They’ve got magic to do – and they do it.
North Coast Repertory Theatre closes its 41st season with a creatively reimagined production Pippin, by Roger. O. Hirson (book) and Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics). Under the tutelage of director Nick DeGruccio and with Music Direction by Ron Councell and Choreography by Roxane Carrasco, this production of Pippin is the best show I’ve seen at NCRT.
Mr. DeGruccio, in a program essay, uses “ghost” as a metaphor, and, in fact, at one point the lights go out and the ghost light (which is left on in an empty theatre) appears. He writes, “Young adults today find themselves without a road map. Drifters longing for meaning and connection in a disconnected world; they are searching outside of themselves for the answer.”
Pippin (Brendan Dallaire) is the first-born son of King Charlemagne (Jason Maddy). He is coming into adulthood concerned about finding a purpose and meaning in his life. He tries a number of potential routes, as suggested by the leader of an itinerant group of players (Robert Zelaya), none of which are satisfying.
Eventually, he stumbles upon a farm owned by Catherine (Katy Tang), a widow with a son named Theo (Spencer Kearns). Over time, magic happens in a way that Pippin could not have anticipated.
You won’t see a lot of flash or acrobatics in this production, though sometimes people pop out of places you might not have expected. You will see high quality acting and singing, from a company that includes Katie Karel, Gracie Moore, James Oblak, Amy Smith, and Leslie Stevens. Credit Marty Burnett for designing a set that has these “pop out” spaces, plus enough backstage room for a four-piece band that makes the performances so much more exciting than instrumental tracks would have been. Credit also, Matt Novotny for his lighting design, Paul Peterson for his sound design, Zoë Trautmann for costume design, Peter Herman for his hair and wig design, and Alyssa Kane for prop design.
Pippin hits all the right marks and makes a fitting finale for Season 41 at North Coast Repertory Theatre.
Performs through August 20 Wednesdays @ 7pm, Thursdays through-Saturdays @ 8pm; Saturdays and Sundays @ 2pm, and Sundays @ 7pm. There is a special matinee at 2pm on Wednesday, August 9. Ample free parking is available in lots adjacent to the theatre.