Review: Pippin

Drama Queen

Pippin 1946

I really enjoyed the circus acts that populate director Diane Paulus’s revival of Pippin. They did nothing, however, to make me reevaluate my lukewarm feeling toward the show as a whole.

Pippin is definitely an important show – it was the first American musical to successfully combine pop-rock with traditional musical comedy structure (the earlier Hair had a looser, more experimental format). And composer Stephen Schwartz’s score is exceptionally tuneful and memorable.

However, I just can’t get behind the show’s message that becoming part of a heterosexual nuclear family (albeit an adoptive one) is ultimately more satisfying than chasing big dreams. A very conservative message for a show that looks adventurous on the surface.

In Pippin, a mysterious group of performers tell the story of Charlemagne’s heir Pippin, spurring the performer playing him to find his “corner of the sky.” Paulus certainly did a terrific job of casting…

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