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

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23 Mar 2013

Matthew James Thomas
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
The troupe of Pippin previewed "Glory," led by Miller, and "Corner of the Sky," performed by Thomas, as well as moments from the beginning of the show. Audiences can expect more than just backflips (think Cirque du Soleil for musical theatre) from the entirety of the cast, including the show's Leading Player.

"I knew we had to have a Leading Player who could not only sing, but who could dance — like really dance — and, of course, act, so that led to a search to find the most dynamic, charismatic, powerful, seductive, triple-threat performer," said Paulus. "We saw men, we saw women, we saw every type of performer, but the choice was clear — Patina Miller is a force of nature. Little did I know that she was also a gymnast in her former life, so she's on the trapeze in our production. She is fearless, she is determined, she is the quadruple-threat that is defined by this production."

Thomas, too, will be performing his fair share of stunts. "Fortunately, being Pippin, there are lots of [tricks] that make sense with him because he's on this quest for fulfillment," he shared. "What better [way] than jumping off a high wire or trying a backflip or walking on a high pole…? That [is] — in a very physical, but also metaphorical, way — a great explosion of decision and choice… It's hard to imagine the show without it."

Miller added, "Bringing that heightened element into our show really just informs my character, and I think everyone on stage. How far will we go to tell the story tonight? … Hopefully, by the end of the show, someone will want to join our circus."

(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)

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