Pippin made its Broadway debut in 1972 with an original cast featuring stars like Ben Vereen. 45 years later, it’s among the longest running Broadway musicals, with a revival headed to the Lincoln Center April 27-29.
Pippin started as short original musical production created by Stephen Schwartz (composer of Wicked and Godspell), but Pippin didn’t take its first real steps into Broadway history until Bob Fosse (choreographer of Cabaret and Chicago) came on board and added a dark edginess to the story.
This coming-of-age tale is told as a play within a play. The story, narrated by the fourth-wall-breaking Leading Player, follows Pippin, a young prince searching for his purpose in life and longing to find passion and adventure.
Naysh Fox, who stars as the lead character Pippin in the nationally touring production, says people of all ages can relate to searching for fulfillment and the meaning of life in the same way Pippin does. “We all try to find the space where we fit in and what we’re meant to do and that’s why the show has been successful for so long” — it has a timeless message.
While the production has largely remained true to the classic, certain aspects of the show have been changed. The original production had no set and it was darker in feel. With the original choreography and songs left intact, this revival features a brightly colored set with actors and acrobats now placed in a cirque-like setting.
“What makes this production of Pippin different from any other production, or any other musical, is the circus element of the show with acrobats and dancers,” says Fox. “It really heightens the storyline and overall magic aspect of Pippin.”
The acrobatic techniques were choreographed by Les 7 Doigts De La Main, a Canadian acrobatics troupe, and the show is peppered with knife-throwing, fire-juggling, hula-hooping and gravity-defying balancing acts.
When asked what audiences should expect, Naysh Fox says to “Come with an open mind and get ready for the circus.”
Tickets start at $20 at LCtix.com and performances are April 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 29.