Monday, June 10, 2013

Still on a Tony Awards High For "Pippin" - Congratulations to The Entire Pippin Cast and Creative Team!

Diane Paulus Accepts Her Tony for Directing "Pippin"

I don't know why, but all during last night's Tony Awards telecast, I felt like an expectant father.  I cannot take any credit for the creative successes that "Pippin" is experiencing, but I was there at the A.R.T. in Cambridge during this production's first trimester; I felt it kick and heard its heartbeat before Broadway every saw it in its fully-formed neonatal state.  Pippin has earned a place in my heart and in my memory as my co-favorite musical of all time (tied with "Les Miserables"!).  It was a thrill to watch last night as people who have become well known to me as acquaintances and friends performed and received Tony awards.

Diane Paulus won for Best Director of a Musical, having previously been nominated for directing Tony winners "Hair" and "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess."  She has taken the beloved music and lyrics of Stephen  Schwartz, the iconic choreography of Bob Fosse and in collaboration with Chet Walker and Gypsy Snider, has created a new art form that blends acting, singing, dancing, acrobatics and magic in a seamless tapestry of gorgeous and moving storytelling.  In her very eloquent acceptance speech, Diane singled out the President of Harvard University, Dr. Drew Faust, who has publicly stated that "Creativity is a form of knowledge."

Andrea Martin has reinvigorated the role of Berthe, Pippin's saucy grandmother.  She has deep Boston roots, having graduated from Emerson College.  When I saw the very first public performance of this production of Pippin, I grabbed Andrea at the reception and said to her: "That song you just sang will win you a Tony.  I can guarantee it."  She won the Tony last night as Best Featured Actress In A Musical.  This was her second Tony nomination.  I cannot wait to see her again to remind her of that conversation we had this winter in Cambridge.

Andrea Martin Giving Her Tony Acceptance Speech
Patina Miller took a huge risk in accepting the role of Leading Player, a role that had been made famous forty years ago by Ben Vereen.  She has made the role her own, adding elements to the character that could not have been imagined when "Pippin" first opening on Broadway in 1972.  In expanding the role and making it hers alone, she has also garnered her first Tony Award as Actress In A Musical, having previously been nominated for her work in "Sister Act."

Patina Miller Cradles Her Tony!

In one of the evening's highlight's, after the cast had performed the mesmerizing and stunning opening number, "Magic To Do," "Pippin" was named Best Musical Revival.  As the producers trooped to the stage, it became clear that behind the princely production was an army of investors backing up the creative team and actors and musicians.  Art isn't easy, but it can be tremendously rewarding when it is done right with passion and excellence and imagination.

"Pippin" continues to play to record-breaking audiences at the Music Box on New York's 45th Street, just west of Broadway.  The new cast album is now available on iTunes, and  the CD will be out in a few weeks.  Still lots of "magic to do"!



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