Thursday, October 27, 2016

review - PIPPIN - Greasepaint Youth Theatre

Johnna Watson, Hayden Skaggs, Liam Thibeault and Nathan Sheppard
photo: Laura Durant
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 30th.

"...Pippin...tells the simple and often-told tale of someone searching for their place in life. Schwartz's score includes many memorable tunes, and Greasepaint Youth Theatre's production features an exceptional group of talented youth actors that bring plenty of magic to the show. ...The plot ... tells the tale of naive young prince Pippin who has just returned home after getting his education. ...not sure how he can prove himself, believes that going to battle will do just that, and so begins the first of many quests for Pippin to find his way in life. ...Pippin still believes he is simply an "extra ordinary" man with an unfulfilled life. It is an interesting story about a young man on the search for his purpose in life—a life in which living in a castle and being wealthy may not be what is best, with Pippin instead preferring a life of modesty and "simple joys." While the plot is intriguing, the book by Roger O. Hirson leaves a little to be desired. It bogs down a bit in the second act and has an ending that, while interesting, still feels a bit unfinished, especially in how the Leading Player keeps promising us a spectacular ending that isn't really that spectacular. Fortunately, the pop-rock score by Stephen Schwartz is wonderful, with several showstoppers including "Corner of the Sky," "Simple Joys," and "Morning Glow." Nathan Sheppard makes an exceptional Pippin who is full of charm, awkwardness, and a sweet naiveté. ...Sheppard's pure, strong voice excels on Pippin's many songs. Shawn Wong is equally good as the playful and taunting Leading Player. The cast also includes Liam Thibeault and Johnna Watson as Charlemagne and Fastrada. Both are very good, with Thibeault instilling a regal and forceful tone to the fun King and Watson a joy as his conniving second wife. ...All of the cast have exceptional singing voices which show off both the depth and wit in Schwartz's lyrics.Director Beth Reynolds does a very good job of keeping the pace moving steadily forward and she uses the large ensemble cast quite effectively. Choreographer April Rozier's energetic steps are basic enough for the ensemble to navigate, and she includes specialized dances for the more talented dancers, with Ally Chisenski and Hallie Reggio delivering some exceptional Fosse moves....Pippin isn't a perfect show, but it does have an excellent score by Schwartz that helps flesh out this musical into an upbeat and thrilling story of self-discovery. With a talented cast featuring some of the Valley's most gifted young actors, Greasepaint Youth Theatre's production is a joyful experience with many magical and memorable moments."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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