Oh wait, it’s just the musical Pippin, at the Orpheum Theater. Pippin is a spectacle that can’t be missed. In this show, the story of Pippin is told by a circus troop. These performers doing their individual circus acts within the medieval tale of a boy’s quest to find meaning in his life, create an engaging, surprising, and relatable show.
Pippin brings together circus and theater to create a non-stop experience. Combining different styles of performance arts is a rising trend that has been working for this show for decades. The fact that Pippin is a musical cannot be forgotten, the songs contribute greatly to this story, and have not only comical, but at times very moving lyrics, such as in Pippin’s (Sam Lips) opening song, “Corner of the Sky.” This song introduced to the audience the boy’s quest for self-fulfillment. Lips was pitchy at times, but for the most part did his role justice. There were however multiple cast members who stole the spotlight while on stage with Pippin. The leader of the circus troop (Sasha Allen) comes to mind, for her fierce presence, amazing vocals, and constantly expressive characterization. She was perfectly cast.
Berthe (Priscilla Lopez) takes a mentor role in Pippin. As the boy’s grandmother, Lopez sings the powerful song, “No Time at All,” breaking the fourth wall, with some audience participation, which brings another aspect of traditional circus into this show. The entire cast was so talented in so many ways, not only were they gifted actors, and singer, but they all had circus skills as well. Pippin is full of jaw-dropping tricks. This show captivates the audience, and fills the stage, while not crowding it.
Amazing lighting and colorful costumes keep the circus setting of Pippin constant. The set is largely made up of equipment for the circus acts. Keeping the main set fairly simple, and moveable was a good choice for this show. The backdrops were used to create a big top, which gets dismantled at the end. Pippin winds up being a very moving show, despite its larger-than-life and exciting surface.
The second act lost a bit of the circus flare and fell more to the side of theater. Although not typical theater, due to the fact that Pippin is a show within a show, the production really played around with that idea. The second act lost some power and dragged on a bit, but was still definitely worth seeing because the finale reveals this show’s multiple layers.
Pippin is non-stop entertainment, and the performers will impress you with their multiple talents. I find it very refreshing to see actors who really know how to move their bodies in unique ways. The combination of different performing arts is something you can’t help but appreciate in this show. I defiantly take interest in the idea that you can use multiple tactics to tell a story on stage. The boy Pippin’s life may be unique, but his desires are relatable and flushed out by lively circus acts that you won’t want to miss.