BWW REVIEW: PIPPIN Comes of Age in A.R.T. Revival

Book by Roger O. Hirson; music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz; scenic design, Scott Pask; costume design, Dominique Lemieux; lighting design, Kenneth Posner; sound design, Clive Goodwin; orchestrations, Larry Hochman; music supervisor, Nadia DiGiallonardo; music director, Charlie Alterman; associate music director, Sonny Paladino; illusions, Paul Kieve; associate director/production stage manager, Nancy Harrington; circus creation, Gypsy Snider; choreography, Chet Walker; director, Diane Paulus

Cast in alphabetical order:

Lewis, Erik Altemus; Theo, Andrew Cekala; Fastrada, Charlotte d'Amboise; Catherine, Rachel Bay Jones; Charles, Terrence Mann; Berthe, Andrea Martin; Leading Player, Patina Miller; Pippin, Matthew James Thomas; The Players: Gregory Aresnal, Lolita Costet, Colin Cunliffe, Andrew Fitch, Orion Griffiths, Victoria Grimmy, Olga Karmansky, Bethany Moore, Stephanie Pope, Philip Rosenberg, YanNick Thomas, Molly Tynes, and Anthony Wayne

Performances and Tickets:

Now through January 20, American Repertory Theater, LoebDramaCenter, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Mass.; tickets start at $25 and are available online at www.amrep.org/events/show/pippin or by calling the Box Office at 617-547-8300; Broadway previews begin March 23, Music Box Theater, 239 West 45th Street, NYC with an official opening on April 25; for more information visit www.PippintheMusical.com

In an age when troubled souls grab their final headlines in a rampage of random gunfire and parents turn their children into exhibitionists to gain fleeting fame and fortune on reality TV, the question at the heart of Diane Paulus' thrilling new revival of PIPPIN (at the A.R.T. in Cambridge through January 20) seems a particularly relevant one. How far will any of us go to become extraordinary? For Pippin, a young man on a tortured, existential quest to find fulfillment and true meaning, that question becomes a matter of life or death. Will he give up his dream of greatness and settle for a life that's ordinary or seize his moment in the sun and go out in a final spectacular blaze of unforgettable glory?

The PIPPIN that first opened on Broadway 40 years ago and ran for nearly 2000 performances is remembered primarily for Stephen Schwartz's bouncy 1970s pop score and Bob Fosse's iconic Tony Award-winning direction and choreography. However, with its troupe of traveling players, wide-eyed and tie-dyed anti-establishment sensibility and playfully anachronistic mash up of modern and Medieval Times, Pippin can feel like a sweet, sentimental relic when compared to today's more brazen and cynical offerings.



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Jan Nargi Jan Nargi is owner and creative director of JMN Publications, a marketing and public relations firm based in Boston, Mass. She provides consultation, communications, and writing services to clients in the health care, entertainment, financial, retail, manufacturing, non-profit, and sports industries. As a freelance writer, Jan has had hundreds of articles published in business and high-tech magazines. Theatrically, she has reviewed, written, directed, acted, produced, sung, danced, managed publicity, pounded nails, and designed lighting and sets. Jan has even acted in the occasional B-movie, playing a zombie, a psycho shrink, and a clueless news reporter. You may visit her on the web at www.jmnpublications.com.