BWW Review: PIPPIN at SoLuna Studios
It was a magical night at the SoLuna Studio as the exceptional cast of "Pippin" graced the stage, sang and danced in the aisles, and at times, wound up performing in our laps. Composer Stephen Schwartz' masterpiece is brought to life by a talented bunch of young actors and actresses who are certainly on their way to Broadway. Not only does this energetic cast perform the entire 1972 Broadway musical with great gusto and pride but they also created an exceptional circus atmosphere, reminiscent of the 2013 Broadway revival, which brought "Pippin" to a whole new exciting level.
"Pippin" is the story of the son of the emperor Charlemagne and his journey through life trying to find himself and his corner of the sky. Along the way, we meet his loving family, some shady characters, and supportive friends. Brilliantly directed and choreographed by Karen Braun, this "Pippin" is both joyous and bursting at the seams with fantastic layered performances. Justin Autz, who is no stranger to the SoLuna Studio, is riveting as Pippin. He is a very tall triple threat who apparently can do anything and everything! Mr. Autz has enormous stage presence and keeps the audience in the palm of his hand from start to finish.
Leading player Mia Donneruno, who serves as the narrator and ringmaster is terrific and even scared us a little at the end with her dedicated performance. Robert Sock is perfect as the bubbling Charles and Haley Licata as his wife Fastrada can sing and dance divinely. We also get to meet Fastrada's ditzy son Lewis, played by the amazing Jordan Yates, who just can't wait to be king someday. Pippin's yente of a grandmother is played by a hysterical Samantha Jurman and her sing a-long is perhaps one of the best parts of the show. (No favoritism here but having had the opportunity to sing a-long with Andrea Martin as Grandma on the Broadway revival's cast album was thrilling!)
Act two arrives and Pippin starts yet a new adventure down on the farm with the gorgeous Catherine and her son Theo. Catherine is beautifully portrayed by the glorious Kylie Lavrenchik. Her singing voice is the voice of an angel. There is no doubt why she has set her sights on the Broadway stage. Her professionalism, radiance, and overall persona is breathtaking. Her son Theo, played by Sophia Sredniawski, is adorable.
The SoLuna Studio is filled with performers all over the place, on the stage, under the stage, in between aisles and seats, etc. The three dimensional production keeps you on the edge of your seat- not knowing what or who will show up where and when. Finally, we get to the mysterious finale we've heard so much about throughout the show and it makes you reflect about your own life and journey. Through the astonishing performances given by Mr. Autz, Miss Lavrenchik, and the impressive "Pippin" ensemble, one might consider their own life as one big circus and how each and everyone are all trying to find their corner of the sky!
Pippin is presented by SoLuna Studios in Hauppauge. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call(631)-761-6602 or visit: www.solunastudiony.com
Directed & Choreographed by Karen Braun, Assistant Director/Choreographer Greg Pepe, Musical Director Danny Passadino, Assistant Musical Director Jack Tanzi, Lights, Sound & Set by Megan Pietroforte, Fight Choreographer Mark Maurice, Costumes by Leighann Martone and Karen Braun
Starring: Justin Autz, Mia Donneruno, Robert Sock, Haley Licata, Samantha Jurman, Kylie Lavrenchik, Jordan Yates, Sophia Sredniawski, Jenni Whitfield, Isabella Donneruno, Jared Martino, John Meyers, Rachel Schneelbalg, Lorelei Grace Amato, Autumn Manes, Peyton Ruhl, Sara Meade, Grace Lovell, Alison Mottola, Mike Heilig, Natalie Ryan, Noelle Milillo, Gianna DiCarlo, Samantha Rossi, Taylor Manes