Strange as it seems— there’s been a run of— Narrators!!! Toby’s Dinner Theatre is well underway with its 10-week summer-long run of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Co-Directed by Toby Orenstein and Mark Minnick! Taking her turn at the narrative helm, long-time Toby’s performer and DC-area actor Janine Sunday steps into the role of The Narrator through July 7, 2017. While Joseph— and all his brothers as well as the rest of the cast— are still being performed by the same cast members as when the production opened on the 15th of June, just a few weeks ago, they are discovering new moments, experiencing new nuances, and living a whole new technicolor dream with Sunday in the leading-lady role.
Approaching the narrator’s role from a storyteller’s perspective, Janine Sunday dives into the character with an almost scholarly mentality, albeit geared toward younger audiences. It’s fascinating to watch the way Sunday becomes invested in sharing the story with the audience, as if she were a school teacher preparing to read aloud her favorite book and we the audience were her students. Eagerly engaged in the mentality of “look at this amazing story you have to hear it— no! Better yet— let me show it to you!”, Sunday goes after the narrative elements of the character and the story with a rich enthusiasm. The character Sunday has created in this narrator is emphatically invested in her love for the story of Joseph, overjoyed at getting to share all her favorite parts with the audience, as evidenced by the audible gasps like during the “Joseph’s Coat” sequence.
Sunday’s animated facial features match her heightened level of enthusiasm for the story as well, particularly when responding to parts of the story wherein she’s gotten particularly enrapt. There are whole moments— like just before the start of the “Potiphar” number— where Sunday looks fraught with distress as if she’s forgotten how dark and dangerous that portion of the story can be. But with perfect timing the moment she lays eyes upon the green-clad Potiphar dancers, a wave of relief sweeps over her. Moments like this are peppered throughout her performance and it is exciting to watch her rediscover this story as she shares it with us. Following in the vein of her teacher-ish instincts, there’s a priceless moment when she snatches a cigarette right from the mouth of Reuben (Russell Sunday) just before the start of “Those Canaan Days” and growls, “give me that!” Discovering all of the little nuances that Sunday puts into the role is half the fun of seeing her in this part.
With a strong voice that is crisp and clear she carries the melodies well for all of the narrative parts, but showcases her versatility when taking alternate harmony lines during her initial bout of “Poor, Poor Joseph” and other instances throughout the performance. Sunday provides new opportunities for other performers to have little moments in connecting with her. Watch the various brothers and Female Ensemble (featuring Heather Beck, MaryKate Brouillet, Coby Kay Callahan, Rachel Kemp, Nia Savoy, and Rebecca Vanover) engage with Sunday during “Benjamin’s Calypso” where she is utterly torn between quietly observing and joining in the fun of the zany dance scene!
You know what to do…GO GO GO! Go! Go see Janine Sunday take on The Narrator through July 7, 2017 in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Toby’s Dinner Theatre. You won’t be disappointed!
Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat plays through August 27, 2017 at at Toby’s the Dinner Theatre of Columbia— 5900 Symphony Woods Road in Columbia, MD. For tickets please call (410) 730-8311 or purchase them online.
To read the TheatreBloom review of the full production, click here.