‘Pippin’ opens tonight
The musical Pippin, the story of a young prince on a fantastic journey in search of his future, will open Friday in the Anne S. Richardson Auditorium of Ridgefield High School at 7:30 p.m. The show’s original opening date of Thursday, March 16, was canceled due to this week’s snowstorm and a matinee performance has been added on March 19 at 2 p.m.
On March 3, the student cast, crew and orchestra were honored with a visit by Ridgefielder Stephen Schwartz, the composer/lyricist of Pippin, Wicked, and Godspell and two-time Academy Award winner for Best Original Songs from Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt.
Schwartz began working on Pippin when he was in college. As a young man, he identified with Pippin’s search for the meaning of life. He says the story, and its ending, has strong parallels to real life. “It is neither happy nor sad. It’s just true. Each of us has choices to make. We can be seduced with things that are self-destructive or we can overcome that. But it’s a journey everyone has to make.”
RHS senior Sarah Ford is the Leading Player, the role made famous by actor Ben Vereen. The Leading Player is the only role in Broadway history for which a man and a woman have each won the Tony Award. Ford said, “Hearing the creation story of Pippin and our characters really helped us tap into the show more completely. Mr. Schwartz gave us valuable advice about show business and pursuing theatre. This was deeply appreciated coming from a successful industry professional.”
Tyler Carey is the senior who plays Pippin. “To be playing the role of Pippin and be able to dive into the head of the man who wrote the brilliant music is a moment I will never let go. Meeting Stephen Schwartz was the most substantial moment of my life as a growing actor so far,” said Carey. “He was so willing to give advice about what to expect in the real world. It was extremely eye opening and honest.”
Schwartz told the students that his experiences in high school theater influenced his decision to attend drama school, but that “acting is a difficult profession because it’s competitive. So much of it depends on luck, and it’s a difficult entry-level profession because there isn’t a standard trajectory on how to do it.” He encouraged the students to always remember in their work that the arts are about communication.
Carey said Schwartz was “so warm and welcoming and truly is an inspiration for all who participate in theater.”
Pippin is directed by Sherry Cox. In addition to Ford and Tyler, the show features
Aidan Meachem as Charles, Sarah Thorn as Fastrada, Hazel Neil as Berthe, Rosie Staudt as Catherine, Casey Wishna as Lewis, and Evan Smolin as Theo. The Players are Eleanor Andresen, Lucy Basile, Annabel Briody, Josh Burns, Stephanie Coraci, Rico Froehlich (dance captain), Shane Jaeger, Hannah Jay, Caroline Malley, Claire McLam, Thomas Mitchell, Lane Murdock, Sophia Smith, and Alice Zanini.
Pippin will have four evening performances, March 17-18 and 24-25 at 7:30 p.m., and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 19. The snow date is March 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students with school ID and for seniors age 60 and over. Ridgefield seniors who have a Gold Card may enjoy one show for free, but must have the Gold Card with them for admission. Tickets will be sold at the door. Online sales at http://www.rhsperformingarts.info/
Please check the website for weather-related updates. RHS telephone: 203-894-5750.