As one of the most beloved musicals of all time, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been a staple of stage performances for generations. Since its premiere in the ’70s, theater fans have adored the blend of Biblical story telling with pop music sensibilities that retells the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, who is sold into slavery by his siblings.
The stage show, originally envisioned as a concept album by Broadway stalwarts Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, has become a staple of fans for almost five decades now and, somehow, that success has never translated into a proper cinematic adaptation. While over the years, several made for TV movies, direct to video movies, and stage recordings have been released, no proper film has ever been made. Thankfully, that’s all about to change
According to THR, STX announced today that the studio would be collaborating with Webber and Rice to bring an animated adaptation of their musical to the big screen. The film is set to be produced by musician Elton John’s Rocket Pictures, and will feature all new songs written by the musical duo. STX president David Kosse said:
“Originally written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice as a pop cantata for students in London in 1968, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was expanded into a concept album and subsequently a globally successful theatrical stage phenomenon. Joseph has become one of the most enduring, irresistible and beloved family musicals of all time. We could not be more honored or excited to be partnering with Andrew, Tim and Elton, legends of music, stage and screen, on this animated telling of this timeless story.”
While it might be somewhat disappointing that we still aren’t getting a live-action treatment for this timeless tale, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat absolutely works as an animated feature. Part of the stage productions continual success is that it appeals to families, and making it an animated film certainly works with the story’s aesthetic. It helps, of course, that Rocket Pictures have proven themselves able to produce successful animated movies. The company had remarkable success with Gnomeo and Juliet back in 2011, for example.
An animated musical could go a long way towards winning new fans to the story, and perhaps inspire a new generation of theater buffs in the process. What we don’t yet know is whether this will be a straight adaptation of the book or if this will be an entirely new experience that is informed by the play. As written, the stage production is more in line with an operetta than a traditional musical, as most of the lines are sung rather than feature spoken dialogue.
Either way, with Webber and Rice on board, this has all the makings of a fantastic production. The animated approach may bring a new depth to the story and allow for some interesting set pieces and visuals. Plus, with new music from the duo, there’s a lot to look forward to for fans of musicals.
We’ll bring you more information on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as it becomes available.