We’ve got magic to do, just for you. We’ve got miracle plays to play. We’ve got parts to perform, hearts to warm. Kings and things to take by storm. As we go along our way.
So begins the story of Pippin, a young man seeking his way in the world. This young man just happens to be the son of Emperor Charlemagne. Pippin knows with all his heart that there are great things in store for his life, but he has a hard time figuring out just what they may be. So he sets off to figure out the purpose of his life. Along the way Pippin is manipulated into a variety of situations by the mysterious Leading Player. Intrigue, plots to bring disaster! Humor, handled by a master! Romance, sex presented pastorally! Illusion, fantasy to study! Battles, barbarous and bloody!
The leading player is being played by Chris Hardin an assistant professor of voice and movement at APSU. He brings an intensity to the role worthy of Ben Vereen from the 1973 Broadway Production.
Pippin is played by Daniel Rye. Daniel gives the audience the sense of the whimsical nature that you would expect from the title character. He also projects clear vocals and is pleasant to listen to. For the ladies, he is not hard to look at either!
Russell Qualls plays the Emperor Charlemagne, he is a hard ruler, but cares deeply about his sons. Russell did an admirable job bringing a regal bearing to his role.
Lewis (Edward Garcia) is Pippin’s half-brother, together with his mother Fastrada (Jennifer Whitcomb-Olivia) brings the intrigue to the musical. Edward has a definite flair to his acting and I have no doubt you will see big things from him in the future. Jennifer is a very talented dancer, and brings humor to her role.
Catherine (Elizabeth Hadden) is a widow with a young son named Theo (Nathan Brown). Pippin makes his way to her farm to deliver on the romance. It is during his time with her that Pippin finds his way in life. And it is a way that isn’t what the leading player had intended. Elizabeth’s character had several less than pleasant interactions with the leading player and you empathized with her, when she found her courage to stand her ground you could almost cheer. Nathan’s dealing with Pippin was endearing, and I have no doubt in the end, it was because of him that Pippin escaped the clutches of the leading player.
I saved Berthe (Alaina Runions), Pippin’s Grandmother for last all told hers was one of my favorite roles from the show. She started out old and decrepit, but ended up quite alluring. She has a fun character!
There is an amazing support cast on this performance which features Dillon Biemesderfer, Riley Braem, Raven Cooper, Humberto Figueroa, Cinthya Griffith, Sarilda Mayberry, Heather Nicholas, Octavious Padgett, Sara Schichtel, L’Oreal Terry, Darius Walls, and Cody Furline. Without their contribution to the performance the leading actors couldn’t have shone nearly as bright.
The music by Stephen Schwartz is upbeat and catchy. You will want to sing, and that is a good thing because at times during the audience is encouraged to sing along with the actors. I enjoyed the music so much, that after seeing the performance, I went home and purchased the soundtrack which is available both on Apple iTunes, and Amazon.com. In fact, I listened to it as I wrote this review. The quality of the vocals and music from this APSU production at time exceeds those from the Broadway version.
The play is being presented by the APSU Theatre and Dance, along with the APSU Center of Excellence in the Creative Arts. It runs from November 18th-22nd. 7:30pm Wednesday – Saturday. 2:00pm on Sundays.
Ticket prices are very reasonable. $10 for adults, $5 for students and members of the military. If you have any questions about the performance, you can get in touch with the Box Office via phone at (931) 221-7370.
This was a great performance, and if they don’t mind me coming back without a camera, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again! I applaud them all!