Variety announced June 26 that the film company has just acquired the rights to the 1972 Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin, which concerns the quest of Pippin, the son of Charlemagne, a ninth-century ruler. This follows the recent announcement that Miramax has development deals in the works for both Damn Yankees and Guys and Dolls. About the possibility of bringing Pippin to the silver screen, Miramax president Harvey Weinstein told the industry paper, "This is a passion project for me, just like 'Chicago.' I saw this approximately 30 years ago with the original cast and have always wanted to make it into a movie. Now, with 'Damn Yankees' and 'Pippin,' the ghost of Arthur Freed is alive at Miramax." "Chicago" — directed by the Academy Award-nominated Rob Marshall — is now Miramax's top-grossing film, earning $303 million worldwide; Miramax's "Shakespeare in Love," its second top moneymaker, brought in $282 million.
Bob Fosse directed and choreographed the original Broadway production of Pippin, imposing his conceptual vision onto the bittersweet fairytale that Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson created. Ben Vereen was the Leading Player ("Magic to Do," "Simple Joys"), John Rubinstein played the searching Pippin ("Corner of the Sky," "With You"), Jill Clayburgh was his love interest ("I Guess I'll Miss the Man," "Kind of Woman"), Leland Palmer his evil stepmother ("Spread a Little Sunshine") and Irene Ryan was Pippin's feisty grandmother ("No Time At All"). Ryan (the famed stage actress and TV's "Granny" of "The Beverly Hillbillies") left the show for health reasons and died during the run.