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Review: PIPPIN at Mac-Haydn Theatre Brings the Magic.

Have You Found Your Corner of the Sky?

Review: PIPPIN at Mac-Haydn Theatre Brings the Magic.
Mikel Hunter and The Players
All photos: Ann Kielbasa

Founded in 1969, the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, NY strives to present innovative, diverse and professional musical theatre productions to the residents of Columbia County and beyond. The company also cultivates young talent for careers in theatre and seek to provide a supportive environment for the creation of new musical theatre works.

The 2020 season opened with one of my personal favorites, PIPPIN. It was the first Broadway show I saw. Its popular number, "Corner of the Sky" has often been belted by theatre kids gathered around pianos over the last forty years. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, PIPPIN uses the premise of a performance troupe, led by the Leading Player, to tell the story of a young prince (son of Charlemagne) on his search for meaning and significance.

Review: PIPPIN at Mac-Haydn Theatre Brings the Magic.
Kylan Ross

Director, John Saunders, and team incorporated circus like elements from the popular 2013 revival. The cast included Kylan Ross as Pippin, Amber Mawande-Spytek as Leading Player, Maya Cuevas as Catherine, Mikel Hunter as Charlemagne, Ashley DeLane Burger as Fastrada, Liz Gurland as Berthe, Andrew Burton Kelley as Lewis, Clementine Kline as Thea, and Davis Aaron as Player with Fire. One of the nicest aspects of productions at Mac-Haydn is the chance to see young, up and coming performers. All members of this cast approach their performance with dedication, professionalism and energy that is both refreshing and palpable. I was impressed with the work of Kylan Ross, Liz Gurland, and Andrew Burton Kelley and would be surprised if we don't see those names in the future. Mikel Hunter is particularly well suited for his role as is Maya Cuevas. While Amber Mawande-Spytek demonstrated ample skill and ability, I found her performance inconsistent more so because of the powerful moments in which she seemed to have mastery of the character, versus the few where she appeared to be performing the role. Elizabeth McGuire's choreography was well suited for the performers, the space, and works well. Costumes by Angela Carstensen were fun, appropriate, and well designed as were the sets designed by Emma Cummings.

Review: PIPPIN at Mac-Haydn Theatre Brings the Magic.
Maya Cuevas

As with other productions at Mac-Haydn, PIPPIN was charming, delightful, and very enjoyable. I would highly recommend it if the show's run had not ended August 8th to make way for, SHE LOVES ME which will play August 12-22. I highly encourage Berkshire and Capital District theatre patrons to visit for information and tickets for the balance of the season which is scheduled through October.

From This Author - Marc Savitt

Marc Savitt has a life-long passion for, and association with the performing arts, particularly Musical Theatre. He has performed with choral groups in several US cities, and London, and appears on... (read more about this author)

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