Diane Paulus, Gypsy Snider and Chet Walker Take Pippin to New Heights in Cirque-Inspired Broadway Revival

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23 Mar 2013

Diane Paulus
Diane Paulus

There certainly is "Magic to Do" as the first Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson's Pippin pitches its circus tent at the Music Box Theatre and the musical's troupe jumps through hoops — literally — to guide young prince Pippin down the road to self-discovery.

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"Join us," sings the Leading Player at the top of the show, immersing the audience in the medieval world of Pippin and taking the musical's protagonist on a journey to find his "Corner of the Sky."

This time, though, Tony nominee Patina Miller, as the show's female ringleader, is inviting theatregoers to the circus — the setting for the re-imagined revival of Pippin, beginning performances March 23 at Broadway's Music Box Theatre under the direction of two-time Tony Award nominee Diane Paulus.

"I knew I couldn't do the revival [of Pippin] until I understood how to do the physical production," explained director Paulus. "I was searching: 'Who are the players?' — Pippin is about a troupe of players — 'Who are they? Who are these mysterious people who come to town and plunk down and tell the story to the audience?' I started thinking about circus and that mystery of a circus troupe that comes to town and pitches a tent, and they kind of invite you in — you know, they dare you to enter that tent — and then you see things you've never seen before… When I talked to Gypsy Snider of [Montreal-based circus company] Les 7 doigts de la main, she said, 'The life of an acrobat is how far we go to be extraordinary,' which is the theme of Pippin, and when I talked to [choreographer] Chet Walker, who said Bob Fosse loved [director Federico] Fellini and was thinking about circus when he made Pippin, I [thought], 'Light bulb!'"



With the help of Chet Walker, the show's choreographer — and former cast member of the original 1972 Broadway production of Pippin — who worked alongside Tony-wining choreographer Bob Fosse, and Les 7 doigts de la main's Gypsy Snider, who incorporates circus choreography and acrobatics, Paulus' vision for Pippin began to take shape.

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