Posts Tagged pippin

Pippin Comes to PSU Silver Center

This Show Altered My Life

Those of you who know me know that Playing the Role of Pippin Changed My Life. It should come as no surprise to you then that I would highly recommend you visit the PSU Silver Center this week to see the PSU Theatre students perform this amazing show. Incomparable music, dance choreography, and imagery are hallmarks of this Tony Award winning classic. Below is the official press release from the Silver Center with details on ticketing and cast info.

Plymouth, N.H. –The Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at Plymouth State University will present a modern interpretation of the musical Pippin, October 20-23 in the Hanaway Theatre at the Silver Center for the Arts.

Bob Fosse directed and choreographed the original Broadway show in 1972, starring Ben Vereen as “the Leading Player” and John Rubenstein as Pippin. The production addresses adult themes.

The musical uses the device of a mysterious acting troupe led by a “Leading Player” to follow a young prince, Pippin, eldest son of Charlemagne, through his quest to discover the secret of true significance and fulfillment. Pippin plows through obstacles, seeking that fulfillment in the glories of the battlefield, the temptations of the flesh, and the intrigues of political power.

Adjunct faculty member Morgan Murphy directs the PSU production. Murphy is a film and theater producer, director, actor and instructor with Whitebridge Farm Productions, Plymouth State University and St. Paul’s School. He says, “If done the way Bob Fosse envisioned it, Pippin is surreal and disturbing. We’ve added today’s technology addiction to the array of obstacles and objectives thrown Pippin’s way in the original script. Facing this gauntlet, Pippin has to navigate his way to his own sense of identity and purpose…what does he want to be when he grows up?”

Murphy challenges the audience to consider trying to grow up today when we don’t have time to keep up with our smart phones, let alone figure out why we invented them, or why we buy them. “Perhaps you don’t have to use your imagination at all to recall this common technopoly we live in,” he says. “It can be worth turning it all off occasionally. That moment has always been in the Pippin script, and it’s my favorite moment in the show. Pippin gets to taste simplicity when everything stops for a few seconds.”

The cast includes theatre arts majors Luke Meierdiercks, a junior from St. Johnsbury, Vt., portraying Pippin; Mervin Marvey a senior from Rustenburg, South Africa, portraying the Leading Player; Samantha St. Onge, a senior from Londonderry, portraying Catherine; Alyssa Dumas, a sophomore from Manchester, in the role of Fastrada; Ben Cesare, a junior from Boxborough, Mass., portraying King Charlemagne and Laura Daigle, a sophomore from Salem, portraying Berthe. DJ Spinelli, a senior psychology major from Chester, portrays Lewis and Sam Ebner, an 8th-grade student from Plymouth, portrays Theo.

PSU alumna Amanda Munton is the music director for Pippin, with Lisa Travis as choreographer and Gary Corcoran as conductor.

Performances are Oct. 20 and 22 at 8 p.m., October 21 at 7 p.m., October 22 at 2 p.m. and October 23 at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for seniors and $15 for youth at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-2787 or (800) 779-3869.

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1 Comment updated July 26, 2013

Playing the Role of Pippin Dramatically Altered the Direction of My Life

I have to say I was really drifting through life missing a little purpose (at least in the matter I had become accustomed) when I joined Franklin Footlight Theatre in the summer of 2007.  My friends Kathy, Lee, and Jody all dragged me off to auditions for Footlight’s production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.  I had a blast doing that show and took part in the annual end of summer camping trip with the group.  While there the group suggested I audition for Pippin, a show about which I knew nothing.

The Challenge of Being Cast in the Title Role of Pippin

I had the blessing (tho I hardly called it such at the time) of being cast as Pippin.  I don’t have all that much experience in theatre but I can’t imagine there are too many roles out there that are similar. The character Pippin experiences just about every possible kind of personal failure designed to destroy the will and spirit of a young man, only to be saved in the end by his love for his newly adopted family – and their love for him.

I think Pippin maybe is that rare bit of musical theatre which both has the element of Broadway production pizzazz while also carrying the more heavy tone of drama. On the one hand you can’t get enough of the glittering costumes, choral music and beautiful dancing girls but on the other hand you can’t help but be pulled at the heart by the world machinations trying to undo at a whole the very fabric of the spirit of a young man. I think many an ambitious young man could see Pippin’s struggles and empathize with his plight and how some people are so willing and eager to abuse such young men of ambition.

Becoming Immersed in a Character Role Stays with You for Life

I will always carry a piece of Pippin with me wherever I go, whatever roles I play.  Thank you to Jule Finley and the production team for casting me as Pippin.  You changed my life in much the same way Pippin’s new family changed his. Committing to performing a lead role live on stage demands that you truly step into the shoes of the character you are playing and (for that time in the limelight) being that other person. It is through this media that I experienced what it felt like to carry the joys and woes of this character in a way only others who have had to make the same commitment can understand.

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No Comments updated August 17, 2012