A New Zealand production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that cut the word “Israel” from the song “Close Every Door” made headlines last month, prompting lyricist Tim Rice to speak out on Twitter.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show’s composer, recently shared his displeasure with the attempt to make unauthorized changes to their work. “Tim is quite right. You cannot re-invent a bible story,” he told The Guardian. “That song is a serious moment and a key point in the show. It is about the connection Joseph suddenly makes with Israel. Tim was paraphrasing the bible and it should be kept that way.”
Controversy began when a lyric sheet distributed to elementary students participating in the production surfaced on Twitter, revealing that the word “Israel” had been replaced with “kindness.”
Presenters said the changes were made in order to “keep life simple” and to avoid political references. Rice called it “a terribly drippy and meaningless alteration,” adding, “Either don't do show or do all of it as written.”