Goose bumps covered my body from head to toe the instant the curtains pulled back to reveal Sasha Allen and her gallant voice. The tone was set authentically for the whole show as she engaged the audience through her opening “Magic to Do” and her sweet countenance.
Like any big-budget, big theatrical effects show, the rest of that opening song brought energy and an element of shock through breath-taking aerial and tumbling skills. But what Pippin’ successfully achieved next and for the whole duration of the show was a surprisingly intimate story plot through the costumes and variety of characters.
Matthew James Thomas (Pippin)’s “Corner of the Sky” is one of my favorite songs as he expresses his desire to do something great in the world. People in the Bay Area particularly will feel correlation to this theme strung throughout Pippin’s whole journey in the show. We watch Pippin develop and fail, and then rise above his obstacles because Thomas exceled at communicating through his character’s bashful smile and adorable sweater.
From someone who is 10 times more likely to be caught in spandex than jeans as a student-athlete, I was envious of these tantalizing costumes the players wore. The way the lights saturated the each one of the players already beautiful bodies, made it difficult to take my eyes off of them. As amazing as the leads of this show were, the ensemble really made this show sparkle through their crisp dancing seen in “War is Science.”
John Rubinstein who played Pippin in 1972 and is now playing Charles says
“Pippin is sort of me as a young man because I lived the part for so long; we are kindred souls.” This is an insightful way to look at the journey, but also, I feel the same way (obviously having not played the role of Pippin) but definitely felt related to that character as I’m on this journey of college.
For that reason and 13×65 more reasons there are, I encourage my UC Berkeley and Bay Area peers to see this show. You’ll see beyond amazing acrobatic skills to the fabulous Lucie Arnaz as grandma on a trapeze to a raw Kristine Reese as Catherine pondering life decisions through love (as many of us do)
photo courtesy of Broadway in Atlanta: http://atlanta.broadway.com/shows/pippin-baa/photos/