Andrea Martin Will Be Berthe in Diane Paulus's PIPPIN

Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
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?
whatever2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/25/06
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. :)
"You, sir, are a moron." (PlayItAgain)
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
"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.
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
Thanks, whatever2. I get what you're saying. I still disagree, but I get it. :)
whatever2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/25/06
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!
"You, sir, are a moron." (PlayItAgain)
whatever2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/25/06
yay! civil discourse on bww ... who'da thunk it?!?

:)
"You, sir, are a moron." (PlayItAgain)
Someone in a Tree2
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/12
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!
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
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.
whatever2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/25/06
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.
"You, sir, are a moron." (PlayItAgain)
PlayItAgain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/8/11
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 :)
mallardo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/04
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.
Faced with these Loreleis, what man can moralize!
nasty_khakis
Broadway Star
joined:3/15/07
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.
little_sally
Broadway Legend
joined:1/15/04
I'd like to see Coleman Domingo as the Leading Player.
A little swash, a bit of buckle - you'll love it more than bread.
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Steven Schartz' origial concept for the leading Player (before Fosse got involved) was an OLD man. Hell - Ben Vereen could still play it!
Someone in a Tree2
Broadway Star
joined:10/9/12
Just curious if it's a given that the Leading Player should be black?
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
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.
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
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.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
HoldThatThought
Stand-by
joined:7/15/12
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.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
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.
HoldThatThought
Stand-by
joined:7/15/12
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.
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
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.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
HoldThatThought
Stand-by
joined:7/15/12
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!
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
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.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
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.
g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
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.
Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy

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