I missed the still-talked-about 1990s Chicago Theatre production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," which had a long run thanks to the pop star power of Donny Osmond and its rotating area children's choruses.
So I don't know how the new tour of the musical stacks up to that production, or how "American Idol" alum Ace Young compares to Osmond in the title role. But what I can say is that this "Joseph" tour, now at Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre, is technically proficient and professional -- though perhaps not the must-see event it could have been. For those who've yet to see it, Andrew Lloyd Webber and librettist Tim Rice's "Joseph" is a glitz-filled musical take on the story of biblical patriarch Jacob's favorite son, sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and later elevated to a position of power in Egypt.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"★ ★ ½
Location: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., Chicago, (800) 775-2000, broadwayinchicago.com
Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday (also Sunday, March 23); 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday (also Wednesday, March 26); through March 30
Running time: About two hours with intermission
Parking: Metered street parking and nearby pay garages
As Joseph, Young lives up to his heartthrob "Idol" status and executes the role's vocal and dance demands with precision. Yet he didn't tap into extra acting layers of pathos from "Close Every Door" (the show's one serious song) or guile when interpreting the dreams of the Elvis Presley-inspired Pharaoh (a very macho Ryan Williams).
Diana DeGarmo -- another "Idol" alum and Young's wife -- makes for a polished and lovely Narrator, vocally handling the pop highs and lows with ease. Yet, perhaps because of her youth, her storytelling feels less authoritative than others who've tackled the role.
Standing out among the rest of the cast were Paul Castree as Simeon and Will Mann as Judah, who worked the crowd with their respective songs "Those Canaan Days" and "Benjamin Calypso."
Director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler collaborates with set designer Beowulf Boritt, projection designer Daniel Brodie and lighting designer Howell Binkley to create a beautifully realized staging full of color and lots of video animation.
In the end, Young may not have the star wattage of Osmond, but regardless of who wears the coat of many colors, this "Joseph" tour is still good family fun.