BWW Review: PIPPIN Hypnotizes at Wausau's Grand Theater
PIPPIN originally debuted in 1972. The 2013 Broadway revival of PIPPIN won four Tony Awards and was nominated for 10. The show follows the life of Pippin, son of King Charlemagne, as he tries to find meaning and purpose in life. The colorful revival version also has a circus overlay, which, while creating a trippy vibe, adds a great deal to the overall effect of the show. Just don't think too hard about it.
The music and lyrics of the show were written by Stephen Schwartz, now best known for WICKED. However, musical theater fans will perhaps see more parallels between PIPPIN and some of his other earlier work like GODSPELL and THE MAGIC SHOW. The show features familiar, catchy numbers like "Magic to Do," "Corner of the Sky," "No Time at All" and "Morning Glow."
The choreography by Chet Walker often uses Fosse-like elements. In many scenes, the choreography adds a great deal to the overall comedic effect.
Perhaps the most exciting element of the show is the circus elements. The show features countless stunts, acrobatics, tricks and illusions, which set it apart from other musicals and make it truly captivating.
Many individual performers are featured throughout the show, and each performer excels in his or her role. The two leads are particular standouts.
Housso Semon is dynamic as Leading Player. She conveys the slightly sinister element of the character with finesse, and her full, powerful singing voice is bewitching.
Naysh Fox is sympathetic as Pippin, making it easy to become invested in the character's journey.
Overall, PIPPIN is a hypnotizing whirlwind of music and magic.