The students of Theatre Arts at Trinity University bring magic to San Antonio with their presentation of the Broadway musical – PIPPIN. Tony-nominated choreographer for Broadway's PIPPIN, Chet Walker, will be the director/choreographer for this entertaining production. While it is not a musical for the entire family (not appropriate for young children), it is a story about Pippin's own identity crisis. As Que Means What readers, you know I've been there.
The Story Line and Message
Once upon a time, a young prince longed to discover the secret of true happiness and fulfillment. He sought it in the glories of the battlefield, the temptations of the flesh and the intrigues of political power. Pippin is a hip, tongue-in-cheek, anachronistic fairy tale that is currently captivating audiences on Broadway as the 2013 Tony Awarded Best Musical Revival. (Trinity University)
Like most any young adult, Pippin believes that his life simply cannot consist of being so very ordinary. Why would he believe anything different when everyone (The Players) around him is telling him that he will find something completely fulfilling and he is not here to waste life in a common place. The Lead Player even speaks directly to the audience and says we will experience a "climax to remember for the rest of our lives."
After almost destroying his royal family searching for this extraordinary life in battle and war, Pippin moves on to look for it in women and sex, and when that doesn't fulfill him, he ends up in a very simple and ordinary life. Again, Pippin tries to escape but this is where he has an opportunity to experience the extraordinary in the ordinary. Will he? Or will he run again for that bit of magic?
Even though PIPPIN was originally produced in 1972, the message is relevant for today and not just for young adults but for anyone who seems to be seeking that 'something else'.
The Cast and Production
The cast over all does an amazing job. Trinity University theatre students absolutely rival professional performers. There is one performer who impresses me the most – Alejandro Cardona (Leading Player). The Leading Player is played by Ben Vereen in the original production and this role is not easy to execute convincingly.
Cardona opens the show with "Magic To Do" and immediately has your attention and keeps it throughout the production with his dance talent and voice. It is in "Glory" where Cardona really shines. At any production that I attend, I pay attention to how the audience responds to who is on stage. This audience was captivated by Cardona and his execution of Bob Fosse's original choreography.
Bob Fosse was a legendary Broadway choreographer and director (original Director/Choreographer of Pippin) who won numerous awards for Broadway shows and movies such as CHICAGO, ALL THAT JAZZ, SWEET CHARITY and CABARET. His choreography influence continued on to one of Michael Jackson's, the King of Pop, most famous dance numbers and even in today's artists viral hits like Beyonce's "Single Ladies." Fosse's style is still everywhere today.
Chet Walker (Director/Choreographer) was mentored by Bob Fosse and performed under Fosse as dance captain in SWEET CHARITY. As part of Trinity's Stieren Arts Enrichment Series, Walker agreed to spend several weeks at Trinity University directing and choreographing this production of PIPPIN. That was a real treat and honor for all the students to learn from Walker, a Tony-nominated choreographer. It was also a real treat for the audience to experience this high caliber of Broadway choreography right here in San Antonio. Read Chet Walker's interview with Arts Writer Deborah Martin for more about his experience in San Antonio.
If you are not impressed with the Broadway Director and Choreographer directing this production in San Antonio, you should be impressed with some of the surprises in PIPPIN. I have to mention the "Spread a Little Sunshine" performance by Alyx Irene Gonzalez (Fastrada) in which she delivers a breath-taking acrobatic performance. The audience literally gasped at some of her moves in the air. It is amazing! She's not the only surprise. PIPPIN is an excellent production.
Chet Walker, Director/Choreographer
Jenn Rapp, Associate Director/Choreographer
James Worman, Music Direction
Zachary Ridgway, Rehearsal Accompanist
Jonathon Moore, Pippin
Alejandro Cardona, Leading Player
Kevin Culver, Charles
James Dykman, James
Alyx Irene Gonzalez, Fastrada
Amy Rossini, Berthe
Sarah Perkins, Catherine
The last performance is Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 8pm at Trinity University's Jane and Arther Stieren Theater. For tickets call the box office at (210) 999-8515. Ticket Prices are Regular: $10.00; Seniors/Faculty/Alumni: $8.00; Students: $6.00.
The next performance by Trinity University's Theatre Arts is CRIMES OF THE HEART – February 14-16 and 19-22, 2014.
Photos courtesy of Trinity University.