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Friday, April 26, 2013

Review: New 'Pippin' mixed with circus amazes .
from:  wsj.com
April 25, 2013
Associated Press
NEW YORK — The last show to open this season on Broadway comes with plenty of bang, lots of flips and real value for money: A ticket buys you not just a musical but also a trip to the circus.
The American Repertory Theatre's thrilling revival of that cultishly cute "Pippin" opened Thursday at the Music Box Theatre as a hybrid that surely will keep everyone thoroughly entertained.
Director Diane Paulus hasn't just slapped some fresh paint on this beloved tale of self-discovery, she's rebuilt it, apparently inspired by the opening number's line "we've got magic to do."
The musical, with songs by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson, is framed by a group of traveling players who tell the story of a young man named Pippin, the ninth-century emperor Charlemagne's firstborn, who is looking for his place in the world. It wowed Broadway in the 1970s with Bob Fosse directing and Ben Vereen starring.
Paulus has transformed the players into a troupe of circus performers, and it's a stroke of genius. It allows for a Big Top theme — think fire jugglers, teeterboards, knife throwing and contortionists — but also teases out the wandering nature of the mysterious players and zooms up the physicality of the story.
The Montreal-based Les 7 Doigts de la Main, a group known for mixing high-risk acrobatics, music and dance with the thrill of street performance, has been handed the circus duties. In retrospect, it's as natural a collaboration as peanut butter and jelly.
Paulus, who has already thrilled with remakes of "Hair" and "Porgy and Bess," scores again, making two very different companies work coherently. She's also managed to tease out the connection between the intricate dance style of the late Fosse — Chet Walker choreographs this in the master's style — with the equally meticulous needs of acrobatics. Both require tiny, precise movement.
read more:
http://online.wsj.com/article/APfaedcde8df674391ae1edbf18ea9ac33.html


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