BWW Interview: Savannah Sprinkle of PIPPIN at The Playhouse
Stephen Schwartz, the composer and lyricist who brought us WICKED in 2003, began his career over 40 years past with GODSPELL in '71 and PIPPIN the next year. After a successful 2014 Equity tour a follow up non-equity tour opens at The Playhouse on March 7 for a 6-day run.
The original production won 9 Tonies, with Bob Fosse garnering two for Direction and Choreography.
Chatting with Savannah Sprinkle, playing Catherine, the title character's soul mate, Sprinkle and her troupe of 20 plus 7 acrobats are looking forward to Wilmington. Perusing the tour dates on their site, there are many one-nighters. I suggested that must be tough but it is 'what they do for love'. On Mar 3 they are in MO for one night and 2 days later in IN for one more. It's gotta be a relief to stay in a town for an extended time!
The core creative group who oversees this production is led by Director Diane Paulus, Tony Award winner for the 2013 revival. Choreographer Chet Walker goes back much further. Walker was a dancer in the original production choreographed by legendary EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) Bob Fosse. Now that's legitimate provenance! Any devout theatre-goer knows Fosse the moment the first pelvis is thrust. Says Sprinkle, "our choreography is in the spirit of Fosse but the iconic dance number "Manson trio" is exactly how Fosse staged it in 1972".
The musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe led by a Leading Player to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for passion, significance and adventure. (The charismatic Ben Vereen won a Tony as the Leading Player in the original).
The protagonist Pippin and his father Charlemagne are characters derived from two real-life individuals of the early Middle Ages, although that is where any history ends. The play is staged as burlesque. To understate it is unconventional. The Leading Player breaks the 4th wall with the first number "Magic To Do" and speaks directly to the audience. The second number, "Corner Of The Sky" is as well-known as the opener and is a solo by Pippin.
This is a circus inspired production with acrobats performing in the style of Cirque de Soleil. Gypsy Snider, who created the routines, is the daughter of the founders of The Pickle Family Circus. Each costume is hand painted in brilliant colors, no two alike. Aisle Say doubts you have seen such creatively designed costumes such as these.
Sprinkle describes her character as a 'kooky and endearing'. "Catherine represents the calm, the ordinary. Pippin is seeking meaning and happiness. He is buffeted by the forceful personality of The Leading Player who chides him that in life there is much 'magic to do' and he must be a part of it. The message is that not one thing in life can make you completely happy. Each individual faces his own existential crises, but Catherine can finally give him peace".
Mar 7 - 12 ThePlayhouseDE.org 302.888.0200
The season (which Aisle Say considers a smashing success) ends with the Mar 31 opening of ONCE.