Recently, while in New York, I was able to see PIPPIN (watch the video linked here), a musical I’ve been wanting to see since my youth since it opened on Broadway when I was in high school. I remember watching The Ben Vereen Show on TV because of his extraordinary performance as the Leading Player, which won him a Tony Award in 1972.
PIPPIN has been a beloved Broadway score by Stephen Schwartz by millions of people, and has been a key music produced in colleges and high schools across the country. Bob Fosse’s signature style of dance elevated the 1972 production to that of a classic.
The new revival of the play by Diane Paulus, who also revived HAIR and PORGY AND BESS has a knack for breathing life into musicals who’s historical runs ended years ago, and have taken on a sort of mystical air. It takes a brave and brilliant soul to mess with these musical war horses and I’m delighted to have experienced all three of her revivals.
But PIPPIN remains, for me, a touchstone musical, mainly for the score – and more precisely – for the songs, “Corner of the Sky” and “Morning Glow.” Two beautiful and moving songs that spoke to me at my young age. Watching them a few weeks ago brought back all those feelings and memories of growing up.
Aside from the music, this revival includes circus acts, a fine cast and a set that reveals itself to be beautiful, but illusive itself. It’s a stroke of genius because, when everything is finally stripped away, there is only ourselves.