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Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 13:57 GMT


Joseph hits the small screen

Don't look now: Joseph (Donny Osmond) and Jacob (Lord Attenborough)

Hit musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been launched on video for the first time.

Originally written in 1968 as a 20-minute piece for an end-of-term junior school concert, it is the show that launched the lucrative careers of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

[ image: Dream team: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice]
Dream team: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
The film version features an all-star cast including former pop heart-throb Donny Osmond in the title role, Lord Attenborough as Jacob and Joan Collins as the seductive Mrs Potiphar who imprisons Joseph for resisting her charms.

The hugely popular full-length musical has enjoyed worldwide success on stage, but this is the first time it has been released on video in film version.

Lloyd Webber decided to turn the stage production of Joseph into celluloid after the huge success of Cats on video.

"The movie version differs from the live version in so many ways... it's on such a larger scale," said Osmond, now a youthful 41.

Osmond first performed the role more than five years ago on stage and has now notched up some 2,000 times appearances.

Stage success

The first full-length version of Joseph was performed in the West End in 1973 and there was a hugely successful revival in 1992.

[ image: Donny Osmond has donned the dreamcoat nearly 2,000 times]
Donny Osmond has donned the dreamcoat nearly 2,000 times
Former Neighbours star Jason Donovan played Joseph in the production, releasing Any Dream Will Do as a single and making it a chart hit.

Children's presenter Phillip Schofield took over when Donovan left a year later.

When it finished its astonishing run at the London Palladium in 1994 - with Donovan back in the main role - the theatre's box office had taken £46.5 million in ticket sales.

Among the thousands who filled the theatre was Diana, Princess of Wales, who took the young Princes William and Harry.

In addition to the numerous professional versions, it's estimated that the show has been performed in nearly 15,000 schools, involving 500,000 performers of all ages.

[ image: Sparkling seductress: Joan Collins plays Mrs Potiphar]
Sparkling seductress: Joan Collins plays Mrs Potiphar
"Joseph is a perennial show, like Cinderella or anything that has universal appeal," said Lord Attenborough.

"I couldn't resist this part because at heart I'm an old ham - always have been!

"I love Joseph and so do my children and grandchildren - it's ageless and timeless."

In the popular production based on the Bible story, Joseph is the youngest child of a large family, who is spoiled by his father Jacob.

Jacob gives Joseph a beautiful coat of amazing colours, a gift that incenses Joseph's jealous brothers and leads them to steal the coat and sell Joseph into slavery in a fit of jealousy.

"Joseph goes from being a happy-go-lucky boy to being in the depths of hell in prison and then being reunited with his brothers and father. It is a terribly moving story," added Osmond.

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