Theatre: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Way, way back many centuries ago, not long after The Bible began...

It's part of the Book of Genesis... BUT WITH SINGING.

Really, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (abbreviated as Joseph...Dreamcoat, Dreamcoat, J&tATD, etc. etc.) is simply that: Andrew Lloyd Webber's Breakthrough Hit, it's based on the Biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.

As a side note, this was the musical by which Donny Osmond, playing the titular Joseph, surpassed George Rose to take the World Record for Most Appearances as a Single Character in a Stage Production. Rose previously held the record for playing Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance over 5200 times on stage; Osmond surpassed this mark, and eventually would go on to play Joseph in over 7000 presentations of the show.

This show provides examples of:

  • Acting for Two: In-Universe. In the film version, because of the Framing Device of the show being done as an actual school play, all the main roles also play teachers or other faculty at the fictional school.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Justified - the "One More Angel" song is meant to have a Western feel.
  • Anachronism Stew: Done very much on purpose. An Elvis impersonator as Pharaoh. There's also "Those Canaan Days", which features Joseph's brothers and father with French-style clothing and ridiculous fake accents.
    • The country-styled "One More Angel", where one of the brothers even says "10-4, good buddy!"
    • The Ishmaelites try to pay for Joseph with a credit card, and there's a slot machine in "Grovel, Grovel".
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: "There's one more angel in heaven, There's one more star in the sky..."
  • Anti-Villain: Potiphar isn't really all that bad. He's just more faithful to his wife than she is to him, to the point where he'll have anyone locked up who gets involved with her.
  • Bible Times
  • Camp: The film, in spades.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Joseph's ability to interpret dreams.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Some productions play Joseph as one of these. And it's definitely what his brothers think that he is.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Even though the scene isn't really worth an eye-covering anyway (a dancer in a leotard), and even though Benjamin is hardly a child.
  • Crowd Song: "Go Go Go Joseph".
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Benjamin on the steps of Pharaoh's palace, in the movie, after his Frameup.
  • Darkest Hour: Joseph's time in prison, expressed through the deeply moving "Close Every Door."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: From "Close Every Door": "Just give me a number, instead of a name" - coupled with the references to the Children of Israel - hearken to the treatment of death-camp inmates during World War II.
  • Double Entendre: Especially among high school productions, it's practically a contest to see who can make Joseph's dream about his brothers' small, green sheaves seem the most like a penis joke.
    • From the "Benjamin Calypso" we have Benjamin being "straighter than the tall palm tree/big bamboo" and "honest as coconuts". Could be a case of Have a Gay Old Time but, considering the rest of the show and the time period it was written in, it's more likely Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Mostly averted. Mrs. Potiphar having her servants hold Joseph down while she molests him is one of the few things in the story that isn't played for laughs. He very clearly has the right to decline her advances, and she's clearly wrong for forcing herself on him. Still, the whole thing is a lot (shall we say) jauntier than it probably would have been if Joseph had been a woman and/or Mrs. Potiphar a man.
    • Also, considering that in the Bible, she just rips off a piece of his clothing and then claims he tried to rape her, it could be argued that they made the changes they did because the original version would've spoiled the mood: just the idea that Joseph might have raped Potiphar's wife is apparently more disturbing than her actually raping him.
  • Fanservice: Apart from shirtless Joseph, among the costumes featured in the movie version? Mrs. Potiphar's costume. Which looks like a bustier with pasties.
    • And her servants/handmaidens? Holy Flurking Sckint
      • Pharaoh's - later Joseph's - servants were even worse. Those women were wearing nets.
    • Some productions even turn the wives into this.
  • Femme Fatale: Mrs. Potiphar. "She was beautiful but evil", indeed—and clearly more evil than Potiphar, who is simply a hopelessly faithful husband to an obviously unfaithful wife.
  • Gender-Neutral Narrator: As written, the Narrator has no specific gender, but is now always played by a woman to amend for the complete lack of female characters (other than Potiphar's Wife).
  • Groupie Brigade: During "Stone the Crows" in the movie.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Joseph would be perfectly happy being enslaved, if it weren't for those darn beautiful women trying to have sex with him all the time.
    • To be fair, he worked his way up so he was basically running the house. As far as slave gigs go, it's not the worst you could get.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Played for Laughs
    "No one comes to dinner now/We'd only eat them anyhow."
  • Interactive Narrator: Depends on the production, but in the movie? Interactive enough to dance with the brothers, flirt with Pharaoh, and get hippie-married to Joseph.
  • Introdump: "Jacob & Sons".
  • Karma Houdini: As in the source material, Mrs. Potiphar never gets any punishment for her infidelity nor for raping someone, who ended up getting locked up on her account.
  • Large Ham: The brothers, Jacob, the chorus, Pharaoh, Potiphar's wife, and the narrator usually are in later productions, which makes it a World of Ham.
  • Lighter and Softer
  • List Song: Red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve and cream and crimson and silver and rose and azure and lemon and russet and gray and purple and white and pink and orange and blue.
    • Reuben was the eldest of the children of Israel...
  • MacGuffin: the Technicolor Dreamcoat itself, which Joseph wears for all of five minutes
  • Medium Awareness: A few of the lyrics suggest that the characters know they are in a show. For example, the Prologue has the narrator say that she will tell the story of Joseph since the audience are there for a couple of hours. The lyric, "We've read the book and you come out on top" also applies.
    • In the movie, when failing to understand Pharaoh's dreams, Joseph flips through the pages of a Bible to find the answer.
  • Metaphor Is My Middle Name: Joseph's brothers in "Grovel, Grovel". "Honesty's our middle name!"
  • Minor Character, Major Song / One-Scene Wonder: Pharaoh!Elvis is onstage for about fifteen minutes (counting the contractually-obligated reprise of his single major song), but usually receives high billing in the credits and cast.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Benjamin Calypso", a cheery pseudo-Jamaican song which comes just seconds after Benjamin is framed for theft.
    • Also in "One More Angel", where the brothers celebrate Joseph's "death" while their father's gone, then pretend to cry whenever he arrives.
    • Also, the ensemble goes into the rousing chorus of "Go Go Go Joseph" just after the announcement of the Baker's death.
    • For that matter, the somewhat cheery, bouncy "Potiphar" segues immediately into the extremely dramatic, serious invoked Tear Jerker of "Close Every Door", which then leads into the above "Go Go Go Joseph".
  • Obviously Evil: Mrs. Potiphar, who is even stated to be evil. Inverted with Potiphar, who despite appearing to be a Fat Bastard is simply a hopelessly faithful husband to a clearly unfaithful wife.
  • Original Cast Precedent: The same person usually plays both Jacob and Potiphar, three of the brothers play the baker, butler, and Pharaoh, and sometimes Mrs. Potiphar will be played by one of the wives.
    • Averted in the movie, where instead the cast doubles as teachers in a school.
  • Overly Long Gag: Pharaoh Elvis. First there is the Song of the King, which is followed by an encore of the Song of the King. Which is followed by a reprise of Song of the King. Which is followed by an encore of the reprise of Song of the King. And every iteration is even more over the top and ridiculous than the last.
  • Parental Favoritism: The whole plot starts because of this.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: When Mrs. Potiphar forces herself onto Joseph, the scene soon shifts to a comparatively mundane scene, and we don't return to the previous scene until Potiphar walks in on it.
    Potiphar was counting shekels in his den below the bedroom
    When he heard a mighty rumpus clattering above him
    Suddenly he knew his riches couldn't buy him what he wanted
    Gold would never make him happy if she didn't love him
  • Reading Ahead in the Script: Go,go,go, Joesph, Fight till you drop/We've read the book, and you come out on top.
  • Recurring Riff: "Poor, poor [whoever], whatcha gonna do?" Also, the Prologue becomes the prologue-of-sorts to the second part (Pharaoh Story). Also, "Joseph's Coat" becomes "Pharaoh's Dreams Explained" in the second act.
  • Secret Test of Character: When Joseph's brothers show up in Egypt without recognizing him, he decides to both get a little revenge and prove whether or not they've changed and thus deserve his help by framing Benjamin for theft. Rather than letting him take the fall and leave with the food (as they had sold Joseph into slavery so they could return home and, they thought, get their father's attention again), they proclaim his innocence and beg to be taken and punished instead.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: For a show that deliberately channels the styles of many different periods, the video is almost painfully a product of the 1990's, being on the popular 1990-1992-1994 productions that sought to speak to then-current audience tastes.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Potiphar and his wife.
  • Villain Song: Potiphar and his wife get their own. The brothers get "One More Angel in Heaven".
  • Yandere: A male example with Potiphar, who predictably goes medieval on the wrong rear end.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The brothers try to make it so that Joseph's dreams won't come true... And oh, how they fail.

Alternative Title(s):

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat