Pippin is very very loosely based on the historical figures Charlemagne, a King in the Middle Ages, and his first-born son Pippin, a "hunchback" who was passed over for his father's thrown. But in this version, Pippin is a lost young man who's dissatisfied with life and searching for something to make his life meaningful. He tries war, the pleasures of the flesh, and an ordinary life, flitting from one thing to the other, but still feeling empty and unfulfilled. In the original production, the story was told through a performance troupe, but in this version it's a circus, complete with contortionists, trapeze, balancing acts, and acrobatics. It's hugely fun and light-hearted, like a musical/comedy/circus version of Game of Thrones with a touch of Monty Python's Spamalot, where dead men talk and come back to life, and battles are a beautiful dance. In the end, Pippin rejects the circus for his real life, but the circus lives on in our imaginations, always there when we need it.
|Ciara Renee and Kyle Dean Massay|
have taken over the roles of Leading Player and Pippin
I really love this score, even though I'd never heard any of the songs before, and will definitely be downloading it. There's Pippin's lovely ballad "Corner of the Sky," the singalong "No Time at All," and the 70s-feeling "Love Song." There are some pretty incredible Fosse-inspired dance numbers, and one jaw-dropping moment after another. It's just good old-fashioned entertainment. Even though I'm a fan of the smaller, more intimate music-theater pieces (like Violet which I saw earlier in the same day), a big beautiful spectacle of a show like Pippin can be so much fun when performed to creative perfection as this one is. It's a revival (directed by Diane Paulus, with her third brilliant revival in a row - see also Hair and Porgy and Bess) that manages to pay tribute to the original and still bring something fresh and new and original to the piece. If you find yourself in NYC, this show is one that cannot be missed. But don't worry, Pippin is coming to us in Minneapolis - the tour will stop at the Orpheum for a week in February next year. Trust me, you'll want to get your tickets to this one as soon as you can!