Posts Tagged ‘Pippin’

 

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I have a confession. I have sinned against Dionysius and Stephen Schwartz. I openly and loudly sang during the performance of Pippin. I loudly and joyfully applauded during musical performances and hooted and hollered between numbers. Once was a mistake, twice was a choice. When Adrienne Barbeau said “Sing along” I listened. I followed her directions to a “T”…after all, I am a trained professional. What makes my sin even more grievous is that I know what it feels like to be on stage, in the moment, only to be stopped by rude or obnoxious audience members. As such, I vowed at the age of 8 to NEVER be that person.

In an effort to be the ideal theatre patron I have developed a bit of a ritual that I stick to when attending a show:

  • First, I conduct research of the show before I go to see it. I try to know, at least, a synopsis of the show before the curtain opens.
  •  Second, I am in my seat promptly when the house opens and I have consumed the amazing, mouthwatering, probably really bad for me, cashews before the house lights dim. I sit quietly and with an open mind waiting for first measure of music to fill my soul.
  •  Finally, I quietly, and inwardly, applaud the musical numbers so as not to break the momentum of action on stage. I laugh at the appropriate moments, and stand for the entire cast during the curtain call.

Last night was very different for me, because, damn it all to hell, I was forced out of my ritual while watching Pippin at DPAC!

After seeing this show, I am torn. I don’t know if I should be praising Stephen Schwartz as a musical genius or if I should be singing the praises of Diane Paulus for the revival and new concept for Pippin.

Director Diane Paulus’ revival of this modern classic has brought Pippin into the present time. She has successfully adapted the show to audiences that are more attracted to spectacle than they are with the plot and the subsequent meaning of the lines. She has created a world that allows characters to interact with audiences who, instead of witnessing the actions, become a part of it. Her new direction adds a combination of raw athleticism, musical talent and a dash of fascinating technology to the original choreography of the late Bob Fosse. Throw in some magic for good measure and you have the stunning staging of Pippin.

Even though the show is written in such a way that modern amenities are available, the storyline of this brilliant musical takes places during the Carolingian Renaissance,

Picture this; the stage is engulfed in an epic battle scene between the Catholic Army of Charlemagne and a group of Non-Believers. Instead of violence of sword and shield this fight is contested through acrobatic feats and other daring moves using hoops large and balls as large as a person. Teams of acrobats were climbing up a red pole that was symbolic of soldiers being cornered. Those same acrobats would perform a maneuver that saw them sliding down the pole at full speed only to stop themselves inches from the ground. The maneuver left the audience loudly gasping and in awe. Once the battle is over, we are left with a distraught Pippin and the illusion of a talking man whose head has been magically separated from the rest of his body.

Kyle Dean Massey plays the title role of Pippin and will not disappoint you in his performance. Every note, laugh, smile, dance move, and breath he takes draws an audience into his internal struggle between good and the perception of evil.

The Leading Player was portrayed by the understudy of the regular owner of the role Sasha Allen, who was out due to injury, Lisa Karlin stepped in and played the role for the DPAC audience. I will admit I was a bit disappointed in learning that I wouldn’t see the originally cast Lead Player. But, holy flying acrobats, Lisa Karlin was AMAZING. If she was that amazing, it makes me wonder if Sasha Allen is as commanding of the stage or was she merely brought in for the namesake. With every line delivery, movement, and song Lisa Karlin takes over the entire stage, demanding the audience to watch every magical move she makes.

Stephen Schwartz has created a masterpiece that literally and figuratively supports the idea that theatre is merely a memory. It is there for the moment, but must move on, leaving us with only the emotions that we felt during the performance. In this day and age we can go onto Google or YouTube and watch the videos of the performances, but that will never replace the joy and raw emotions that are felt “in the moment.”

Schwartz has helped to teach me, with Pippin, that theatre can be an alternative to life. It can serve to blanket us from the unwanted. It allows us to leave our lives of anger, frustration, sadness, and disappointment behind as we travel to a place where none of those things matter. If only for a few hours, the world that exists in our imaginations can be allowed to take place before our eyes…on stage.

 

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Dirty Dancing
“Brilliantly staged” – The Times
September 16-21, 2014

The classic story on stage is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart-stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” London’s Sunday Express says “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!” Don’t miss your chance to see this record-breaking live theatre sensation. You’ll have the time of your life!

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The Phantom of the Opera
“Extraordinarily opulent. This Phantom’s storytelling and relationships have an electrifying tension!” – Chicago Sun-Times
October 8-19, 2014

Following an acclaimed sold-out tour of the United Kingdom, Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, The Phantom of the Opera, will come to DPAC as part of a brand new North American Tour. Hailed by critics as “bigger and better than ever before,” this production boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier, new scenic and lighting designs, new staging and choreography. The beloved story and thrilling score will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour.

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Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
“A dazzling delight for all ages! Cinderella casts a new spell on Broadway!” – USA Today
November 18-23, 2014

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is the Tony Award®- winning Broadway musical from the creators of The Sound of Music and South Pacific that’s delighting audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” in this hilarious and romantic Broadway experience for anyone who’s ever had a wish, a dream… or a really great pair of shoes.

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Annie
“Spectacular on every count.” – Newsweek
December 9-14, 2014

Leapin’ Lizards!

The world’s best-loved musical returns in a time-honored form. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, this production of Annie will be a brand new incarnation of the iconic original. Featuring the beloved book and score by Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie includes such unforgettable songs as “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

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Motown
“More than a Broadway show. A celebration of music that transformed America!” – CBS Sunday Morning
February 17-22, 2015

It began as one man’s story… became everyone’s music… and is now Broadway’s musical. Motown The Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” experience the story behind the music in the record-breaking smash hit Motown The Musical!Kinky Boots “Dazzling and joyful!” – Daily NewsMarch 10-15, 2015Kinky Boots is the exhilarating Broadway musical that will lift your spirits to new high-heeled heights! Winner of six Tony Awards® including Best Musical, this inspirational story follows a struggling shoe factory owner who works to turn his business around with help from Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Together, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… proving that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.Inspired by a true story, Kinky Boots features a joyous, Tony-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, direction and Tony-winning choreography by Jerry Mitchell and a hilarious, uplifting book by four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein. Come join the sold-out audiences who’ve discovered why – sometimes – the best way to fit in is to stand out!

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Pippin
“Astonishing. A PIPPIN for the 21st century…dazzling and awe-inspiring!” – Entertainment Weekly
May 12-17, 2015

Pippin is back on Broadway for the first time since it thrilled audiences 40 years ago… the show the New York Times declared “Astonishing. A Pippin for the 21st century.”  It won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival! With a beloved score by Tony nominee Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked), Pippin tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. Will he choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory. This captivating new production is directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus (Hair and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess). It features sizzling choreography in the style of Bob Fosse and breathtaking acrobatics by Les 7 Doigts de la Main, the creative force behind the nationwide sensation Traces.

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Newsies
“Stop the presses! Newsies an irresistible high energy winner” – Entertainment Weekly
June 2-7, 2015

They delivered the papers, until they made the headlines…Direct from Broadway comes Newsies, the smash-hit, crowd-pleasing new musical from Disney. Winner of the 2012 Tony Awards® for Best Score and Best Choreography, Newsies has audiences and critics alike calling it “A musical worth singing about!” (The New York Times) Filled with one heart-pounding number after another, it’s a high-energy explosion of song and dance you just don’t want to miss.

Based on true events, Newsies tells the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York. It’s a rousing tale about fighting for what’s right…and staying true to who you are.