him. The betrayal of his brothers causes
Joseph to end up in Egypt, where his interpretation of the Pharoah’s (Daniel Dawson)
dreams leads to his being appointed as the Egyptian monarch’s righthand man.
I’d guestimate that only around 10 percent of this production is actually derivative of the
Old Testament tales. Dreamcoat spins a crowd pleasing two-act musical less than two
hours long out of these storylines, just as Jacob spins the eponymous multicolored cloak
to garb his favorite son with. Webber and Rice embellish their sonic saga with a panoply
of song parodies. There is a cowboy ditty crooned by brothers who are home on the range
(and perhaps slightly deranged). Another song has lots of fun playfully mocking the
conventions of French chansons and of Gay Paree. And when the Pharoah appeared I was
totally unprepared for his number – since, as a critic, I hate to reveal plot spoilers, let’s
just say I was “all shook up.”
Director and choreographer Gerry McIntyre’s deft dance moves provide a splendid mise-
en-scène for his rather large cast, which includes (for some reason) an entire children’s
chorus. Co-Hair/Wig/Makeup Designers Kaitlin Yagen and Madison Medrano; Costumes
by Ryan Moller provided by Tuacahn Costume Rentals; Costume Coordinator, Adam
Ramirez; Set and Props provided by 3-D Theatricals; Lighting Design by Jean-Yves
Tessier; and Properties Supervisor Kevin Williams all co-create a wildly creative visual
cacophony with endless razzle-dazzle to accompany Webber’s eclectic electrified score. I
especially enjoyed the Egyptian tableaux and motifs of the set and cast.
In order to make sure audiences don’t get lost in the whirligig, Kelli Rabke reprises her
role as Narrator, a part Webber handpicked her for to provide clarity to the onstage
shenanigans, starting with Dreamcoat’s 1993 revival. It’s all lots of good fun, delicious
for the eyes and ears. There are also some silly and witty lyrics by Rice, who wrote
Dreamcoat’s book, too. When the Pharoah describes his monolithic role as the head of

Egypt’s über-divine right monarchy, the Narrator slyly zings: “Pharoah was fairly
However, none of Dreamcoat’s songs are as memorable as Superstar’s unsurpassed
soundtrack for the ages. Interestingly, Dreamcoat was actually written shortly before
Superstar, yet the former didn’t have its Broadway debut until about a decade after Jesus
Christ Superstar made history as the Great White Way’s hit rock opera.
On a serious note, the text about Joseph in Genesis could be viewed as the origin of
dream analysis, and it’s fascinating to ponder that it was another Jew, Sigmund Freud,
who wrote 1899’s The Interpretation of Dreams many moons later. According to The
Jerusalem Post, Freud had many dreams about his Biblical predecessor.
With its fabulous raiment, Joseph’s titular Technicolor Dreamcoat could give Billy Porter
and his outré costumes a run for their money. I suppose the Technicolor Dreamcoat could
be interpreted as a metaphor for the Rainbow flag, although onstage Joseph is never seen
in a same sex relationship. However, it’s interesting to note that he does not seem to
partake of any of the many sexually willing female Biblical nymphs who pursue him – at
one point, he even declines their favors, offhandedly singing “I don’t believe in free
I suppose there are some religious zealots who’d look down on Joseph and the Amazing
Technicolor Dreamcoat as being sacrilegious, an abomination, for giving the word of god
a popular culture twist. As the “Christian” Right pursues their persecution of LGBTQ
people I have some questions for those who identify as “Evangelicals” and plan to vote
for Trump. How do you “moralists” explain supporting someone who has been found
guilty in connection to rape and sexual assault? How do you rationalize backing a
candidate charged with paying hush money to a porn star shortly before an election in
order to ensure that the public didn’t find out this presidential candidate had sex with her,
shortly after his wife gave birth to their son? (I won’t even bother to ask you about voting
for someone whose company has been convicted of tax fraud.) What do you think
Christianity is? What is your concept of Jesus? Do you prefer the Jesus of the Sermon on
the Mount or of the apocalyptic End Times? What is Christlike about Donald Trump? I’m
just asking because I’m curious what and how you think (or don’t)…
Be that as it may, children of all ages will enjoy Dreamcoat, an aural reverie derived
from the Bible as interpreted by those merry masters Webber and Rice, joyously,
vibrantly brought vividly to life by a 15-piece orchestra conducted by keyboardist
Jennifer Lin. It’s a dreamlike show, an inoffensive outing for the entire family to enjoy
during Pride Month.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is being performed 7:30 p.m. on
Thursdays; 8:00 p.m. on Fridays; 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays; and 1:30 p.m.
and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays through Feb. 12 at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts,
14900 La Mirada Blvd., La Mirada, CA. For info see: or call
(562) 944-9801 or (714) 994-6310.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jason Niedle: Chris McCarrell (center) with the company ; The company of the La Mirada Theatre; Kelli Rabke (center) and the "Children’s Choir"; Daniel Dawson and Chris McCarrell (center) with the company; Chris McCarrell (center) and the "Children’s Choir" Kelli Rabke (center) with the company ; The company of the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment