A Narrator’s story…a narrator’s story…strange as it seems, it’s been a summer full of dreams, for this quintet of narrating women for this Joseph run…and it has been fun! Pulling into the final leg of the summer-long production of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and rounding out the last of the rotating carousel of narrators, MaryKate Brouillet steps up into the role and brings the story home for the final two weeks of the show. Treating her rendition of The Narrator true to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original design on the character, Brouillet tells the story of Joseph from just outside the book, delivering an honest approach to the narrative as it was penned.
With a powerful, clear voice, Brouillet takes well the higher register for which the role was written. Belting out opening lines from the top of the show through to Director Mark Minnick’s handspun rendition of the “Joseph Megamix”, she consistently nails the high notes with clear pitch and equal timbre. Unobtrusive to her narrative approach, Brouillet takes to underscoring and augmenting moments in the story in a subtle and charming fashion, calling just the right amount of attention to certain moments. This is most noticeable when she’s guiding the brothers out of Canaan to their great Egypt adventure during “The Brothers in Egypt.” Paying no mind to the larger than life characters— like the way she casually shrugs off Pharaoh’s ‘thank you very much’ and his other in-character advances that permeate the room— Brouillet’s narrator blends away when she’s not meant to be the focus, peeking out like an excited friend to remind us that a good part or an interesting moment is about to happen.
Not only is her voice of exceptional quality, particularly during “Pharaoh’s Story” and “Opening of Act II” but Brouillet’s signature feature in the piece is way in which she engages her body. Following the track of subtlety that she’s set herself upon, the motions are slight but delightfully engaging. Watch her body during “The Benjamin Calypso” as she all but becomes one of those bobble-hipped hula-girl dashboard figurines, swaying back and forth becoming completely engrossed in the dancing as the brothers drag her into the number. Watch the way she inspires Joseph (Wood Van Meter) with encouraging full body bumps and bounces during the mega chorus of “Go, Go, Go, Joseph!” just before his dance-break solo. There are multiple other moments over the course of the performance where the audience finds themselves ever-so-slightly engaging with what Brouillet is doing, watching as she follows along with the story she’s telling, but these moments never arise in a detractive manner.
Despite not being overly gaga toward the Pharaoh (David Jennings) character, Brouillet makes a little moment with him, just as each of the narrators have done, though just like each of the women before her— it’s a unique one. During “Pharaoh’s Dream Explained”, Joseph’s line is, “…all these things you saw I your pajamas, are a long-range forecast for your farmers…” and Jennings takes this opportunity to acknowledge the lyrical mismatch to his costume selection. With a cheeky and obvious glance down at his Elvis-inspired threads, he gives a sideways glance to Brouillet, who shrugs, rolls her eyes, and then nods in agreement with The Pharaoh that clearly this Joseph kid is having one of his visions because nobody’s wearing pajamas. It’s an inspiring moment that really shows how closely both Brouillet and Jennings are paying attention to what’s happening around them, and rather than just dismissing the lyrical dissonance, they acknowledge it and silently poke fun at it.
A spectacular way to end the run, MaryKate Brouillet is a fantastic way to experience the role of The Narrator at Toby’s Dinner Theatre this summer. But if you haven’t booked your tickets yet, do so quickly! Just twelve shows remain— just a dozen as of Wednesday afternoon August 16, 2017. One show for every son of Jacob! And you won’t want to miss your chance to see all the amazing technicolor things happening on this stage!
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 original production review featuring Caroline Bowman as The Narrator, click here.
To read the write-up review featuring Janine Sunday as The Narrator, click here.
To read the write-up review featuring Coby Kay Callahan as The Narrator, click here.
To read the write-up review featuring Cathy Mundy as The Narrator, click here.