Friday, May 8, 2015

Oh, it's time to start livin'...

Broadway in Atlanta's 2014-2015 season is going out with a bang! And some fire and some somersaults and some romance and a colossal amount of performing arts talent!

Pippin, a 2013 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical Revival, is on stage at The Fox Theatre through Sunday, May 10, 2015. 

Pippin (Photo: Martha Rial)
Pippin (Photo: Martha Rial)

This was my first time seeing Pippin, and before I knew it was coming to the Fox, I really didn't know anything about it. My bad.

Pippin has a pedigree quite unique from other shows I've seen. And I'm still learning about its history, and still blown away by its current touring cast. We had the pleasure of seeing Lisa Karlin perform the role of Leading Player and  Kyle Dean Massey perform the role of Pippin. Another of my favorites was Kristine Reese who performed the role of Catherine--WOW! What an incredible voice!

In 2013, NPR shared this about Pippin:
When Pippin opened in 1972, it was a sensation. Directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, who was coming off his Academy Award-winning film version of Cabaret, it was a showbiz triumph of jazz hands, sexy dancing and theatrical magic.

It was also the Broadway debut of 24-year-old songwriter Stephen Schwartz, who's better known these days for the global megahit Wicked. He had written a version of Pippin — about the son of medieval emperor Charlemagne — as a college musical. And Schwartz says that behind the Fosse razzmatazz, the show had a real 1960s vibe.

Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)
Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)

The first few minutes of the show I thought were quite silly. I sat there in terror that I might have become jaded having seen so many magnificent Broadway shows.

Then...Adrienne Barbeau!

Ms. Barbeau, who has more than 450 screen performances to her credit, set the tone for the remainder of the show when her character, Berthe, Pippin's grandmother, sang No Time at All to her grandson, Pippin. The chorus of the plot-revealing song, part of which she sang upside-down on a trapeze!—was:
Oh, it's time to start livin'
Time to take a little from this world we're given
Time to take time, cause spring will turn to fall
In just no time at all....
At the conclusion of the number, the very young soon-to-be 70 actress received a much-deserved roaring ovation.

Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)
Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)

Another magnificent treat was John Rubinstein, who plays Pippin's father, originated the title role in Pippin in 1972 sporting a massive lion's mane 1970s hairdo. He too has had, and continues to have, an illustrious career! He treated the audience not only to a splendid performance, but also an abundance of laughter.

The acrobatics and physical stamina of this show are exciting! It's one thing to sing and dance for a two-hour show, and it's quite another to perform breathtaking acrobatics for two hours. But to do both, with precision and finesse, is impressive! That's what the cast of Pippin did...impress me, kept me in awe, and kept me laughing for two hours.   

Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)
Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)
I am a longtime fan of Bob Fosse choreography, so when I read and then saw Fosse-style dance in Pippin, I was thrilled. It was actually later, when researching, that I realized that he had directed the film decades ago. I'll always enjoy Fosse!

Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)
Pippin (Photo: Terry Shapiro)

If you've never seen Pippin, I recommend adding it to your Broadway show must-see list. And you can see it right here in Atlanta through Sunday, May 10! As Berthe reminds us, "Oh, it's time to start livin'!"

There's one more show in the 2014-2015 Broadway in Atlanta series at The Fox Theatre, but you have to wait until August. And then not very much longer for a magnificent 2015-2016 season!

("Thank you" to Broadway in Atlanta and BRAVE PR for the tickets! As a reminder to my readers, my opinions and writings are fully my own.)

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