‘Pippin’ delivered on the magic it promised
Department of Performing Arts wraps captivating production of musical
With a vibrant cast and a minimalist set, “Pippin” put on a show full of life, dance and magic from Oct. 18 to Oct. 27 at the Harold and Sylvia Greenberg Theatre.
The Leading Player (Alice Squeglia) narrates Pippin’s (Spencer Coben) journey of finding fulfillment as he comes back home after completing his years of schooling. Pippin’s first attempt at finding his passion is to follow in his father Charles’ (William Peters) footsteps and learn to be king. However, Pippin becomes conflicted when he learns about his father’s abusive ruling style over the peasants in the kingdom.
From there, Pippin begins to spiral, abandons the throne and makes fatal mistake after mistake in attempts to find a worthy adventure.
“It’s a fairly spectacular show,” said director and AU professor Isaiah Wooden.
Sitting in the audience, it doesn’t take long to realize there are no extravagant set pieces to transport the audience into the scenes portrayed onstage. Instead, the actors did all that heavy lifting themselves. Wooden describes it as “just bodies and time and space making beautiful pictures.”
Despite the seemingly historic plotline and the history behind the show itself, this production of was modernized by the cast and crew.
When choreographing this show, Wooden said he wanted to pull inspiration from extraordinary stage performances by today’s musical icons such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.
Whether the audience was familiar with the musical or not, they were in for an unexpectedly contemporary and thoroughly entertaining performance.
The AU theatre department put on this musical with more than just Pippin in mind as the program read “dedicated to Sylvia Kay Greenberg, a benefactor who believed in the power of education, the joy of the arts, and the thrill of the stage.” Greenberg passed away at the age of 96 in April.
With a dream of performing onstage herself, the theatre embodies the heart of Greenberg. Many loved ones and colleagues of Greenberg came to share heartfelt stories, words of advice she gave and humorous anecdotes to commemorate her memory before the house was opened.
With passion in themselves and for Greenberg, the cast and crew of “Pippin” put on a spectacular show worth the standing ovation it received.