Dominion High School PippinBy Cappies • Feb 26th, 2012 • Category: Cappies
“Rivers belong where they can ramble, Eagles belong where they can fly. I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free. Got to find my corner of the sky.” It’s a lyric that many of those in theatre are familiar with, but can a modern high school identify with the themes of uncertainty and hope that have become synonymous with it? Perhaps one can, as demonstrated by Dominion High School’s production of Pippin.
Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin was originally written in 1972, inspired by (but not historically accurate in portraying) the life of Pippin the Hunchback. The show enjoyed great success on Broadway, running for nearly 2,000 performances (becoming one of the longest-running shows ever in the process), and is still considered today to be one of the most noteworthy musicals of the 1970s. The show itself is often considered to be “cute and harmless” by many, but if done correctly can come off as quite surreal.
The plot of the show centers on Pippin (Sam Allen), a young prince, and his quest to find his purpose in the world, venturing into territories such as war, sex, and religion in order to do so. Eventually he meets, and falls in love with, the widow Catherine (Kaitlyn Salazar). Additional characters include Pippin’s father King Charles (Cody Ferry), his conniving stepmother Fastrada (Taylor Allewelt), and his dim-witted stepbrother Lewis (James Allen). This plot is presented as a show that is being put on for the audience’s entertainment, which is overseen by the Lead Players (Melissa Caracciolo and Nikolle Holland) that was originally written as a single male role, but split into two female ones for this performance.
By far the most impressive vocalist of the cast was Sam Allen, who displayed incredible vocal talent in his performances of such songs as “Extraordinary” and “Corner of the Sky.” Additionally, Salazer showed great passion in her moving performance of “I Guess I’ll Miss the Man.” Another noteworthy cast member was Grace McKinley, who as Pippin’s grandmother Berthe led the audience in a joyful sing-along in “No Time at All.” All three were aided tremendously by the Dominion Pit Orchestra, which rarely missed a note throughout the length of the show.
The acting portion was dominated by Allewelt and James Allen, in their portrayals of two royal family members looking to get their hands on the throne. Allen displayed tremendous physicality as a battle-hungry idiot, and Allewelt managed to balance out the concepts of a loving wife and a scheming seductress quite well.
The show is meant to have an anachronistic feel to it, and both costumes and props helped convey this. The props in particular served their job quite well, even if the majority of them were used by being tossed across the stage.
Unfortunately, no show can be perfect, and this is no exception. Despite its high points, the ensemble as a whole seemed unfocused, although a few managed to keep in character throughout the play. Additionally, some of the vocalization seemed weak and off-key, but this may just be in comparison to the stellar talent mentioned earlier.
Regardless of these few shortcomings, Pippin came off as an enjoyable production. Even if many today view the show as a weak distraction, the Dominion students were able to pull off an entertaining spectacle. In the end, the show made good on the Leading Players’ invitation to “come and waste an hour or two.”
by Jacob Savage of South Lakes High School
Photos by KC Holland
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