Theatre Thursdays: Pippin Broadway Revival

Stephen Schwartz’s 1972 musical Pippin returns to Broadway for the first time since closing in 1977. This show is pretty popular but I have never seen it and know almost nothing about it. I know the famous song “Corner of the Sky”.

And I know that Bob Fosse choreographed the original production, but beyond that I have almost no experience with this musical. As such, I’m excited that there is a revival currently running because it gives me an opportunity to see and hear more about the show. I’m already inclined to like it because I’ve yet to hear a work of Stephen Schwartz (the man behind GodspellWicked, and the Disney films The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pocahontas) that I haven’t liked, so I don’t feel like I’m in danger of disliking the score. As for this particular production, there are also some specific things which excite me.

First: Patina Miller as Leading Player. This role was originally played by Ben Vereen and is traditionally a male role, so it will be very unique to see a woman in that role (I mean, for people who know the show. Everything’s brand new to me anyway.) and how it will work out. Patina herself is extremely talented, so even without the fact that her casting is breaking the gender norm it would be exciting anyway. She has this spark that she brings when she performs. I don’t know how to describe it but there’s so much joy and vitality in her singing and acting.

Ben Vereen and Patina Miller. Photo credit: broadway.com

Ben Vereen and Patina Miller. Photo credit: broadway.com

Second: the circus inspiration. I believe the original setting of the show focused on a troupe of theatre performers so adjusting that to a circus act is an interesting choice and one which looks very promising to me. The spectacle of circus performing will add a really interesting layer to this very stylized show. Bob Fosse choreography (which is still inspiring the choreography in this new production) is very unique and in some ways whimsical and I think it will play very well in a circus show.

The good news is that the show is getting very good buzz. It’s still in previews so there’s no critical response yet, but word of mouth has been pretty positive about both cast and direction, so things are looking good for this revival!