The Church Hill Theatre’s production of Pippin continues the international crowd-pleasing reputation of this fantastic musical. With music by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Roger O. Hirson, the CHT revival, directed by Sylvia Maloney is not to be missed! The talented cast, Musical Director Ray Remesch, and Choreographer Cavin Moore present a production that is wowing audiences and has garnered praise from Peter Heck in his recent review.
Both Pippin and his father, Charlemagne, are historic figures from the early Middle Ages. In the fictional plot, with the help of a troupe of minstrel players, Pippin embarks on a quest to find life’s purpose.
The “outstanding” Mackenzie Campbell portrays the Leading Player, head of the mysterious troupe. Mark Wiening plays Pippin and Bob Chauncey is Charlemagne. Heck noted Wiening’s “strong voice and solid acting chops” along with Chauncey’s ability to “bring out [his] character’s comic side”. Becca Van Aken “gives her character a solid reality” playing Pippin’s love interest, Catherine, with Debra Ebersole, “a highlight of the first act” playing his grandmother, Berthe. Bryce Sullivan plays Pippin’s half-brother Lewis, Lori Armstrong is “deliciously wicked” as Pippin’s stepmother Fastrada, with Cullen Williams plays Catherine’s son, Theo.
The “energy of the production gets a definite boost” from the ensemble. Comprised of many young people from the area, they are the performance troupe that take on all other characters; they are Delaney McCreary, Grace McCreary, Maya McGrory, Ellie Merton, Katie Staley, Erin Tomassoni, Quenton Bergenholtz, Max Brennan, John Crook, Elliott Morotti, and Cody Turner.
Live music is a key part of CHT musicals. Ray Remesch, who conducts from the piano (and sometimes with a guitar), leads a talented orchestra. Peter Cailloux plays the French horn, Susan Dabney and Jane Godfrey are on violins, Ron Demby shares his talent on reeds, David James and Rich Matties take on trumpet and trombone, respectively, while Jordon Stanley handles percussion, with Quinn Parsley on bass.
The production staff and crew provide additional theater magic. Sam Angelini, Steve Atkinson (also the production photographer), and Jim Johnson share duties as Stage Managers. Brian Draper created the Art Set Design and collaborated with Michael Whitehill on set design and execution. Doug Kaufmann helms lighting whilst Tina Johnson, Erma Johnson, and Liz Clarke create the costumes. Christian Graham serves as Magic Consultant
Pippin runs through June 24th, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 pm on Sundays. Reservations (strongly advised in advance) can be made by calling the box office at 410-556-6003 or online at www.churchhilltheatre.org