Any Dream Will Do

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Any Dream Will Do TV Poster Image
UK singing contest stays true to family-friendly musical.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show isn't intended to be educational, but young viewers will learn a few things about the inner workings of musical theater and the show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Positive Messages

The show is less catty and drama-oriented than many other reality competitions, and it seems to value passion and dedication to a goal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

For the most part, the potential Josephs are hardworking and
talented, and many have inspiring personal stories. The pool of
auditioners is extremely diverse, with a variety of ethnicities and
body types represented -- although when it gets down to the final 12,
the overall look is pretty homogenous (think "slim," "attractive," ...
and "white").

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Appearing shirtless is a requirement for the role, so viewers will see some bare chests and hear a few sexually charged comments (like "I think you'd look marvelous in a loin cloth!" and "You're ripped!") from the female judges.

Language
Consumerism

The show's not-so-subtle aim is drumming up interest (and selling tickets) for an upcoming production of Joseph, which goes up four months after auditions begin.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British reality competition already ran its course in the U.K. So even though it essentially functions as a commercial for the musical it's promoting (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), it's unlikely to affect your wallet -- unless your kid insists on buying the soundtrack. The good news is that, since Joseph is a family-friendly show, you won't have to worry about graphic language, violence, or sex. There are a few shirtless scenes (a requirement of the musical) and saucy comments, but nothing too racy for kids.

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What's the story?

In the Broadway-inspired singing competition ANY DREAM WILL DO, 12 hopefuls compete for the coveted title role in a West End production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Webber himself sits in on the proceedings, with British TV personality Graham Norton stepping in to host. In addition to singing songs from the show, finalists perform pop songs in front of a panel of judges that includes peformers John Barrowman and Denise Van Outen, vocal coach Zoe Tyler, and producer Bill Kenwright.

Is it any good?

Serious fans of musical theater -- and of Joseph in particular --
will appreciate the Brits' no-frills approach to this high-stakes talent search, which shuns the sideshow antics typical of U.S. TV talent competitions, instead focusing on the seriousness of the task at hand. (For starters, you won't see anyone auditioning in a chicken suit.)

But even though it's popular, widely performed, and generally profitable, Joseph isn't everyone's cup of tea. It famously incorporates a mishmash of musical styles -- from country to disco -- and also evokes a famous story from the Bible. So if you don't like the show or its songs, Any Dream Will Do probably won't do. For others, it's a dream come true.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how a series like this helps the musical's producers promote their show and sell more tickets. Why open up the field to amateurs instead of hiring a professional actor?

  • Why do contestants have to sing pop songs in addition to songs from the

  • show? Do you think the finalists the judges chose are the best

  • candidates for the part?

  • Parents and kids can also

  • research the biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors, upon

  • which the musical is based.

TV details

For kids who love music and dancing

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