The Tony Award winning revival of the Bob Fosse and Stephen Schwartz classic musical PIPPIN debuted to an
enthusiastic Nashville audience this week at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. The shiny new production is more of a restructuring than a revival. Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press says, “Director Diane Paulus hasn’t just slapped some fresh paint on this beloved tale of self-discovery, she’s rebuilt it. A stroke of genius!”
The revival’s choreography elaborated on the iconic Fosse style it preserves, incorporating dynamic acrobatics and death defying trapeze acts performed by the sensational Les 7 Doigts de la Main.
Sasha Allen is a force of a performer as The Leading Player. Her radiating presence, clever delivery, and warm, powerful voice filled the theater to the brim on songs such as “Glory” and “On the Right Track.”
Sam Lips is a perfect fit in the title role of Pippin. His presence captures the naivety and wonderment, as well as the heartbreak and disappointment on the quest for the extraordinary. Lips shined throughout the show, performing a beautiful rendition of the famous “Corner of the Sky” and the duet “Love Song.
Pippin’s father Charles was played by John Rubinstein, who originated the role of Pippin in 1972. Rubinstein was wonderful, hilarious but with moments of a mysterious darkness.
Sabrina Harper THREW DOWN some Fosse dancing as Fastrada. Tall and beautiful, and glittering in the lights, she was dazzling in her performance of “Spread a Little Sunshine.”
I am completely in love with the beautiful Priscilla Lopez’s rendition of Pippin’s sassy grandmother, Berthe. Her wonderful performance of “No Time at All” was full of joy, humor, and above all seamless grace, and all from a beautiful high-flying trapeze act of her own. Lopez first performed in PIPPIN in 1973 and was a member of the original cast of A CHORUS LINE, for which she received a Tony nomination.
Kristine Reese played a fantastic Catherine, who created the turning point in the life of Pippin. She gracefully slid from humor into revealing poignant moments, and her beautiful giant, belting voice shook the ceiling in her rendition of “Kind of Woman.”
The incredibly talented Callan Bergmann was sensational as the pompous, and hilarious, Lewis. A phenomenal performer, Bergmann was kind enough to share his insight into PIPPIN.
Why do you believe PIPPIN continues to resonate with audiences since its Broadway premier in 1972?
The story that Pippin tells is timeless. I think that everyone goes through a phase of trying to figure out exactly what they want to do with their life. Sometimes people figure it out quickly and sometimes it takes a long time, but it’s something that everyone can relate to whether it is 1972, 2015, or 2043 (the next Pippin revival!?). I also think that the moral that Pippin teaches is a good reminder for everyone. We don’t always have to be searching for something amazing and “extraordinary” to do with our lives, being content with a life that is simple and “ordinary” can be just as fulfilling. Lastly, how can you not love Stephen Schwartz’s music!? It just never gets old!
Personally, what is the most rewarding aspect of being a cast member of PIPPIN?
I adore this production of Pippin and I feel very lucky to be a part of it. Personally, my part that I play (Lewis) is very rewarding to me because I get to show off all of my skills. Singing, dancing, acting, tumbling. Having the creative team build this character around my strengths is something that I feel very fortunate about, and getting to do it onstage every night and impacting the lives of the audience is my greatest reward!
What experience would you like audiences to gain from this performance?
“. . . being content with your life and not putting pressure on yourself to be bigger and better and more extravagant is what I would like the audience to take away. All of our lives are special and meaningful in their own wonderful, unique way.
WHEN: now – Sunday, March 15, 2015
505 Deaderick St.
Nashville, TN 37219