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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Pippin: A Simple Joy at the Laurel Mill Playhouse

By • May 27th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Pippin performed at the Laurel Mill Playhouse [MP3 5:12 1.5MB].

Laura: Tonight we saw Pippin performed at the Laurel Mill Playhouse in Laurel, Maryland.

Mike: Pippin is a musical comedy, telling the story of one of the sons of Charlemagne. The son, Pippin is a little dissatisfied with life and decides there’s got to be a reason for living. A goal that will allow him to do extraordinary things and to be happy all the time. The show revolves around his exploration into different ways to stay happy.

Laura: It was a really good show. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Mike: I agree, I really enjoyed this show also. I’ve heard the sound track, but I’ve never seen it before. So I didn’t quite know what to expect. The Laurel Mill Playhouse did a great job with this show.

Laura: I thought everyone performed really well. The singing and the dancing were very well done.

Mike: The magic tricks came across really well in the opening song.

Laura: The two main characters in Pippin were The Leading Player and Pippin. They both did a great job as did everybody else in the show. The Leading Player was played by Shayna Blass. She had a really good singing voice and I really enjoyed her dancing. She had some really great dance numbers. She was on stage for a good portion of the time. She stayed in character the entire time and reacted to what was going on around her.

Mike: The basic story we know is Pippin and his quest for meaning in life. The way it was presented after listening to the sound track I wasn’t sure what to expect. When you start the show, it is a troupe of actors and performers are going to put a show on for you. They’re doing magic tricks. They are actually breaking the fourth wall by interacting with the audience. At certain parts of the show they interact with the director and the lighting director. It worked really well because I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t think it would be a fairy tale with everyone living happily ever after. I didn’t know if it would be a sad ending or a happy ending. That was nice to be surprised by a show.

Laura: Pippin was played by Tim Grieb. He did a really terrific job. He stayed in character the whole time. He reacted to situations around him. He really put his heart and soul into it and drew the audience into it. You could feel his displeasure with war and all of the sorrow that goes into that. And then his frustration over not being able to find something that will make him happy and long lasting in life. I really enjoyed his singing voice also.

Mike: I think one reason this show resonated with us is everybody has had those feelings of, “what’s my purpose in life?” which is what this boils down to. “Where am I going to find meaning in my life?” To a point that is a personal decision. Different people will find pleasure and happiness in different things. The quest he was on, we are all on.

Laura: I liked the set. it was a simple set. They brought on and took off their props. The only thing they had hanging was on the side were some top hats for some of the dance numbers. It all flowed really well together. There wasn’t a break in the momentum. Stuff was happening while they were bringing on other props for the next scene.

Mike: At the back of the stage there was a screen hanging and they displayed different scenery with an overhead projector. It was actually pretty effective. It could have been cheesy. However they weren’t just photographs, they were artfully touched up. That helped with the surrealism. This was our first time visiting The Laurel Mill Playhouse in historic Laurel, Maryland. When we got there it was a storefront on Main Street in downtown historic Laurel. So when you go in there’s a person taking tickets and you’re there. There’s one room that was a hollowed out storefront.

Laura: When you walked in you were right there which created a very intimate setting, which was a good thing. The people taking and selling tickets were very friendly.

Mike: Another professional touch was the playbill. It was really nicely printed. It was on nice paper. It was professionally printed not just photocopied and stapled together. That’s a good touch. For a smaller playhouse they did a great job in all of this. If you’ve got time I recommend you go see this show, Pippin, it’s playing through June 10th in Laurel Maryland at the Laurel Mill Playhouse.

Laura: You can listen to the soundtrack of the 1970 Broadway version of Pippin on our website: ShowBizRadio.net.

Mike: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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