Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: Who has starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical?
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is, as Stephen Gately so deftly put it, "as camp as a row of tents". In other words, just what we need right now.
Even though we're not able to visit the West End, the show is returning as Lloyd Webber will stream the musical online for people to watch from home.
Joseph — a young man sold into slavery by his jealous brothers — has acted as the gateway role into musical theatre for many a singer. Soap actors, boy band heartthrobs and talent show champions have all taken the leap.
It's Donny Osmond's 2000 version we'll be able to see, so to mark the occasion, we’re paying tribute to the most memorable leading men to don the multi-coloured robe.
Across the ocean, former teen idol Donny Osmond gave more than 2,000 performances as Joseph in Canada and the US. He also starred in the film version, by special request of Lloyd Webber, who said: “To me there is no better selection.” Richard Attenborough played his father Jacob, with Alex Jennings, Joan Collins and Christopher Biggins also in the cast.
Phillip Schofield has long been a familiar face on ITV's This Morning, but few know that he had a brief foray onto the stage in the 90s. One of these outings was in Joseph, when he took over the reins from Donovan – despite having hardly any musical experience. He returned briefly to the role in a surprise appearance on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2018 during a birthday tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, much to the audience's delight.
Jason Donovan entered the musical theatre world off the back of a successful singing career, after making his name in Neighbours. He was 23 years old when he first put on the loincloth in Joseph, and played to sell out audiences at the London Palladium. The production was hugely popular and Donovan went on to be nominated for an Olivier and have a number one single with Any Dream Will Do in 1991. He returned to the show for its latest revival, this time playing Pharaoh.
Ian ‘H’ Watkins
What a tragedy it was when Steps split up. Happily, though, it gave some of the cast the opportunity to try their hands at musicals. Lee Latchford-Evans was in Grease, Faye Tozer is now in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Ian Watkins – or H, as we know him – played Joseph on the West End in 2005. It went so well that he returned for the UK tour.
Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 33, was always known for vocals that sent a shiver up the spine - so musical theatre was a natural move. He made the crossover from boy band to the stage with Joseph in 2003. It wasn’t a huge leap – Boyzone had released a single from Whistle Down the Wind in 1998, which turned out to be one of Lloyd Webber’s biggest hits. He said he had been waiting for an opportunity to do a musical and loved Joseph because it was “as camp as a row of tents”.
Lee Mead landed the role of Joseph after winning a reality TV show specifically designed to find a new star for the show. Any Dream Will Do was cosy primetime BBC One telly in 2007, with Graham Norton on presenting duties and Andrew Lloyd Webber himself on the judging panel, along with co-producer Bill Kenwright, and musical theatre veterans Denise Van Outen and John Barrowman. Mead won the public vote almost every week, and was in the top three throughout. He gave up a role in the ensemble of The Phantom of the Opera to perform as Joseph at the Adelphi.
It's hard to believe that it was as long ago as 2002 when Gareth Gates fell at the final hurdle of Pop Idol, beaten to the crown by Will Young. Since that time, he's carved out his own solo career and made the foray into musical theatre, taking over the role of Joseph right after Mead finished his run in 2009. When he joined the show he said he had a lot to thank Joseph for, having starred in the musical at school when he was eight years old. Making a triumphant return into the limelight, his comeback in Joseph led to more roles in West End productions of Les Miserables and Legally Blonde.
Another talent show alumnus was a perfect fit to star in the touring production in 2016. Geordie lad Joe McElderry won The X Factor back in 2009, and showed real musical chops when he later won ITV's Popstar to Operastar. He was asked to take on the role of Joseph “about three or four times” before but wanted to wait until he could dedicate all of his energy to it. It was worth it in the end – critics gave his performance high praise.