We’ve got magic to do, just for you. We’ve got miracle plays to play.
While I’m doing magic of my own this summer in the city (see what I did there?), I was thrilled to finally be able to see Pippin at the Music Box Theatre. It won the second most Tony Awards of any show this season (I’m coming for you, Kinky Boots), including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Leading Role for Patina Miller, so at the very least I was expecting an enjoyable evening.
…I definitely got much more than that.
Unlike with most musicals, I walked into the Music Box Theatre not knowing much about the show. I had attended a CD signing and a more-intimate, promotional performance by the cast thanks to my internship (where I stood two feet away from a real-life Tony Award- let’s focus on that for a second), so I was slightly familiar with a few songs, but aside from knowing the cast and the most general synopsis of the show that anybody could give, I walked in semi-blindly. With the indescribable (though I’ll attempt), Cirque de Soleil caliber stunts, the breathtaking choreography, and the incredible music of Stephen Schwartz (composer of another favorite- Wicked), needless to say I didn’t stay blind for long.
I’m not going to lie- the plot of Pippin is extremely difficult to understand, but not at all in a way that made the show confusing or hard to follow (though I bet I’m about to be confusing and hard to follow). Essentially, it’s about a young prince, Pippin (played by Matthew James Thomas), who is searching for purpose or meaning in his assumedly dull life. On the quest, he tries many ways of life that he believes may make his life more meaningful- these include joining the army and fighting in war, attempting political activism, trying life as King, sexual escapades (yes you read that right), and ordinary life. The kicker is that Pippin’s story takes place within a circus. Acrobats, players, and dancers play several roles, including objects that fit into Pippin’s story. There is no fourth wall- it is broken immediately.
I’m not one to sit down and write a straight-up review of a musical, so for the sake of my blog post I will take a paragraph to point out my favorite parts.
The leading player, played by Tony Award winner Patina Miller, was phenomenal (and, well, having won the Tony, I was expecting this). Her voice is without a doubt a powerhouse voice, something I learned early on thanks to my Sister Act soundtrack. She also took on several stunts and acrobatics that, as a trained actor, not a stuntwoman, really impressed. Pippin himself, Matthew James Thomas, may take over as my new Broadway crush (sorry, Aaron Tveit). Though he had some low energy in the first act (which was without a doubt rectified and forgotten about by Act II), his rendition of ‘Corner of the Sky’ was incredible. His Act II performance was my favorite- he upped his energy immensely and continued to bring laughs and sympathy to his somewhat spoiled but overall relatable and vulnerable character. Lastly, I’m giving a big shout out to Rachel Bay Jones, who played Pippin’s love interest, Catherine. Am eleventh-hour addition to the show (her first line doesn’t come until Act II), she is without a doubt the source of Pippin’s biggest laughs. I absolutely loved her performance, and would one day sit through an entire Rachel Bay Jones one-woman show because she was hilarious. Of course, Broadway veterans Terrence Mann, Charlotte d’Amboise, and Andrea Martin impressed, as well.
Moving on from Pippin’s magic to mine, another week has passed and so much has continued to happen. This week with Broadway.com (which, looking back now, was pretty Pippin-filled itself) was another successful one. I pitched an idea for The Broadway.com Show, landing me a spot in the weekly broadcast yet again (a Patina Miller tweet for Tweet of the Week– going along with the Pippin theme). I was also able to shadow a reporter at the Barnes and Noble CD signing promoting the physical release of the Pippin cast album, where the stars performed for eager fans at a Barnes and Noble. Going back to the Tony Award tidbit- the production team brought the Best Revival of a Musical Tony for fans to see in-person during the promotional event. For all you non-theatre people, imagine standing next to a real-life Oscar. As much I wanted to touch it (just a tap- how many people can say they’ve touched a Tony Award?!), I refrained.
After another eventful week in NYC, I was happy to cross Pippin off of my Broadway bucket list (along with Nice Work if You Can Get It, Cinderella, and Annie). I currently have tickets for Kinky Boots (!!!) in two weeks, and am trying to add First Date, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (was surprised I found interest in this one- their performance at Broadway in Bryant Park had me hooked) to the list. I only have a little over three weeks left (wow), so Broadway here I (continue to) come!
*I apologize for the extreme lack of video blogs that I promised- carrying a camera around my internship isn’t exactly feasible- but I will post videos from events I’ve helped cover! Check out my Broadway softball package HERE, and expect a recap of all news-y videos I’ve done this summer in a few weeks.