Theater Info for the Washington DC region

2nd Star Productions Pippin

By • Nov 8th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
2nd Star Productions
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through December 3rd
2:15 with one intermission
$20/$17 Seniors and Students
Reviewed November 5th, 2011

Pippin is a musical with book by Roger O. Hirson, Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It is the story of the Emperor Charlemagne’s son, Pippin, and Pippin’s quest to experience the most out of life. He tries this in many ways, such as the battlefield, physical pleasures, and politics, until he finally has to make the greatest decision.

Overall, this was an enjoyable production, although the choreography was weak and at times executed sloppily. Some of the singers were hard to hear. No mics were used to help amplify their voices.

Pippin (Nick Lehan) was able to carry his voice above the orchestra and managed to hit the last note in “Corner of The Sky” well. He seemed to bring the character to life through his words and emotions. Lehan made it clear that Pippin’s choices in life were important, even with the struggle that went along with them.

The Leading Player (Vincent Musgrave) was not as slick as maybe he needed to be as the villain to Pippin. In his final scene he finally got that used car salesman attitude that sold his character. Musgrave also had a strong voice and his dance moves were engaging. He and Pippin performed an upbeat rendition of “On The Right Track” that was engaging to watch. The Leading Player’s troupe of players were dressed in a wide range of colorful, outlandish outfits without a real design linking them all together.

Pippin’s step-mother Fastrada (Hannah Thornhill) was quite the sultry vixen who totally had her heart set on her son, Lewis (Carl Williams) to assume the throne upon Charles’s death (untimely or otherwise). Poor Lewis was a good warrior, but not an intellectual by any means. Another fun performance was given by TiaJuana Rountree as Pippin’s Grandmother Berthe. Rountree presented Berthe as relaxed, but still maintained a lot of spunk. There may have been a technical glitch as the chorus to Berthe’s song “No Time at All” did not come down on the first chorus and thus no one in the audience joined in as they were asked to by Berthe.

Pippin’s love interest Catherine was played by Rebekka Meyer. Meyer was sometimes difficult to hear, especially while singing, but her presence on stage was sincere and she and Lehan seemed to compliment each other well. Catherine’s son Theo was played by Jacob Hastings at the performance we attended (Matt Beagan also plays the role).

Lighting and Sound Designer Garrett Hyde made good use of creating various moods through the use of colors on the rear cyc throughout the performance. Although the strobe light effect for the war scene was distracting. By focusing on the warriors, Pippin and the Leading Player were silhouetted, and focusing on Pippin and The Leading Player made the fighting in the background hard to watch. The orchestra played under the direction of Joe Biddle.

Even though the dance numbers were disappointing, the singing and acting were entertaining.

A Few Thoughts From the Director

When first produced over 35 years ago this award winning musical was quite bold and risqué. This evening’s performance is intended to suggest the style of the show in its original form with consideration to content.

Though abstract in form the story of Pippin is a familiar one, and the message remains relevant. Through many different experiences Pippin begins to define the measure of his fulfillment: the purpose of the journey. As it is in our daily life experience, much of how things seem to be depends on the choices we make how we look at things. And can change day to day and year to year. My own thought is that it all comes back to a central place. From the Troup of Players to Pippin’s own choice. Family and the power of Love.

My heartfelt thanks go to these incredible performers in this evening’s show. You each bring a unique gift to our show that shines with unequaled brilliance. The spirit you so freely share is a gift I treasure. I thank you for making this experience so special.

Many thanks go to Joe Biddle, Karen Hastings, Garrett Hyde, Jane Wingard, Joanne Wilson and Steve Hudgins for your tireless efforts in this production. Each of you have brought your own creative magic to this show. It has been a great pleasure to collaborate with each of you on this project.

Finally to each of you in the audience tonight…. thank you for being a part of our show and thank you for supporting the arts!

—– Larry


  • Pippin: Nick Lehan
  • Leading Player: Vincent Musgrave
  • Charles: Wendell Holland
  • Fastrada: Hannah Thornhill
  • Lewis: Carl Williams
  • Berthe: TiaJuana Rountree
  • Berthe Understudy: Pat Browning
  • Catherine: Rebekka Meyer
  • Theo: Matt Beagan
  • Theo: Jacob Hastings
  • The Players: Hana Cai, ZacFadler, Emily Freeman, Genevieve Ethridge, Chuck Hastings, Amy Homewood, Chermaine Julianne Jackson, Erin Lorenz, Malarie Novotny, Vivian Wingard

Production Staff

  • Director: Larry Friedman
  • Producer: Jane B. Wingard
  • Music Director: Joe Biddle
  • Assistant Musical Director: Steve Hudgins
  • Choreographer: Karen Hastings
  • Stage Manager/ Properties: Joanne D. Wilson
  • Scenic Designer: Jane B. Wingard
  • Scenic Assistants: Bill Bagaria, Gail Bagaria
  • Lighting & Sound Design: Garrett R. Hyde
  • Lighting/Sound Technician: Pete Dursin, Al Chopey, Walter Kleinfelder
  • Costume Coordinator: Jane B. Wingard
  • Costume Assistants: Gail & Bill Bagaria, Linda Swann, Joane Wilson, Vivian Wingard
  • Load In Crew: Garrett Hyde, pete Dursin, Al Chopey, Walter Kleinfelder, Jane Wingard, Joanne Wilson, Duane Rouch, Steve Andrews, Bill Davis, Stevie Magum, Dick Rusell, Marty Hayes, Gail Bagaria, Bill Bagaria, Robert Browning
  • Publicity: Janice Coffey, Debe Tighe, Martin Hayes
  • Webmaster: Lynne Wilson
  • Front of House Manager: Gail Bagaria
  • Reservations: Patti Mangum
  • Photography: Debe Tighe, Joanne Wilson
  • Program: Lynne Wilson

2nd Star Orchestra

  • Musical Director/Conductor: Joe Biddle
  • Assistant Conductor and Midi Performance: Steve Hudgins
  • Reeds: Shannyn Peterson
  • Reeds: Mari Hill
  • Reeds: Mary Haaser
  • Reeds: Steve Haaser
  • Trumpet: Tim Spencer
  • Trumpet: Rick Fogerty
  • Guitar: Rob Luzier
  • Bass Will McLean
  • Drums: Drew Bilbrey
  • Drums: Zachary Konick

Disclaimer: 2nd Star Productions provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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One Response »

  1. In the spirit of full disclosure my daughter is a member of the cast.

    Audiences Sunday, November 6th, thoroughly enjoyed 2nd Star Production’s latest musical performance.

    Director Larry Friedman’s production of the 1970’s Steven Schwartz musical “Pippin” is lively and engaging with plenty of laughs, making for a highly enjoyable night out. Besides the performance on the stage, Friedman breaks the “fourth wall” at several places throughout the show, with the cast interacting directly with the audience.

    About the Show: A troupe of players lead Charlemagne’s eldest son, Pippin, through his search for something “completely fulfilling” in life toward a “grand finale” that’s both uplifting and disturbing. The troupe is led by The Leading Player, who serves as master of ceremonies, storyteller, and confidant of Pippin.

    Nick Lehan’s inspired acting and rich voice bring the restless, naive Pippin to life. Vince Musgrave owns the part of The Leading Player, effortlessly combining the character’s charming and witty personality with his underlying sinister intentions. 2nd Star regular Wendall Holland brings his hallmark sonorous baritone to the role of King Charles, flying through the Gilbert-and-Sullivan-esque pattering of “War is a Science” with nary the bat of an eye. Hannah Thornhill’s Fastrada, Charles’ wife, is a cunning, sexy “normal, everyday housewife and mother” whose solo dance in “Spread a Little Sunshine” will leave you breathless. Her alter-ego as a player leaves no doubt about the troup’s pernicious motives. Tia Rountree’s Berthe, Pippin’s grandmother, carries the audience away with a performance of “No Time At All” that you can’t help but sing along with.

    Accolades to the rest of the cast, who bring richness, vibrance, and humor to this excellent community theater production.