With a plot as thin as the "after" model in a weight-loss ad, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" isn't the sort of musical for frequent viewing, especially when you have to say something about it afterward.

That's my problem after seeing and often reviewing the musical dozens of times in productions both great and awful. I no longer can be wowed or appalled by any "Dreamcoat." So rather than frost your day with a generous helping of ennui, I decided to see how those watching the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical for the first time -- it's being presented at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center for the Arts by Contra Costa Musical Theatre -- felt about it.

The viewers were wide-eyed and gleeful; even the man a couple of rows behind me said he loved the show -- although he couldn't follow the story. Honest, he said he couldn't follow the story.

Well, OK. "Joseph" tells the tale of Joseph (Tim Homsley), who is so much his father's fair-haired boy (literally), that pops gives him a colorful coat, which festers anger in his 11 other brothers. They decide to sell him into slavery instead of killing him, as originally planned. Before you know it, Joe is being dragged away to Egypt.

Joseph is enslaved, idolized by Potiphar's wife (Suzie Shepard) and eventually imprisoned. But his knack for accurate interpretation of dreams brings him to the attention of the Pharaoh (Vince Perry), who gets him pardoned and brings Joseph into his inner circle.


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Eventually, he helps his brothers, is reunited with his dad, and the whole place goes a little nuts with a "Megamix" grand finale that blows the roof off the joint and sends everyone home grinning.

Even for the jaded grouch in the fourth row (me), there were some genuinely entertaining moments in the show, including Perry's Elvis impersonation and his encore as The King from one of the balcony boxes; the honky-tonk "One More Angel in Heaven"; a hoedown number by the brothers breaking the news of Joseph's "death" to their dad; and the "Benjamin Calypso," a delightfully bizarre calypso number from the brothers.

Praise also goes to the band, directed by Sean Kana, which did true justice to Lloyd Webber's potpourri of a musical score; Kelly James Tighe, who used, among other things, racks of clothes, parachutes and an inflatable Sphinx to give the set a different look; and director Jennifer Perry, who made a concerted effort to give the popular musical a somewhat different vibe.

In addition to the regular cast, Perry included a number of children in the onstage picture, ostensibly to be told the story of Joseph by musical narrator Estelle Fernandez, who, perhaps because it was opening night, seemed a bit uncomfortable with the conceit.

Because this is a sung-through musical with lots of dancing, concentration in casting appeared to be placed on those two disciplines. With some notable exceptions, this came at the expense of acting. Again, as the performers warm to the show, they will relax into the story and better capitalize on the opportunities for laughs presented in the script.

Contact Pat Craig at pjcraig495@yahoo.com.

'JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT'

By Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, presented by Contra Costa Musical Theatre

Through: Nov. 10
Where: Lesher Center
for the Arts, Civic Drive at Locust Street, Walnut Creek
Running time: 1 hour,
35 minutes
Tickets: $44-$49, 925-943-7469, www.lesherartscenter.org