BWW CD Review: The Revival Broadway Cast's Recording of PIPPIN is Electric and Enthralling
With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked), and a book by Roger O. Hirson, Pippin is the classic story, loosely based on historical figures, about a prince (Pippin) and his journey to find meaning and his self-identity.
Pippin is the 31st longest running show on Broadway, and after 40 years of not being on the stage it has been revived to critical acclaim. The revival directed by Diana Paulus (Hair) has nabbed 10 Tony nominations.
Patina Miller is enticing as she gender bends the role of the Leading Player, which is commonly played by a male. Miller as the leading player breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to the audience. The Leading Player explains to the audience the story of Pippin, the following circus act. Patina opens the recording with the number "Magic To Do." The number sets the stage for the magical story, so it was appropriate that this was the track that Ghostlight Records released early to get listeners excited for the revival recording's release.
Miller's greatest performance on the recording is "Simple Joys," it encapsulates her character of the leading player, and shows off her vocal chops as she sings with soul and depth.
Matthew James Thomas captures the innocence, youth, and faith of Pippin. His "Corner Of The Sky," is hopeful and performed with excellence. The songs legendary high note is hit and with brilliance. The same rings true for Thomas' "Morning Glow." As one of Pippins most famous songs, "Morning Glow" is an imperative number, and Thomas belted out the tune with purity, and conveyed Pippin's anticipation and newfound power and esteem. He starts the number sounding unsure (reflecting Pippins hesitancy) but by the end Thomas belts out the powerful lyrics. "Morning glow by your light /We can make the new day bright /And the phantoms of the night /Will fade into the past/ Morning glow is here."
The comedic Andrea Martin shows us what she is made of as Pippin's grandmother Berthe, While she only appears in one number, the performance is so jaw dropping that Martin has a tony nomination to prove it. Her big number "No Time at All," is performed with pizazz and spunk. The song makes you want to make jazz hands and sway with the song equipped with quirky lyrics and a fun beat.
Martin sings, "When you are as old as I, my dear / And I hope that you never are /You will woefully wonder why, my dear /Through your cataracts and catarrh. Truth be told, the girl still got it. " It's ironic, because Martin most definately "still got it."
Pippin (The New Broadway Cast Recording) is enthralling with its energetic numbers about adventure, love, faith, and self-discovery. The cast interprets these iconic songs and makes them their own on the album.
Pippin (The New Broadway Cast Recording) is currently available for download on iTunes.