The circus is coming to town but it’s not your average Ringling Bros. Oh, no. Diane Paulus’ reimagined revival of “Pippin” is taking flight with the help of Gypsy Snider and Les 7 doigts de la main, a Montreal-based circus troupe. (Remember our post from a few week’s back, “Berlin’s Bedroom?” Same creative team!)
“Pippin,” which snagged four Tony awards for its original 1973 production starring Ben Vereen as the Leading Player, returns to Broadway this April after an initial run at American Repertory Theatre that left audiences spellbound, both by its theatrics and its deep emotional connection. Paulus says she knows Stephen Schwartz’s score inside and out. That familiarity has opened the door for this new interpretation that still pays homage to Bob Fosse’s original work with choreography by Chet Walker.
“Pippin” tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. The score includes high school talent show favorites “Magic to Do” and “Corner of the Sky.” Guiding the action is the Leading Player, a role that snagged Ben Vereen a Tony award for Best Actor in a Musical. This time around, the role will most likely be played by a woman — Patina Miller — who originated the role of Deloris van Cartier in the West End and Broadway productions of “Sister Act.” While most reviewers were kept at bay, Broadwayworld.com said of of her performance, “the sultry vocal powerhouse Patina Miller takes her slithery song and dance talents even further to create a taunting, tantalizing spiritual guide.”
Casting has yet to be confirmed, but if the creative team sticks with the principal performers from the A.R.T. production, we’ll be also be seeing Matthew James Thomas (Pippin), Charlotte d’Amboise (Fastrada), Terrence Mann (King Charles), and Andrea Martin (Berthe) back on Broadway this spring.
Our Broadway Blog prediction: this will be the hot ticket of the 2012-13 season.
Follow “Pippin”‘s journey to broadway at www.pippinthemusical.com.