The remastered cast album of Stephen Schwartz's Pippin was released on CD Sept. 26 on the Decca Broadway label. The recording includes songs from the 1972 musical, a freewheeling take on the story of Charlemagne's son, plus three pop covers by The Supremes ("I Guess I'll Miss the Man"), The Jackson 5 ("Corner of the Sky") and Michael Jackson ("Morning Glow"). The cast recording, produced by Schwartz and famed rock producer Phil Ramone, was the first Broadway album from the Motown label.
Bob Fosse directed and choreographed the musical, imposing his conceptual vision onto the bittersweet fairytale that Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson created. The CD booklet includes the song's lyrics. 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.
The show ran 1,944 performances and was one of a handful of scores that brought a pop sound to the theatre in the 1970s (along with Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar). Attempting to pull the show from its hippie roots, Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey staged a revival in 2000 that included Rent-worthy leather and latex duds and head microphones.
-- By Kenneth Jones