Friday, January 04, 2013

A.R.T.'s "Pippin" Is Heading to Broadway in the Spring - Music Box Theatre

Broadway's Music Box Theatre soon will be home to the Diane Paulus directed 40th anniversary production of "Pippin."  The announcement was made last night in Cambridge after the Opening Night of the play's current run at the American Repertory Theater's Loeb Drama Center.

Here is how the New York Times reported the news today.

‘Pippin’ Is Returning to Broadway

The memorably tuneful musical “Pippin,” a staple of high school and college theater troupes, will return to Broadway this spring for the first time since its original five-year run ended on Broadway in 1977, the show’s producers announced on Thursday night. The approximately $8 million production – a transfer of the current “Pippin” revival running at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. – will begin performances on March 23 at the Music Box Theater and open on April 25.
The production is directed by Diane Paulus, the artistic director of the company, who was nominated for Tony Awards for best direction for her last two Broadway shows,“Hair” and “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” – both of which won Tonys for best musical revival.
“Pippin,” about the wanderlust of a son of the French King Charlemagne, has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked”) and a book by Roger O. Hirson; its songs include “Magic to Do,” “Corner of the Sky” and “Morning Glow.”
The original Broadway production won five Tonys, including for Bob Fosse’s direction and choreography. His dances are reflected in the revival, which also features acrobatic and trapeze numbers and other circus acts created by Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based company 7 Fingers.
Casting for Broadway is not confirmed. Playing the lead roles in the current production are Matthew James Thomas (“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”) as Pippin, Tony winner Andrea Martin (“My Favorite Year”) as Pippin’s exiled grandmother, and Tony nominees Patina Miller (“Sister Act”) as the Leading Player, Terrence Mann (“Les Miserables”) as the king, and Charlotte d’Amboise (“A Chorus Line”) as his wife, Fastrada.
The Music Box is usually home to plays [rather than musicals] because, with only about 1,000 seats to sell for each performance, it can be difficult for bigger-budget musicals to turn a profit there. But the producers — Barry and Fran Weissler (“Chicago”) and Howard and Janet Kagan (the coming Broadway musical “Hands on a Hardbody”) — are counting on high demand for “Pippin,” given its popularity as a title and its decades away from Broadway. The advent of premium-priced tickets has made it easier for producers to make money in relatively small Broadway theaters, too.

I had a conversation last evening during Opening Night intermission with composer Stephen Schwartz, who had made the trip from his home in Connecticut to be present for the special event.  He took time off from working on his latest project, a new musical based on the life of Harry Houdini.  I asked him about moving "Pippin" 'to Broadway, and if the show would be recast or would use the actors currently performing in Cambridge.  He indicated that it was the plan to keep the cast essentially in place as much as is possible as the show moves from Cambridge to Broadway.  I responded by saying: "Good, because in my opinion, there are no weak links in this cast."  He laughed and made the comment: "Please get yourself hired by the New York Times so you can repeat those words in their pages!"

Before the show makes its move to New York, it will continue in production in Cambridge through January 20.  The run of the show here is almost completely sold out.  I just came from the box office, where people were lined up to purchase tickets as the phones in the office rang off the hook.  If you want to see the show before it leaves town, act now.


Loeb Drama Center
Tuesday - Sunday, noon-5PM



1 comment:

Michael Ortlieb said...

I'm assuming when you asked me to go see this with you, you meant the Boston show, and not the Broadway show. Is it still running, or are you planning on going to see it in NYC too, by any chance? Hope I didn't miss the boat...