Monday, August 3, 2015

Review of Pippin (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Pippin. The book was by Roger O. Hirson and the music and lyrics were by Stephen Schwartz. It was directed by Diane Paulus. The music supervision was by Nadia DiGiallonardo. Gypsy Snider did the circus creation. Chet Walker was the choreographer, in the style of Bob Fosse. It was about a man named Pippin (Sam Lips) who was the son of a king named Charlemagne (John Rubinstein). He wanted to be a soldier so that he could be a good king, but he wasn't very good at that so he tried to find out what kind of person he was and what he wanted to do. He encounters a bunch of obstacles along the way and he finally finds who he really is. I thought this was a very fun show, I had heard so many good things about it and it exceeded my expectations.

I thought all the circus acts were amazing. That is something that is really special about this show. One of the scariest acts I felt like was the rolla bolla. Dmitrious Bistrevsky stood up on top of these metal tubes and a wooden board and he balanced on them. It was scary because it was lots of metal tubes on top of a platform and he was standing on them and they are moving and they seemed really slicked up so he could just fall when they are moving. It was so scary and terrifying, but it was all okay in the end because he made it and he got up there and he balanced. I also thought that when the curtain dropped at the very beginning of the show and all the players (Andalousi, Bradley Benjamin, Bistrevsky, Kevin Langlois Boucher, Mathew deGuzman, Sammy Dinneen, Anna Kachalova, Lisa Karlin, Olga Karmansky, Alan Kelly, Anna Schnaitter, Kate Smith, and Borris York) were just there doing amazing things, like balancing on a ball or a person while doing a handstand or a headstand. And there was also another crazy circus stunt where the Leading Player (Sasha Allen) held up a hoop and another person had to run from backstage and do a backflip through it and it was so cool and scary. I loved it when they went up into the air and did the splits on the silks. I love to hula hoop so much and I think I'm pretty good at it, but I want to be able to do the stuff they do in this show which is to spin the hoop on their leg up by their heads!

I thought that Fastrada (Sabrina Harper) was a great character. It was funny how she was like, "I'm just an ordinary mother and housewife," when she was practically nude and having her son Lewis (Erik Altemus) crawl up her leg. She was an amazing singer and dancer and actress. She was very sassy. You didn't hate her even though she was like the villain because she was so funny and would say her mind. But she also was a spoiled brat. She was kind of like Veruca Salt--you hate her so much but you love her. The thing I found really amazing is that she did a quick-change where she walked behind a small panel of wood and then three seconds later she was wearing this long, red, Jessica-Rabbitesque dress. But then, a little bit after that, that just rips off and she basically has on this see-through outfit with diamonds to cover up the parts that a 10-year-old doesn't want to see! I thought the quick changes were so cool and amazing. I thought her son was also very funny. He was very good at fighting but he was very very dumb. He was just insanely dimwitted and all he wanted to do was be king, but I'm so glad he didn't become king right away because I'd feel sorry for that country because he was just going to mess it up. He would be like a mix of Millard Fillmore and Jack Kennedy because all the ladies liked him but he was very bad at governing.

I thought that the grandma, Berthe (Adrienne Barbeau) was really amazing. The stuff that she did on the trapeze was just amazing, which you might not expect from a character of that age. I thought that was crazy awesome. I loved her song, "No Time at All" because it was really fun and she let the entire audience sing along and it was really cool. It was about how you should do what you want while you still have the time. The song was really catchy and I still have all the lyrics in my head! I wish there had been more of her throughout the entire show.

Catherine (Kristine Reese) was Pippin's girlfriend because he decided he didn't want to be king anymore and he just wanted to have a normal life. The Leading Player is not too happy about that. But then he realizes he doesn't want to have a normal life; he wants to be adventurous. But then he goes back to wanting a family. Just choose what you want, Pippin! When he wants to be adventurous he sings a song called "Extraordinary," and there was this rooster (York) who did this hilarious thing, which he did just in the middle of sentences or whenever there was a pause, where he would just be like bu-caaaaw. I thought that was really really hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing whenever he did it. I didn't even really know why it was so funny; it just was. Every time he did it I just laughed! Another really funny part was when Theo (Stephen Sayegh when I saw it, Jake Berman on other nights), who is the child of Catherine, his duck dies. Well, that is sad, but the funny part is that Pippin is always trying to cheer him up. And he gives him a dog, and Theo says "That's not a duck, dumbass!" and runs off. And you can see the adults are trying not to laugh. But what I have to say is that that dog was so adorable! The dog is better than the duck and cuter too, sorry to say to all you duck-lovers out there. But don't worry; I also like me some cute ducks.

People who would like this show are people who like circus, flexible grandmas, and hilarious roosters. I think people should definitely go see this show because it was funny, fun, and the entire atmosphere was exciting. It was very welcoming but then you got to see the dark side of the players, too, and I thought that was so cool. I really loved it!

Photos: Terry Shapiro, Sara Hanna Photography

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