Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Returning To Ipswich
If you’re looking for gift ideas for a musical lover within your family, and by this point it’s a case of ‘Any Dream Will Do’, we have excellent news for you. The Really Useful Group have just announced that the eternally popular ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ is returning to Ipswich, and tickets are available right now.
So fresh is the news that the show is touring again that we’re still awaiting news as to who’ll be on stage, and who’ll be handling things creatively. Based on the announcement on the show’s official website, though, we would expect this to be a major revival; the tour is stopping off for an extended stay at the London Palladium, which suggests a gifted and well known cast. Previous names who’ve worn the coat of many colours include Jason Donovan, Philip Schofield, Darren Day, Donny Osmond, the late Stephen Gately and Gareth Gates; it will be interesting to see who the latest name to put on the garment and go in search of career-altering reviews from the artistic press will be.
It’s difficult to overstate exactly how rampant the success of the show has been since it was first devised by a young Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, all the way back in 1968. Although most people associate it with its more recent revivals; ‘Joseph’ (to give it its shorter title!) was actually the first musical written by the duo ever to be performed. They had written one complete musical, namely ‘The Likes Of Us’, beforehand, but that didn’t make its way to a public stage until 2005.
In truth, it took a little while for the show to find a home on the professional stage, and it wasn’t until Lloyd-Webber and Rice’s subsequent musical ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ became a sensation in the US that people started paying serious attention to ‘Joseph’, which was from then on marketed as a follow-up to ‘Superstar’ even though it had been written and performed beforehand. The first production of ‘Joseph’ in the West End saw its curtains raised in 1973. It would take a further nine years before Broadway finally acquiesced and allowed the show to take the stage. Arguably though, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the popularity of the musical really hit its peak.
After largely being inactive after the end of its Broadway run, the show was given an expanded orchestral section, a freshened-up script, a new full-cast recorded album of all the songs, and a prominent spot at the London Palladium in 1991. The inspired casting of Jason Donovan, who was about as popular in the UK at the time as he’d ever be, was the final piece in the jigsaw. The end result was sell-out houses, the recorded album of songs from the musical spending two weeks at the top of the UK album chart in September 1991, and ‘Any Dream Will Do’, hitting the top spot in the singles charts in July of the same year. In short, the revived production was a pop culture sensation.
There was more to come from the show, however. Having apparently learned that the best pattern to keep a musical fresh is to let it have a run and then take it away for around ten years, the show went back into hiatus from 1994 (after yet another Broadway stint) until 2007, save for a brief 2002 run of smaller arenas on a lower scale.
In 2007, the popular musical collided with the latest formula in televised entertainment; the reality TV show. Borrowing several clothes from the X-Factor, the Lloyd-Webber led talent show ‘Any Dream Will Do’ saw a parade of men auditioning for the chance to take the lead as the new Joseph, with the intention being that a new theatre production of the musical starring the winner of the TV show (chosen by the watching and voting public) would then set up residence in the Adelphi Theatre. Everything went to plan.
When Lee Mead won the TV show, £10m worth of advance tickets sold out within three weeks, covering the production’s entire proposed six month run. Mead’s contract was extended from the end of 2007 to the middle of 2008, and then again until the start of 2009. The show was on its third hot streak, staying at the Adelphi for three full years. Eventually, something had to give, and it was Mead himself. He left the show in January 2009. Gareth Gates stepped in to replace him, but for whatever reason the public didn’t find a Gates-led production as interesting. Production closed down on the show once more in 2009. There have been smaller-stale productions touring the country in more recent years; but nothing on the scale that this latest revived production is anticipated to reach.
No total or comprehensive figure exists which would confirm exactly how much money ‘Joseph’ has made over the years, but it would certainly be safe to assume it would be several hundred million, if not more. Indeed, no form of entertainment set in Egypt has been this lucrative since the launch of the website EgyptSlots.com; an online casino offering players a range of Ancient Egyptian themed slot games to play. Taking its theming from the same ancient and historical world that much of Joseph owes its visual style to, the site contains games with titles like ‘Pharaoh’s Fortune’. However much of that Pharaoh’s money you could potentially win there, we doubt it’s as much as Mr Lloyd-Webber and Mr Rice have pocketed since they put pen to paper and started writing this epic musical all those years ago.
Now, ten years on from the closure of that last major production, the show is back once again, and East Anglia is on the list of destinations. ‘Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ will play at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre from June 25th through to June 29th 2019. Why not dig out your cold cassette copy of the soundtrack to get yourself in the mood? We know you’ve got one; everybody does!