Daily Mail – Baz Bamigboye
Go, Go, Go Joseph… into next year! The Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice crowdpleaser Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was due to have opened at the London Palladium in five weeks.
Instead, it will launch on July 1 next year — still with stars Jac Yarrow in the title role, and Jason Donovan as the hip-swivelling, Elvis-like Pharaoh.
As with every other show the length and breadth of the land, the knock-on effect of the pandemic has pushed everything back, or (in some cases) pushed shows out for good.
‘There was a time when I thought Joseph was going to be cancelled and we’d never see it again,’ producer Michael Harrison admitted.
But executives at the composer’s LW Theatres, which controls the world-famous Palladium, worked closely with the showman and came up with a nine-week slot at the celebrated variety theatre, where it will now run until September 5, 2021.
‘Some positivity, like moving it to a safe distance next year, is what we need,’ a relieved Harrison told me.
Yarrow and Donovan played the Palladium last year when the 21-year-old Welsh-born Yarrow won rave notices from critics for his performance as Joseph in the show, based on the Old Testament tale about the shepherd’s son who interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams.
Donovan, who had sported Joseph’s flimsy loincloth on the same stage 29 years ago, still had a chance to show off his abs in his turn as the Egyptian ruler; while Sheridan Smith nearly stole the show as the Narrator.
Obviously, the thinking behind the move is the hope — and belief — that theatre will be back on its feet and treading the boards again well before next summer.
Legions of working parties, from government and the industry, are thrashing out what protocols will be required to make reopenings of venues safe — and economically viable.
Theatre’s woven into the fabric of this country’s culture and Harrison believes a way will be found. ‘The health and safety aspect will be rigorous,’ he said.
But he warned that if theatres were not allowed to play to capacity ‘we can’t operate’.
Harrison said those who purchased seats for the 2020 run of Joseph would be automatically assigned the same seats for equivalent performances (based on the day of the week) in 2021.
Ticketholders will be contacted so they can either confirm or move dates if necessary.