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Prince William Little Theatre Pippin

By • Feb 16th, 2009 • Category: Pippin, Reviews
Pippin
Prince William Little Theatre
Stonewall Jackson High School, Manassas, VA
$15/$12 Seniors and Students/$6 Child
Playing through February 22nd
Reviewed February13, 2009

Prince William Little Theatre has staged a fun production of the 1970s hit musical, Pippin. Awash with the hippie movement’s free love, anti-establishment vibe, the story revolves around Pippin, a prince in search of his “corner of the sky.” Alternating between medieval fantasy and reality, Pippin meets many colorful characters on his journey.

It’s a dance heavy show, and director/choreographer Adrienne Showker does a fantastic job with the choreography. The ensemble as a whole handles the intricate synchronized moves with varying degrees of success, but Showker does showcase the appropriate talents where needed. Her “orgy” scene, in particular, is incredibly beautiful and graceful, and soloist Melanie Gibson really shines.

Pippin is played with awkward charm and clear vocals by Joshua Daniels. His real life wife, Valerie Chamness, plays his young stepmother Fastrada with a lovely soprano and a wicked edge of fun. Pippin’s love interest, Catherine, is well acted by Meredith Ford. Catherine’s son, Theo, is played by the adorable Sam Elston, who is very expressive and has presence even at the age of 10. Drew Prendergast also made his cameo roles memorable. There was a lack in outrageousness in a few of the other characters…this isn’t a show for subtlety.

There were some opening night lighting issues that will no doubt be resolved during the rest of the run, which will be welcome as the lighting concept (Tim Kirk) is thoughtful and creative.

The Players were all working hard, but need to remember that the audience is always watching them and that their faces must stay engaged. Some of the ensemble singing wasn’t as strong as it needed to be…perhaps in the large space it would be effective to have more overhead or floor microphones in place to pick up the sound.

The huge auditorium may have hindered efficient blocking. There were dead spaces when cast members traveled from one area of the set to the other which let the intensity of the scenes stagnate.

The gorgeous set pieces were painted by ensemble performer and artist Nancy Daugherty. It’s a true shame that Daugherty wasn’t in a more featured role; her strong voice and animated face stand out in every scene.

Costumes by Susan Noe and Sandy Malinowski were bright, imaginative, and perfect for the show. The orchestra capably played the demanding score. Props (Zina Bleck) were bright and magical. Kudos to the running crew, who must have had their hands full with rapid fire costume changes.

Pippin is a tough show, requiring a mixture of rock and musical theatre style vocals, great dancing, and magic. This production doesn’t display all of its strengths, but it makes for a satisfying evening at the theatre.

Cast

  • Pippin: Josh Daniels
  • Leading Player: Lanny Henzell
  • Charlemange: Mike Sterling
  • Fastrada: Valerie Chamness
  • Catherine: Meredith Ford
  • Lewis: Kris Griffith
  • Berthe: Susy Moorstein
  • Theo: Alex Risko, Sam Elston
  • Players: Valerie Chamness, c, Meredith Ford, Steven Field, Melanie Gibson, Kris Griffith, Jake Higginbottom, Susy Moorstein, Amy Baillargeon Paul, Drew Prendergast, Sarah Scott, mike Stirling, Sam Elston, Alex Risko, Cana J. Wade

Crew

  • Director: Adrienne Showker
  • Producer: Janel Manning
  • Stage Manager: Michael Clark
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Laura Clark
  • Choreography: Adrienne Showker
  • Music Director: Milton Rodgers
  • Backstage Assistants: Katherine Blondin, Katie Finnie, Ben Risko
  • House managers: Don Petersen, Becky Farris
  • Set Design: Nancy Daugherty, Adrienne, Showker, Dave Warner, Bob Shon
  • Master Carpenters: Dave Warner, Nancy Daugherty
  • Set Construction: Dave Warner, Nancy Daugherty, Bob Shon, Michael Clark, David Johney, Becky Farris, Cana Wade, Janel manning, Susy Moorstein, Laura Clark, Adrienne Showker
  • Set Decoration/Dressing: Adrienne Showker, Zina B leck, lauraClark, Michael Clark,
  • Properties: Zina Bleck, Adrienne Showker
  • Sound and Light Design: Tim Kirk
  • Special Effects: Lanny Hanzell, Bob Shon
  • Costumes: Susan Noe and Sandy Malinowski
  • Hair and Makeup: Cast
  • Program: Dave Warner
  • Load-in: Asa Manning, David Prendergast, Katie Finnie, Cast and Crew

Orchestra

  • Director: Milton Rodgers
  • Guitar: Bill Schillinger
  • Guitar: Drew Prendergast
  • Bass: Herb Tax
  • Drums: Marie Juliano
  • Percussion: Janel Manning
  • Woodwinds: Jessica Schwab
  • Reeds: Carolyn and Ken Farley
  • Trumpet: Dave Shuma
  • French Horn: Wendy Martin
  • French Horn: Al Badrow
  • Piano: Steve Scott
  • Keyboard: Meredyth Stirling
  • Violin: Betsy Hooper
  • Violin: Gail Sander
  • Viola: Leah Frederick
  • Cello: Dee Notto
  • Cello: Naoki Sugiura
  • Harp: Brian Stevenson
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