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Pippin

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Pippin
Pippinalbum

Music: Stephen Schwartz
Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz
Book: Roger O. Hirson
Opened: Oct 23, 1972
At: Imperial Theater
Starring: John Rubinstein and Ben Vereen
Awards: 1973 Tony Awards

  • Best Actor in a Musical (Ben Vereen)
  • Best Choreography (Bob Fosse)
  • Best Direction (Bob Fosse)


Pippin follows the son of Charlemagne (who is leader of the Holy Roman Empire) as he struggles to find meaning in his life. The original Broadway production combined suggestions of medieval times in sets and costumes with the themes of sexual experimentation and political upheaval present in the American 1970s. The show was originally choreographed and directed by the inimitable Bob Fosse, who also heavily edited composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz's somewhat saccharine themes.

SynopsisEdit

The Leading Player and Players set the stage for a unique dramatic event, introducing Pippin to the audience ("Magic To Do"). Pippin has just returned home from University, and wants to find meaning in his life ("Corner of the Sky," "Welcome Home"). Guided by the Leading Player, Pippin tries war, fighting alongside Charles and Lewis ("War is a Science," "Glory"). Pippin then asks Berthe, his grandmother, for advice, and she suggests sexual experimentation ("Simple Joys," "No Time At All," "With You"). Meanwhile, Fastrada, Pippin's conniving stepmother, concocts a plan to get her son Lewis closer to the throne than Pippin ("Spread A Little Sunshine"). Pippin falls into her trap, killing Charles and attempting to rule the empire ("Morning Glow"). The Leading Player resuscitates Charles when Pippin asks, and Pippin continues searching ("On The Right Track"). Finally, he meets a woman named Catherine who has a young son, Theo ("Kind of Woman"). Pippin uneasily settles into family life with Catherine ("Extraordinary"), although he is in love with her ("Love Song"). Pippin eventually leaves Catherine ("I Guess I'll Miss The Man") and returns to the Leading Player. Finally, the Leading Player and the Players attempt to convince Pippin to go up in flame ("Finale") as a final statement about his life.

Schwartz originally intended the show to end with Pippin happily marrying Catherine. However, the more cynical Fosse wanted Pippin to commit suicide. During revisions, as Fosse deepened the role of the Leading Player, the two men settled, somewhat, on the ending as it was originally performed. In publication of the script, the final scene is slightly more optimistic than in the Fosse-directed original.

Pippin is typically performed as a one-act show; however, some productions break for intermission after "Morning Glow." Other productions have set intermission after "On the Right Track," separating Pippin's royal issues from his romantic issues, starting Act II with Catherine's entrance.

ProductionsEdit

Original Broadway CastEdit

Original Broadway Cast of 2013 RevivalEdit

  • Pippin: Mathew James Thomas
  • Leading Player: Patina Miller
  • Catherine: Rachel Bay Jones
  • Fastrada: Charlotte d'Amboise
  • Charles: Terrance Mann
  • Berthe: Andrea Martin
  • Lewis: Erik Altemus
  • Theo: Andrew Cekala and Ashton Woerz (The two alternated the role)

Song ListEdit

  • Magic to Do -- Leading Player and Players
  • Corner of the Sky -- Pippin
  • Welcome Home -- Charles and Pippin
  • War Is a Science -- Charles and Pippin
  • Glory -- Leading Player
  • Simple Joys -- Leading Player
  • No Time at All -- Berthe and The Boys
  • With You -- Pippin and The Girls
  • Spread a Little Sunshine -- Fastrada
  • Morning Glow -- Pippin
  • On the Right Track -- Leading Player and Pippin
  • Kind of Woman -- Catherine and The Girls
  • Extraordinary -- Pippin
  • Love Song -- Pippin and Catherine
  • I Guess I'll Miss The Man -- Catherine
  • Finale -- The Players and Pippin

Character ListEdit

Pippin (tenor)
Pippin is an idealistic and inexperienced youth in his early twenties, searching for meaning in his life.
Leading Player (tenor)
The Leading Player is the narrator of the show, featured singing and dancing in nearly every scene. The Leading player has a nearly malevolent intensity and sparkling charisma.
Catherine (mezzo)
Catherine is Pippin's love interest, a young widow with a small son.
Fastrada (mezzo)
Fastrada is Pippin's somewhat evil stepmother, and gets her way by being sexy and vixenish.
Charles (baritone)
Charles is an older man, king of the Holy Roman Empire, who enjoys battle and tradition.
Berthe (alto)
Berthe is Pippin's grandmother (Charles' mother), and she is an older woman with a flirtatious taste for young men.
Lewis (chorus)
Lewis is Pippin's moderately dumb half-brother (Fastrada's son), who is self-obsessed and a good warrior. Lewis has no solo songs, but rather is a featured member of the chorus.

Theo (chorus)

Theo is Catherine's son who befriends Pippin and loves his pet duck

Amateur ProductionsEdit

This is a place to list community, high school, semi-professional, etc. productions, along with the dates.

St. Agnes Summer Musicals Presents Pippin! August 9, 10, 11 @ 7 pm. Parker Middle School 45 Temple St. Reading, MA 01867
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