By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
Having grown up on Broadway with my father Robert Allen, i.e. Bob “Tex” Allen, i.e. Ted Baehr, starring in many plays from 1946 to 1982 such as SHOWBOAT, THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, LOVE ME FOREVER, AUNTIE MAME, WHOOPEE, and HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, I am very familiar with Broadway productions, night after night as a young man waiting for my father to get out of his latest play.
Recently, I was invited to see a musical production of JOSEPH, A MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA in the Sight and Sound Theaters in Branson, Missouri. Needless to say, I was skeptical, expecting to see less than the great productions of the Golden Age of Broadway in the 1950s. I even expected a humorous parody of the story like JOSEPH AND THE TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT.
However, the reality is that JOSEPH is the best if not one of the best musical productions ever. The story is riveting. The production values are terrific. Furthermore, the music is heartrending.
The story of Joseph is well known to the three major monotheistic religions. Joseph is one of 12 brothers. Ten of them are half brothers. He and Benjamin are the son of Jacob’s favorite wife, who has died. Jacob gives Joseph special favor and the multicolored coat to show his favor. As a result, his brothers are very jealous. They sell him into slavery in Egypt.
Joseph’s God-given wisdom, dedication to moral virtues and inspired insights help him rise quickly to the top of the organization of the household of Potiphar, who’s in command of Pharaoh’s army. Potiphar’s wife, however, lusts after Joseph. When she can’t have him because of his dedication to God, she has him thrown into prison. The rest of the story is how Joseph gets out of prison, saves Egypt from famine, then saves his family.
This production is not only well acted, but it also clearly makes the connection between Joseph and his namesake, Jesus, who is the Son of the living God. It does so in a winsome, dramatic way that captivated and entertained the audience until the very end, when the question of the audience’s own salvation is posed.
JOSEPH is larger than life, with camels, goats, sheep, horses, and a production that plays throughout the theater. Leaving this extravaganza, one only wishes everyone could see it. It’s that good, and highly commended.