If you’ve been reading these min-reviews for awhile, you know I try to admit my prejudices (against Shakespeare and Chekhov…) but this time, I’ll declare a prejudice FOR the show Pippin, one of my all-time-favorites, which I saw, back in the early 70’s with John Rubenstein in the title role… and now he’s his own father, Charlemagne! He was wonderful, bringing that impish charm in a more “mature” form. Also I was thrilled to see Priscilla Lopez, who was outSTANDing as the grandmother, Berthe, advocating the pleasures of “The Flesh” with relish, and some acrobatics you may not expect. She was the original “Morales” in A Chorus Line, which I also saw on that same early-70’s trip to NYC.
Pippin is special, and somewhat reminiscent of Into the Woods (or vice versa, time-wise) since it is thoroughly entertaining, and also introduces themes of compromise and finding meaning and purpose in “real life” — sorting out our dreams, destinies, what is “fulfillment”— and our all-too-human tendency to want a little more than we’ll ever get. The Leading Player was the powerful, seductive ring-mistress Sasha Allen, leading the destiny-seeker Pippin (the endearing, handsome, talented Sam Lips) through his maze of attempts at fulfillment, leading to the much hyped Grand Finale.
At our show, the scheming mother Fastrada was well played by understudy Molly Tynes. Callan Bergmann was an appropriately macho showoff as her son, Louis. The “Wonderful Girl,” Catherine, was Kristine Reese, who balanced well the demands of being both the show-Catherine and the real-life-Catherine. Lucas Schultz (Tue/Thur/Sat eve/Sun mat.) was a wonderful Theo, the boy with the duck — just as stubborn and rude and adorable as some of my grandchildren — and with a beautiful voice.
I was amazed at the acrobatics/choreography of The Players; they are over-the-top, literally and figuratively. I’m not sure how much of what to credit to director Diane Paulus, Choreographer Chet Walker and/or Gypsy Snider in charge of “Circus Creation,” a crew position unique to this show.
PIPPIN continues 7:30 pm Wed/Thur; 8pm Fri; 2pm & 8pm Sat; 1pm & 6:30 pm Sun. Cobb Great Hall , Wharton Center
1 800 - WHARTON. - www.whartoncenter.com