We went in to the new revival of Pippin on Broadway on Wednesday night with moderate to low expectations. We had seen a production a few years back in Los Angeles that left us soured on the show.
Thankfully, director Diane Paulus has masterfully reimagined the show from top to bottom and side to side!
What she came up with is dazzling, exciting, fun, funny, edgy, naughty and riveting from start to finish! It is THE new show you must-see on Broadway!!!!!
In the hands of a less skilled director, Pippin can come across as childish or overly camp. Paulus makes the show feel fresh and so inventive! We kept excitedly waiting - and were pleased every time - to see what clever thing she'd come up with next in the show!
Reimaginesd as a Cirque Du Soleil-like experience, Paulus' production is set in a circus where the tricks don't distract from the story - they just enhance the action. And that's kinda was this revival does for the show, it enhances and improves upon the original! So much so that this new revival features a slightly different ending, which composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz favors.
What's also truly special about this production is that EVERY major cast member gets a chance to shine and have at least one star moment! And they are ALL truly sensational! There is not one weak performance!
Matthew James Thomas comes across as earnest and filled with depth as the titular character. Tovah Feldshuh takes over Andrea Martin's Tony-winning role as the grandmother and runs with it! Erik Altemus as the step-brother gives a performance that will get him lots of jobs in the future! He is a Broadway hunk, with looks and talent aplenty! He is the Pippin understudy and we would LOVE to see him in the role!
Christopher Siebert was delightful stepping in as a temporary replacement for Terrence Mann.
But, the person who truly steals this revival is Patina Miller as the ringmaster. We were a bit underwhelmed by her when we saw her in Sister Act the musical. But in Pippin Patina is fearless! She is bold! And she is having a ball! We loved her! We loved it!
We have to see it again!!!!