For my general opinion of this show (I Love It!) and quick overview of the songs, go here:
Also at that link is the first version I'm reviewing/upon which I am commenting, the Original Broadway Cast (OBC) from 1982
This note, again: I am reviewing these based on the recording only; I can't say too much about what the original live production would have been like (I wasn't even alive when the first one was on Broadway); but these are my impressions of the production based on the recording, and any pictures I've found in the CD booklet or online.
Next, we have:
1991 Original London Cast:
Linzi Hateley as the Narrator--I like her quite a lot. Some pronunciations sound odd to me, but I'm guessing it's just British-English vs American-English phonetics. Oh, yes, and it's "Jozeph" (with a [z] sound instead of an [s]). Her phrasing is a unique and not too distracting.
Jason Donovan as Joseph:
B&B This is another reason why I think this show is pretty amazing--I believe this was the 3rd live performance of this that I'd seen, and up until this point, I had always counted "Those Canaan Days" as my least favorite song and probably the lowest point of the show for me (the other low-ish point being "Close Every Door"). I really disliked "Those Canaan Days." However, I don't know exactly HOW they did it, but the brothers in this version were GREAT. They were so good, that I found myself really LIKING "Those Canaan Days". And somehow...that memory carries me through that song to this day; in all the recordings I have. I think I used to skip that track fairly often whenever I listened to the show, now I don't bother, I listen straight through. Weird?
Unfortunately most of what I remember is being very disappointed in the Song of the King, because the guy who was Pharoah seemed a little dull and not very funny.
Now...I may be misremembering this; so anyone who knows the production I'm talking about can feel free to correct me! But I seem to recall that when the local newspaper featured it, they interviewed the guy playing Pharoah; and when interviewed, I believe he said something to the effect of, "I'm not hamming it up in this role as much because most people interpret Pharoah as Elvis, and I'm trying to give a more realistic portrayal of Elvis." (I'm sorry if this is wrong; but this is what I remember; but hey, it's possible my brain just made it up...) This is a ridiculous thing to do though, because nobody comes to Joseph to see a "realistic" Elvis impersonation, we come to see a funny Elvis caricature as Pharoah. I suppose if you're a huge Elvis fan, you may be offended by silly caricatures of him (I shudder to think what a huge Elvis fan would say about Rum Tum Tugger...) but, well, it's supposed to be fun and funny. I appreciate all the good Pharoahs a lot more after seeing the Civic production.