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"Pippin"

lawless523 had a post about Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell (and Jethro Tull's Aqualung). Godspell was composed by Stephen Schwartz, who also did Pippin.

Pippin has always been one of my favorite shows. I'm not under any illusions that it's a classic of the American Broadway Musical genre, but the loopily sinister hippy-carnival/medieval costumes (original designs by Patricia Zipprodt) and the pop-y songs with their loving nods to classic U.S. showbiz tropes, have always made me happy.

The plot is a trifle: Charlemagne's son Pippin attempts to find himself, trying out war, politics, romance, sex, and domestic life. None of them seem quite right, although the domestic situation with young, widowed mother Catherine (who is older than Pippin - something of a big deal when the show first came out) comes closest. Then the show's meta plot about theatre takes over: the sinister Leading PLayer suggests that Pippin burn himself alive and go out with a bang, since obviously actual life is too mundane. The show is at heart a romance, so you can guess the resolution.

Anyway, here are some videos and pictures:

The original logo for Pippin, with the letters made up of clownlike characters that reflect the mood of the show
The original, iconic logo for the show (can't find the artist's name)


"Magic to Do," the overture/opening number, starring Ben Vereen as the Leading Player. Choreography and direction are both by the legendary Bob Fosse.



Ben Vereen and chorus, showing costume details, during the number "Glory" which parodies the glorification of war and its excesses. This link goes to Youtube - a later version of the song, with Vereen reprising his role.



Irene Ryan - best known as "Granny" in the situation comedy "The Beverly Hillbillies" - as Pippin's grandmother Berthe. A number of other women played the role, but she was the first and most iconic. Here is a recording of her on Youtube - not the original one, but at least it's here. The images are, unfortunately, a montage of scenes from "Hillbillies."


Also: Complete version of the show on Youtube. \o/


Only peripherally related: award-winning actress/dancer Ann Reinking, who was in a relationship with Fosse, was in the chorus of Pippin. She later co-starred in the semi-autobiographical Fosse flick All That Jazz. Here's my favorite bit, where she dances with her lover's young daughter, herself a dance student:

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
oracle_dreams
Mar. 31st, 2013 02:03 am (UTC)
I know crap about musicals... but YUMI icon!!!! <3
chomiji
Mar. 31st, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)

There's this one, too! I love him and Ikkaku together.

elsane
Mar. 31st, 2013 04:26 am (UTC)
my goodness, that man can dance.
lawless523
Mar. 31st, 2013 01:29 pm (UTC)
Seconding the comment about Ben Vereen's dancing. His voice sounds a lot better in that clip from the 1981 Canadian production than it does in "Magic to Do," though. I had an opportunity to see him in a touring production of Pippin and missed it, which I've always regretted.

Pippin's most famous number, "Corner of the Sky," was covered by the Jackson 5, and Michael Jackson covered some of the other songs.

I remember that John Rubinstein made his Broadway, if not acting, debut as Pippin, but I'd forgotten (or never known) that Fosse directed and choreographed Pippin. ART is taking its regional revival to Broadway (it may already have opened, now that I think about it); maybe I'll catch it there.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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