This production is definitely the best version of Pippin I’ve ever seen. It may be the BEST SHOW I HAVE EVER SEEN.
American Reparatory Theater describes their production as: “A bold new staging of the dark and existential musical you thought you knew. Pippin, on a death-defying journey to find his “corner of the sky,” must choose between a life that’s ordinary or a flash of singular glory.” This short synopsis definitely proved accurate.
The cast of this production was absolutely incredible. Pippin was played by Matthew James Thomas, who also played Peter Parker in the opening of Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. King Charles was played by the one and only Chris Mann from many Tony Award winning productions. Andrea Martin played Berthe from multiple Tony Award winning productions as well. Bottom line, the cast was comprised of all stars. Seeing that ART’s productions (especially recently) have a knack for transferring to Broadway and winning Tony Awards, one can expect this production of Pippin to transfer to New York soon. The production was definitely well received by all audience members.
The set was thought out really well for this performance in the space that they had. The entire show took place under a circus tent, which worked really really well. Different scenes were created on the canvas that is the circus tent. The ensemble members broke the fourth wall, especially the first scene in Act II. There were small circus shows happening in the audience that really engaged audience members. Engaging audience members was a theme throughout the show. The “narrator” or “leading player” as notated in the program, often spoke directly to the audience. Signs were shown to the audience to show what was happening. There was a great sense that we were in a theater seeing a production, or in a circus tent that is. Let me say that Bertolt Brecht would be proud.
Pippin was amazing, and I am still in awe of the quality of the production. If you have the chance and you’re in the Boston Area, DEFINITELY check it out. See the show that will win the Tony “Best Musical Revival” before it even makes it to Broadway. Tickets are available here: http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/pippin