The resilient performers of the Rockaway Theatre Company (RTC) have teamed with the Gracian Players for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Despite the devastation inflicted by Sandy, the troupes are determined to rebuild. Their strategy includes one final weekend of fundraising performances in Howard Beach.
Director Chazmond J. Peacock has moved behind the scenes with exceptional skill. He has conveyed to his actors the very specific sense of humor for this Bible-based but very modern musical. Producer Susan Jasper has once again selected outstanding offstage leadership and onstage talent.
Choreographers Madiha Butt and Catherine Leib have provided extremely watchable dancers who offer both distinctive group and individual styles. Musical Director Jeffrey Arzberger and Susan Warren Corning (also the primary costumier) maintains tireless support for the nonstop action.
As the title character, Tim Huston takes his role as a maligned younger brother very seriously. Happily, he breaks out with a flourish for the joyous conclusion, dancing through the aisles with his dreamcoat waving. Katherine Robinson as the singing and dancing narrator is polished, professional and a pleasure to watch and hear. She interprets her role with beauty, elegance and a quick wit.
Rock ‘n’ rolling Pharaoh (John Panepinto), his befuddled butler (David Risley), the bad luck baker (Jose Velez), irresistible Mrs. Potiphar (Priscilla Zortea) and patriarch Jacob (Cliff Hesse) are just a few of the supporting players who add their own special magic. There’s a Caribbean solo and a tango for two that are also excellent.
Of course, the production is bigger and better, thanks to the exuberant and energetic female ensemble and Joseph’s 11 brothers. My personal favorites, though, are the littlest school kids. They sing and dance from start to finish with the truest sincerity. Isn’t that what the Bible is all about anyway?
The finale is an extra delight. It runs far longer than most musicals and provides a good long look at the entire cast and their talents.
Catch a show at 158-20 101st Street, Howard Beach (Ave Maria Catholic Academy). For reservations call 718-374-6400 or visit their website at www.rockawaytheatrecompany.org.
Remember, this is a meaningful fundraiser. RTC’s performance space was battered by the storm and Our Lady of Grace Church suffered enormous damage as well. Performers always know that the show must go on. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.