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By Jarrod• 4 Apr 2017
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat was one of the first musicals by the now iconic pairing of lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber - and nearly half a century later, it’s still being performed around the world. We asked Rice to give us some insight into its longevity.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat has been around for close to 50 years now - what do you think has made it so enduring?
Story is always the most important thing for any show and Joseph is one of the all-time great stories. Plus nice tunes and outstanding lyrics of course.
This production is billed as having a 'contemporary twist'. How do you think Joseph has changed over time - and in particular how has it changed for this version?
I’m afraid I don’t know how it has changed for the Wellington version. One of the best features about Joseph is that it doesn’t really date as it ranges over such a variety of musical styles, so in a way never really changes. This doesn’t mean that all productions are the same however.
What led you to focus on Biblical stories - both in this, and in Jesus Christ Superstar?
I was taught a lot of scripture at school and was always fascinated by what could (or could not) have been the truth behind the Bible stories, both Old and New Testament. The Bible is full of magnificent tales and fascinating philosophy. No religious reasons. Joseph was also chosen because we needed something that would appeal to the schoolmaster and his class who commissioned us to write something for their concert.
What is it about these stories that you think makes them compelling, even for a secular audience?
The story of Jesus is an absolutely fundamental pillar of our Western culture (and other cultures) so anyone wanting to know how we got where we are is bound to have at least a passing interest in it. The story of Joseph is full of irresistible characters, good and bad, and ups and downs - and is also a great opportunity for humour.
Finally, out of all your work, could you pick a favourite musical, or even a favourite song?
It tends to be the one I haven’t heard for the longest time. Chess is perhaps my favourite score. One of my favourites is in a musical that you probably don’t know called Aida, for which Elton wrote the music. There’s a song in that score I like very much called Elaborate Lives. But I don’t really have an all-time favourite.