Thursday, November 19, 2009


In 1964, at the wizened age of seventeen, Andrew Lloyd Webber received the following letter from the then twenty one-year-old law student, Tim Rice: “Dearest Andrew, I’ve been told you’re looking for a “with it” writer of lyrics for your songs, and as I’ve been writing pop songs for a while and particularly enjoy writing the lyrics. I wonder if you consider it worth your while meeting me. Tim Rice.”
So that's how immortality is birthed? Andrew thought it worth his while and a year later the two were commissioned by an English prep school to write an end-of-term religious concert. That begat “Joseph...Technicolor, etc”
The religious concept worked and so on to “JC Superstar”. Their last major collaboration was the stunning “Evita”.
New Candlelight Theater launches a joyous and captivating presentation directed and choreographed by legendary Delaware dance instructor/mentor Sonny Leo.
There could be no better show as an introduction for your children and grandchildren. Not only are pre-teens and teens in the chorus, but the entire assemblage's unassailable delight at entertaining embraces the entire audience.
Melissa Joy Hart's Narrator is the provocateur for the proceedings. Her warm contralto is smooth and rich. Aisle Say did not count her octave range but suffice to say it is considerable, concluding with a belt the likes of Ethel Merman.
Edward Egan's (Joseph) costume budget did not break the bank at New Candlelight. (I'll leave that for the show-goers to ponder). He was at once innocent, starry eyed and comprehending of the power of his ability to interpret dreams. His solo “Close Every Door” was outstanding.
Patrick O'Hara (Potiphar) has become a staple character actor at the venue. His malleable face and dancing eyes bring out the comedic nuances of every character he portrays.
New comer Joe Mallon (Pharoah) has arguably the most challenging role in the production, the Elvis impersonation. If that goes awry, then the entire production is faulted. Of the six or seven “Joseph's” I've experienced, Elvis was lame in two. Argh!
Mallon rises to the task “Thank ya, thank ya very much!”. And oh, that of several donned by Mallon for the show.
Taking the cue from the ...”Technicolor Dream Coat”, Artistic Director and Lighting Designer Chris Alberts continues his mastery of bringing life to the lighting and creating this intangible as an integral player in the production.
I have known Sonny Leo for decades. His infectious personality and his love for 'theatre people' translates to the smiles on the performers faces and their strong desire to please him. Sonny's choreography was both very tight and very creative.
In all the frivolity of the production, however, Sonny as director drew out the poignancy in the scene where Joseph's brothers beseech to save their youngest sibling from death.
This is a wonderful production. A great night out, a great underlying message, a diversity of musical genres as in no other stage show and a great meal!
Til December 20. 302.475.2313

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