"Simple Joys": Reprise! Pippin—with Michael Arden—Begins Performances Jan. 25

News   "Simple Joys": Reprise! Pippin—with Michael Arden—Begins Performances Jan. 25 Michael Arden, who starred in the recent all-star New York City benefit concert of Pippin, will reprise his role as the son of the Emperor Charlemagne for the Reprise! mounting of the Stephen Schwartz musical.

Pippin, featuring direction by Gordon Hunt, musical direction by Gerald Sternbach and choreography by Dan Mojica, will play UCLA's Freud Playhouse Jan. 25-Feb. 6. The cast also includes Sam Harris (Leading Player), Jean Louisa Kelly (Catherine), Luba Mason (Fastrada), Mimi Hines (Berthe), Graham Phillips, Conrad John Schuck and Abe Sylvia. The Pippin company features Ryan Ashley, Danial Brown, Suzanne Carlton, Rachel Collins, Ray Garcia, Christa Jackson, Joanna Louise, Craig Lucas, Lisa Mandel, Jill Morrison, Digo Padovan and Shaun Thompson.

The design team comprises Tom Ruzika (lighting designer), Brad Kaye (set designer), Alex Jaeger (costume designer) and Phil Allen (sound designer).

Michael Arden, who portrayed Peter in the hit Off-Broadway musical Bare, appeared on Broadway in Big River. His other theatrical credits include The Vampire Lestat, It's Only Life: The Music of John Bucchino, Harold & Maude, God of Vengeance, Falsettoland, Art, West Side Story, Songs for a New World, The Common Pursuit and A Winter's Tale. His musical compositions include Easter Rising, As You Like It and Ripley.

Bob Fosse directed and choreographed the original 1972 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. The show ran 1,944 performances and was one of a handful of scores that brought a pop sound to the theatre in the 1970's (along with Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar).

Tickets, priced $55-$65, are available by calling the UCLA central ticket office at (310) 825 2101. Go to www.reprise.org for more information. *

The Reprise! season concludes with Applause (May 10-22, 2005).