BWW Review: PIPPIN at Foxwoods Casino
Sunday, June 18th, marked the end of the Pippin National Tour. After months of performing the magical production came to a close at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. While the performers had an a-typical audience they performed with high energy and a renowned ability to treat this famous show-within-a-show as if it truly were their first performance.
Pippin is such a unique musical. The audience receives a very Brechtian experience regardless of what creative liberties are taken with the production. The national tour is a continuation of the 2013 Broadway revival and allowed for theatregoers all over the country to join the cast for all their "Magic to Do." All of the actors involved were incredibly talented and clearly had wonderfully colored backgrounds in gymnastics and dance. The 2013 revival sets Pippin in a big top circus. Allowing the audience to feel as if they are seeing a show performed by a traveling troupe. The show itself was so entertaining and created such an awe-inspiring spectacle. There were magic tricks, acrobatics, and phenomenal singing and dancing. In regards to the cast, Naysh Fox was a perfect fit for playing Pippin. His vocal range withstood the test of the final high note in "Corner of the Sky" while still being able to capture the innocence and naiveté that comes from playing the royal vagabond Pippin. Courtney Dease and Erica Lee Cianciuli created a wonderful dynamic for the villainous (and slightly incestuous) mother-son duo, Lewis and Fastrada. Not only did they master playing off of each other but also their dancing abilities were skilled and agile. The cast as a whole was magnificent and had excelled at aiding each other in success. There was not a single person in the cast that does not deserve a rave review.
After closing, I was able to reach out to the Leading Player herself, Housso Semon. She is not only the definition of a triple threat but truly enjoys everything she does. When asked about the space and audience at the Foxwoods Theatre she had nothing but wonderful things to say. " [The theatre] was lovely! The staff was extremely kind and helpful. Every seat in the theatre was a good seat, and the stage was nice and spacious" she said, "Performing in a casino is different from performing in a theatre because theatre audiences tend to have seen many musical theater shows and are avid theatre goers. A lot of casino audiences see the show because it's part of a casino package. I love the fact that we're introducing musical theatre to more people than we normally do." Foxwoods has a very nice proscenium theatre. With fly space, and spacious wings it was wonderful to see how the touring set was able to situate perfectly on stage. Semon mentioned that one of her favorite parts of touring was getting to travel to different states. Each audience and space is different and she felt that every night was unique. When asked about training and what she loved about playing the Leading Player, Semon said that she put all of her effort into ensuring that everything she learned felt like second nature. "There are so many things I love about playing the Leading Player. I love being able to put so many skills in one, learning more about fosse, the trapeze, and playing such a powerful female presence. It's hard to find these types of roles."