My first introduction to “Pippin” was listening to SiriusXM’s Broadway’s Best station. A song called “Magic To Do” was played and the one and only Ben Vereen sang it. There was something about that piano part that made that song exciting. It became a favorite of mine. Of course, I did not know the context for which the song was being performed, but I did know that I enjoyed it. Later learning that Stephen Schwartz wrote it, I felt like I knew something the world did not. Of course, it turns out I knew nothing the world didn’t already know. Years later I would review the Broadway touring production of “Pippin” which I thoroughly enjoyed. Using that as a standard, I am thrilled to have been able to see the Lockport Palace production, which I believe to be just as good as the Broadway Tour.
“Pippin” tells the tale of a boy trying to find his way in life, live up to his potential, make an impact on the world around him. The story is thin, there are confusing moments, but this is forgiven due to the power of the music and the songs. This production is led by Sean Ryan as Pippin, who takes on this behemoth of a role and makes it incredibly enjoyable. His vocal performance is top notch, and his movement is light and effortless. He is truly fantastic to watch on stage.
Taylor Carlson is magical as the Leading Player in this production. Her vocals are stunning as she takes on the role most recently made famous by Broadway’s Patina Miller in the 2013 revival. Carlson enters and exits the story with ease, moving the plot along, as well as interjecting great comedic timing.
An audience favorite is Trisha Stacey as Berthe, who’s performance of “No Time At All” is an audience participation triumph. Smiles grow in the audience when this song begins and when the lyrics to the chorus are projected onto the stage for easy reference, what you see is a great connection between actor and audience. That is the true magic of theatre.
The show is rounded out by a great group of supporting performers and ensemble who make this production exciting, fresh, and entirely enjoyable. The band that is led by David C. Stacey really rivaled any touring orchestra that comes through town. These professionals took this music and delivered a flawless rendition of the Schwartz score. Kudos to them and to everyone.
Running Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes with a 15-minute intermission.
“Pippin” runs until September 18 and is presented at the Lockport Palace Theatre. For more information, click here.