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"Pippin" (review)

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT 


through January 11, 2015
by Michael J. Moran

Since it first opened on Broadway in 1972, this stirring tale of life choices made by the young adult son (Pippin) of medieval King Charles (Charlemagne) has become a classic coming-of-age story that resonates with audiences of all ages. In the Actors Equity tour of the 2013 Tony-Award winning revival at the Bushnell, director Diane Paulus adds a circus setting which heightens the drama of the plot and delights an enthusiastic full house.

With catchy music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson, the original production was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, whose jazzy dance style is evoked in much of the new choreography by Chet Walker. Colorful costume design by Dominique Lemieux and often daring circus acts by Gypsy Sniderfurther enhance the razzle-dazzle quotient in this fast-paced presentation.      

All these elements are brought to pulsing life by a well-matched cast, featuring the original Pippin, John Rubinstein, as his father, Charles, whom he portrays with zany exuberance. Kyle Dean Massey is a convincingly endearing and bewildered Pippin, a role he also played in the Broadway production. Sasha Allen, a veteran of NBC TV’s “The Voice,” brings a steely irreverence to her portrayal of the Leading Player/narrator who sets the overall tone for the production.   

The scene that best conveys the “Magic To Do” of the show’s opening number features Lucie Arnaz in a star turn as Pippin’s grandmother, Berthe. As the now 63-year-old actress gamely cavorts high above the stage on a trapeze, her big number, “No Time at All,” brings the house down. 

With great ensemble work and other memorable tunes like Pippin’s “Corner of the Sky” and his stepmother Fastrada’s “Spread a Little Sunshine,” fans undeterred by cold weather should get their tickets to this entertaining production before remaining seats at later performances sell out. 

PIPPIN, January 6-11, 2015

PIPPIN returns to Broadway for the first time since it thrilled audiences 40 years ago! With a beloved score by Tony Award nominee Stephen Schwartz, PIPPIN tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. This captivating production is directed by Diane Paulus. It features sizzling choreography in the style of Bob Fosse and breathtaking acrobatics by the creative force behind the nationwide sensation Traces.


NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, February 3-8, 2015

Get ready for this 1920s-era feel-good musical, complete with extravagant dance numbers, glittering costumes and an unlikely love story between a wealthy playboy and a rough and tumble lady bootlegger. This lighthearted crowd pleaser is set against the backdrop of classic Gershwin hits like “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Fascinating Rhythm.” NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT is a sparkling, madcap tale that combines laughter, romance and high-stepping Broadway magic for an evening bursting with girls, glamour and the glorious songs of Gershwin!


CAMELOT, April 21-26, 2015

Experience Camelot’s “one brief shining moment” as Lerner and Loewe envisioned it in one of theatre’s most legendary musicals. Intimate and fresh, never has this story of passion, pageantry and betrayal been more captivating. Recount the time-honored legend of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of the Round Table in an enchanting fable of chivalry, majesty, and brotherhood. The celebrated score includes the classics “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” and the title song, “Camelot.”

ONCE, May 26-31, 2015

ONCE is the celebrated new musical based on the Academy Award-winning film. It tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together. Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, ONCE is a musical celebration of life and love: thrilling in its originality, daring in its honesty, and unforgettable in every way.

KINKY BOOTS, June 23-28, 2015

Charlie Price has suddenly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola. A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world. KINKY BOOTS is the must-see new musical that proves that sometimes, the best way to fit in is to stand out!


Ticket Information
  • Current season ticket holders will receive their renewal packages in the mail in March.

  • If you wish to become a season ticket holder, please call The Bushnell Box Office at 860-987-5900. In early summer, new season ticket orders will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis after all renewing patrons have been accommodated.

  • On-sale dates for individual tickets will be announced soon.


About The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts

The Bushnell is Connecticut’s premier performing arts center, hosting more than 350 events yearly, including major Broadway tours, symphony orchestras, family presentations, local arts and community events. The Bushnell is home to two theaters- the historic 2,800-seat Mortensen Hall, and the 907-seat Belding Theater, a state-of-the-art performance hall that opened in 2001. The Bushnell’s nationally recognized, award-winning, arts-in-education program, PARTNERS® (Partners in Arts and Education Revitalizing Schools), now in its 21st year, continues to provide quality arts-in-education programs for schools and communities across Connecticut. The Bushnell opened in January 1930 and is a not-for-profit organization that is proud to serve Connecticut and its citizens. For more information, call The Bushnell at 860-987-6000, The Bushnell box office at 860-987-5900 or visit our website at www.bushnell.org.


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Contact Information

Address: 166 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06106

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