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BWW Review: PIPPIN at Argenta Community Theatre brings us back to our corner of the sky

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Don't miss this EXTRAORDINARY production at the Argenta

BWW Review: PIPPIN at Argenta Community Theatre brings us back to our corner of the sky

After 19 months of Covid Hell, theatre in Central Arkansas is opening back up, and it is EXTRAORDINARY! The Grand Re-opening of the Argenta Community Theatre and the choosing of Pippin as the season opener was just what we needed to get us back to our favorite "corner in the sky."

A show within a show, a carnival act led by Leading Player (Fredrick Webb Jr.) puts on the play Pippin: The Life and Times, to find a person to complete their Grand Finale. The newest Pippin (Noah Warford) goes on a search to find a fulfilling, extraordinary life after he comes back from school. He heads off to war but does not feel fulfilled; he kills his father the king (P. Jay Clark) but does not like the job; he has sexual orgies but loses interest; and he lives on an ordinary estate with a widow (Jessica Lauren Mylonas) and son (Walt Wenger) but does not want to be tied down to that life either. At the end of the show, the cast tries to convince Pippin that an extraordinary person with extraordinary aspirations needs an extraordinary climax, which is jumping into a fire to die and be reborn again. BWW Review: PIPPIN at Argenta Community Theatre brings us back to our corner of the sky

The leads worked well in the show. As opposites, Webb's smooth, alluring manner was phenomenal keeping the show moving along with his dancing, singing, and playing off of Warford's often soft, but determined persona of Pippin.

The supporting characters were a delight as well. The royal family was a riot, and their chemistry was on point. I loved Clark as the king, Stodola-Wilson as Fastrada, and Brandon Nichols as Louis. I mean, who can fault a mom wanting what's best for her son?! Mylonas and Wenger had me in my feels with their mother-son story, especially since I had my own son with me. (As a side note, his favorite character was the little son, until the carnival cast wanted to throw him in the fire at the end.) My favorite number, though, was the grandma scene, played by Kayren Grayson Baker. By far that was the catchiest song. The audience participation part was enjoyable.

Director Vincent Insalaco and the creative team stayed true to the 70s vibe. Though Shelly Hall gave the carnival crew bright, clownish style wardrobes, Pippin had a hippy-like, flowy look and Webb's high-waisted pants with ruffle sleeves were brilliant. And, it was undeniable that Chorographer Stodola-Wilson was heavily influenced by Bob Fosse. Dare I say that Fosse himself would have been proud of her number "Spread a Little Sunshine."

As always, extra points are given when there is a live band. Of course, this musical actually calls for a live band, but still, I loved it! Led by Director Bob Bidewell, they had horns, percussion, keyboards, guitar, and bass. It was wonderful seeing all those musicians during the performance.

Pippin will be running through August 28th. Visit their website at argentacommunitytheater.org for tickets and Covid safety protocols. Argenta Community Theatre is located at 405 Main Street, in North Little Rock. You can call them at (501) 353-1443.

-Photo Credits by Warren McCullough


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