Monday, March 23, 2015

Past is Past: Pippin

Yes, I realize that Pippin played a short run over a month ago. Yet...I did want to do a short post about it. First off, I love this show. There is some really good music in it, it tells an interesting story in a very interesting way...and it is a fun thing to watch.

The original production (with some small changes) is readily available to view. It has the incredible Ben Vereen as the leading player, as well as William Katt. This production is a revival that played Broadway and incorporated more circus, and acrobatic aspects to it than the original. It features a female leading player which made no changes at all. By that I mean that the gender of the leading player does not make a difference to the score or the show.

Here are just a few impressions I had of the touring production. The audience was really varied and ranged in ages. It was great to see. The staging was very symmetrical, which was nice. It kept the focus where it should be - on the main characters. The great thing about this was the use of magic and acrobatics - including aerial work - that was exciting to watch, and yet also brought interesting aspects to the characters. There was great integration of dance and the circus elements, each feeding the other. I would have to say that the best thing about this production was the lead-in to the songs. There was great underscoring and the songs just came up naturally. It was so well done. Finally, if you have seen the original production via DVD - the ending has been slightly revised. It is good.

Two things specifically about this tour: The actor playing Charles was John Rubinstein...who just happened to originate the role of Pippin in the original production. He still has the skill and the stage presence and was really great! The other great thing about this tour is Priscilla Lopez playing Berthe. Yes, we all know Priscilla from In The Heights and even more from the original cast of A Chorus Line." Let me tell you that she looks amazing still, and does amazing work on a trapeze! Even to the point of singing upside down!! so awesome!

IF you have a chance to see a production of Pippin, I would take that chance for sure!