Printer Friendly - Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN


Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by somethingwicked 2012-10-09 21:44:32


Per the New York Daily News, about halfway down (following the story about Jill Zarin.) Genius casting.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/confidential/zarin-tirade-a-mad-housewife-article-1.1177888

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2012-10-09 21:48:34


I hope this isn't her idea of star casting... I mean, I love Andrea, but you can't put her above the title.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by CurtainPullDowner 2012-10-09 21:52:43


Well, that's very good.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-10-09 22:04:31


This is exciting!

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by ACL2006 2012-10-09 22:22:10


isn't Rachelle Rak also attached to this??

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Blockhead24 2012-10-09 22:35:01


^yes

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by somethingwicked 2012-10-10 01:41:44


Rak is in the ensemble, and I believe she's covering Fastrada and/or The Leading Player.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by KirbyCat 2012-10-10 07:40:56


I can't be excited enough for this production. Oh my goodness.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by ACL2006 2012-10-10 16:25:57


the entire cast has been announced. I smell a transfer.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by somethingwicked 2012-10-10 16:30:15


Am I the only one who finds the casting of Rachel Bay Jones as Catherine incredibly bizzare? She's almost 40 and Matthew James Thomas, who's playing Pippin, is 23. It seems more appropriate that she'd be playing his mother in something rather than his love interest.


Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by FindingNamo 2012-10-10 16:33:48


Mr and Mrs Mann will bring their certain something to the proceedings.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Wilmingtom 2012-10-10 17:21:52


I agree that RBJ make for a strange Catherine. I guess Diane just liked working with her on Hair. She wasn't really right for the role when she was younger, imo.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by JeanGudio 2012-10-10 17:50:16


but why circus acts. 7 fingers a wonderful circus company but they should stick to that. Remember tarzan???

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by somethingwicked 2012-10-10 17:57:02


JeanGudio, 7 Fingers had nothing to do with TARZAN. Their most recent endeavor was the theatrical piece TRACES.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by JeanGudio 2012-10-10 18:08:39


y But tarzan tried to combine circus and theatre and so did love never dies and we all know how they went.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-10-10 18:18:03


I can't tell, from the Playbill article if they are recreating (some?) of Fosse's choreography, or if Chet is just doing choreography in the Fosse style (like Reinking did the large parts of Chicago she didn't recreate). I know the odd sounding UK production from lst year (set in a video game?) did try to shoe horn Fosse's choreography, and it soundedlike an odd mix.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Visceral_Fella 2012-10-10 18:36:58


So excited about Patina Miller!

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 18:38:17


> Here's how A.R.T. bills the production: "A bold new staging of the dark and existential musical you thought you knew. Pippin, on a death-defying journey to find his 'corner of the sky,' must choose between a life that's ordinary or a flash of singular glory."

i *did* think i knew Pippin, but i've never thought of it as being existential, and i certainly don't remember it being dark.

am i sundowning early today, or has the Paulus PR machine taken its usual liberties?

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Someone in a Tree2 2012-10-10 18:52:48


Pippin's always been a wild seesaw between light and darkness. In the original production, bloody body parts are flung onstage while Vereen and co perform that slow soft-shoe glorifying war. Pippin knifes his dad to become the new king. And the finale has always been a very literal invitation to Pippin to self-immolate. Believe me, Paulus needn't do any rewriting to bring the dark to the piece.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by JeanGudio 2012-10-10 19:03:47


is MJT from spiderman

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 19:19:38


Tree2: Pippin was my first Broadway musical ... I promise I have a very clear impression of it.

I do remember the elements you've mentioned, and i do of course recall them as dark (though the flying body parts i thought were played as a gag). so, sure, there's some dark there, but for lo these 3X years now my overall sense of the show has not been of darkness. the presence of dark elements does not necessarily translate into a dark story.

although you didn't mention it, i also fully appreciate that the main character spends much of the play deep in the throes of existential angst ... somehow, though, i don't think of the work itself as being existential.

moreover, on the slightly more pedantic side, i intended to question (or open up to question) the marketing department's assertion that the common understanding of the work is one of darkness and existentialism.

perhaps it's my (then) tender years combined with the wonderful melodies, but i've always thought of Pippin as one young man's journey toward finding himself.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-10-10 19:23:27


but i've never thought of it as being existential

Pippin's entire MO is an existential crisis.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 20:01:01


PRS: respectfully, i disagree.

imho, Pippin's entire MO is RESOLVING his existential crisis.

that arguably makes the play anti-existential, if (IF) anything.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-10-10 20:04:55


I always thought Fosse's take on the material (not the authors' necessarily) was that it was a piece ultimately about suicide... But that's just my take. Either way, Fosse was smart enough to disguise a lot of the darkness that seemed to be his concept (something perhaps he had more trouble doing with his staging of Chicago but that was post his heart attack, right?)

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 20:08:04


i guess another way of asking my original question would be: is the generally received understanding of pippin that it's "dark and existential"?

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-10-10 20:09:29


I don't understand the distinction, I guess. If you think it's about him resolving his existential crisis, which I'd agree with, how does that make it anti-existential?

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 20:52:44


to me, describing a play as "existential" (and especially as "dark and existential") implies a lack of resolution. the character -- and by extension the audience -- is left in a state of unresolved existential angst.

i was educated by Jesuits -- existentialism is BAD. :)

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-10-10 21:04:37


"i guess another way of asking my original question would be: is the generally received understanding of pippin that it's "dark and existential"?"

No, I don't think so. It's poorly worded, but I assumd they meant to imply that that's how this production would be... If anything, many subsequent productions of Pippin (including, I believem, the script most people can use) have lightened it over the years.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-10-10 21:30:38


Thanks, whatever2. I get what you're saying. I still disagree, but I get it. :)

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 21:30:39


i'll have to think about that.

it's one thing if my view of the material is skewed, but another if ms paulus purporting to turn dark something that isn't.

of course, for all of the sturm und drang, her "re-imagining" of porgy & bess turned out to be a whole lot o' nuttin' ...

thx!

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 21:31:39


yay! civil discourse on bww ... who'da thunk it?!?

:)

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Someone in a Tree2 2012-10-10 21:47:39


For all the cheerfully magical qualities in the show, I distinctly remember the original production being permeated with a sense of danger and menace nearly throughout. (I first saw the show in '75 when I was 19.) All those creepy performers (some sexy but some really dangerous-seeming) whispering and snickering suggestively from the footlights. Ben Vereen's character was always an untrustworthy M.C. who would mercilessly taunt poor Pippin as readily as teach him. Incredibly gorgeous women were waved in front of Pippin in cruel jest more often than not. I still remember the shudder that went through me when I realized the finale was actually about burning the hero to death!

Fosse's misanthropic imprint was already fully in place here: the world was ruled by manipulative and random forces that could snap anyone in two for sport. I think that's why the scenes with Berthe or Catherine and her son landed so well-- what a relief after all the cruel stuff!

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-10-10 21:58:43


That's a great description. Even the openin has a grotesque threatening feel to it (helped by the costumes and makeup), and the musical does throughout, even with clear exceptions like the Berthe scene.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by whatever2 2012-10-10 22:26:13


that's interesting ...

i really have always thought that the arc of the play was a character making his way from (if you will) darkness to a sort of light, but not a play mired in darkness and threatening. again, a work can include darkness without being overall dark.

on the other hand, the phrase "fosse's misanthropic imprint" is compelling, and gives one pause.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by PlayItAgain 2012-10-11 05:34:04


Im really hopping this does transfer to Broadway, if only for Patina Miller playing the Lead Player, seriously can't wait to hear her Magic To Do :)

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by mallardo 2012-10-11 05:52:01


The recent London production that Eric mentioned was VERY dark and to me it played very well. It's definitely a show that gives a director options.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by nasty_khakis 2012-10-11 09:16:49


This is in no way a pre-judgment of Patina's performance or Paulus's direction but the sheer notion of a female leading player sets my teeth on edge. I've seen it done many times and it never seems to work right. They either make the relationship between LP and Pippin too flirty sexual, or too asexual. Heck, once I even saw it where they made it seem Pippin was the LP's gay BFF.

However with all that said, I'm fairly stumped as to who I'd cast (other than Usher, who you'd have to tailor the part a bit towards) or the obvious like Taye Diggs. I look forward to eating my words when we see how brilliant Patina ends up being.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by little_sally 2012-10-11 10:07:21


I'd like to see Coleman Domingo as the Leading Player.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Jon 2012-10-11 10:15:18


Steven Schartz' origial concept for the leading Player (before Fosse got involved) was an OLD man. Hell - Ben Vereen could still play it!

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Someone in a Tree2 2012-10-11 12:40:26


Just curious if it's a given that the Leading Player should be black?

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by darquegk 2012-10-11 13:07:16


It's not a given- it's not even a given that he is young or male. However, the tradition of a smooth black male persists because almost all of the Leading Player's music is in a Motown style, if you're using the traditional orchestrations.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by Mister Matt 2012-10-11 13:45:21


But tarzan tried to combine circus and theatre and so did love never dies and we all know how they went.

De La Guarda isn't circus. Tarzan hired the aerial designer of De La Guarda to utilize some of the aerial style for the opening (which I heard was the best part of the show) and the apes, but it wasn't circus. I saw Love Never Dies in London (and the video of the Australian production) and it really didn't "combine" theatre and circus. It had a scene with some circus performers because of the characters and the setting, but circus was not part of the concept of the staging and/or storytelling.

Fosse's vision of Pippin was conceived as being told by a troupe of performers and was heavily stylized, which is probably why this production is considering the circus element which is not far off from the original concept.

That said, I'm glad they are sticking to the original choreography and similar concept as the show itself bores me to tears otherwise.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by HoldThatThought 2012-10-11 16:29:39


I am looking forward to seeing this. I got tickets back in July when I first heard about it - so I find it odd that the playbill website states that tickets go on sale in October.

"I'm glad they are sticking to the original choreography and similar concept as the show itself bores me to tears otherwise."

My only reference is that 1980 version with William Katt. I can't say I found it that interesting either, so I'm hoping that it will be better live. At least I will enjoy the music.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-10-11 17:00:06


So it IS the original choreography and not just in the style of Fosse (the press release could be read either way).

I love the Katt video version, faults and all. The true crime is whatshiname who produced it got to do the final cut, and cut 20 mins as well as doing some lame editing in terms of camera shots. The "Fosse cut" (no idea if he actually did it) of the full show that's floating around, despite that producer claiming the cut footage doesn't exist, is great to watch but not in the best quality (including the decapitated head scene, I Guess I'll Miss the Man, etc). I wish somehow they'd work on restoring it for a proper release. Yes the design and staging (and orchetration) are very dated to the 70s, though I enjoy that, but still the staging is ingenious.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by HoldThatThought 2012-10-11 20:44:59


I'm planning to watch the Katt version again before I go see it live just to refresh my memory. It's too bad that whoever produced the video messed with the editing. I do recall it feeling a bit disjointed, and that most likely is the cause.

If there is another cut out there, it would be great if it was restored, etc. It's fun to see another producer or director's take on a show.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by AEA AGMA SM 2012-10-11 20:59:59


Steering it slightly back towards Andrea Martin I just hope that the look for Berthe is better in this production than the treatment given to Berthe in the recent Kansas City Rep production. When I saw the preview video for that my burning question was how they got Anne Burrell to play Berthe, before I realized that it was Mary Testa in an Anne Burrell wig. I was waiting for Berthe to growl out a deep guttural "YUUUUUMMMM" and show me how easy it is to make a steak.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by HoldThatThought 2012-10-12 11:24:02


After seeing that preview video for KC Rep, I would think just about anything is going to look better. That whole concept just felt wrong. Hopefully it turned out better than what the video represented.

Anne Burrell - lol! She's great on the various cooking shows. But if she ever did a broadway show, I think she would fit better in a production of "American Idiot" rather than Pippin!

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by AEA AGMA SM 2012-10-12 22:03:44


I do love Anne Burrell, I find her shows endlessly entertaining, I just wonder if they realized that sticking that wig on Mary Testa would give that effect or if it was just a funny coincidence.

I do agree though that the preview video for the KC Rep production was disappointing. I think Eric Rosen has done a lot of good things since taking over there, but that production just seemed like a swing and a miss. There have been a few other productions there in the past few years that made me wish for a brief moment I was still living and working in KC (so I could have either seen or worked on those ones), but this was not one of them.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by EricMontreal22 2012-10-12 22:34:05


HoldThatThought--I hope you enjoy it more (the DVD) after re-watching. Even with the edits (yes, it does feel disjointed), I think it holds up.

Apparently the producer David Sheehan had an ego as big as Fosse's and thought he was improving it. He claims that the cut footage was completely lost, and for ages I thought that was true--and that a certain poster on here was making things up when he claimed repeatedly to have a "Fosse cut" with the full thing... Until I found it (it's not too hard to find online). It's only 15-20 mins longer, if that (the show in full was a fairly lon 2h20m with no intermission), and really deserves to be released.

Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN
Posted by g.d.e.l.g.i. 2012-10-13 09:32:34


Truthfully, Fosse and David Sheehan's main disagreements were about close-ups versus wider angles to show the dancing and the cast. Fosse didn't really care about the material cut for time constraints; in his view, the only egregious mistake, from what I hear, was removing "I Guess I'll Miss the Man."

When comparing the two videos side by side, one notices subtle differences. It is a bit longer than the commercial video (incorporating all of the noticeable deleted material), and Fosse chose many, many different angles, and different takes. The "Fosse edit" is good for the deletions, but overall the visual choices and takes used in the final product are preferable. If they were to restore it, it would pretty much be just to insert all the deleted stuff.