By Ben Rimalower
22 Feb 2014
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
One of the biggest hits of the 1970s, the success of the original production of Pippin is universally attributed to Bob Fosse. Stephen Schwartz's score has its pleasures and, business-wise, the original production was one of the first Broadway shows to make savvy use of TV commercials, but the piece itself was Fosse's baby. For years, this left a big question mark where any potential revival would have been. After all, direction is more than just staging; it asks how to do what Fosse did without paling in comparison. The material isn't strong enough to support a bare bones take a la Chicago. The solution came in the assured direction of Diane Paulus, whose reconception of Pippin, not as vaudeville, but as circus, electrified the Broadway season and is set to delight audiences for years to come.
(Ben Rimalower is the author and original star of the critically acclaimed Patti Issues. Read Playbill.com's coverage of the solo show here. Visit him at benrimalower.com and follow @benrimalower on Twitter.)