I have always thought of musicals as not quite my cup of tea; Pippin, however, bucks this trend. This production is the tale of Prince Pippin (played by Brian Flores) and his search for fulfillment. His family is set in their ways, but Pippin, a recent college graduate, is clueless on what he should be doing in this life — a story that many of us can relate to. For two hours, the audience joins the unsated prince in his crusade to achieve true happiness in this amusing adventure.
But what makes this play truly special is the fact that it is a show within a show. The setting is actually a traveling circus led by the bustling ringmaster. The Leading Player (played by Gabrielle McClinton) and her troupe of players will take you on this glorious journey filled with song, dance, magic, and incredible stunts. These players were the highlight of my theatregoing experience; besides their dancing and singing, they provide some of the most incredible action of the play through acrobatics and magic tricks. You’ll see some incredible feats of the human body sprinkled throughout the play that will truly captivate your attention. One of the players, in particular, stands out (literally and figuratively); this giant man stands, at least, a head above everyone else on stage (he may even be twice as tall as some of the other cast) and anchors many of the acrobatics stunts. This one cast member alone may be worth the price of admission, but Pippin provides much more excitement.
There are bits of delightful entertainment strewn throughout Pippin. One of the best parts of this show is the music and dance numbers; two of the songs in particular, “War is a Science” and “Extraordinary” really stood out to me. Early on, “War is a Science” provides some of the funniest moments of the whole show and showcases Pippin’s silliness as a character. The backdrop for this song is King Charles (played by John Rubinstein, who coincidentally played Pippin in the original 1972 version) and his army marching and preparing in an orderly fashion while Pippin’s charges off in an exuberant, yet ill-considered manner. My second favorite song, “Extraordinary”, showed Pippin living a life that was anything but. You’ll see Pippin step out of his comfort zone and hear a few clucking “chickens.”
Another notable element of Pippin is its tendency to break the fourth wall. Throughout the play characters will run off stage towards the audience and a few of them may even appear in seats. There is also a sing-along section which had everyone around me gleefully singing with one of the show’s most enjoyable characters (Berthe played by Sabrina Harper). The breaking of the fourth wall leads to some truly remarkable moments, but none better than the production’s finale.
All in all, Pippin was a joyous experience that you should not miss. You’ll laugh, be enthralled by the acrobatics, be stunned by the costumes, and have a wonderful time. For more information about the Broadway Sacramento production check out the Sacramento365.com listing here.
Note: I would consider leaving the kids at home because Pippin has a couple moments that some parents might find inappropriate for young ones. I would recommend this show for ages 13 and older.
***This post was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content Specialist, Dylan Fisher.