Laughs And Romance In Eventide’s ‘Pippin’

by Emma Blankenship
The cast of Eventide Theatre Company's "Pippin." BOB TUCKER/FOCALPOINT STUDIO PHOTO The cast of Eventide Theatre Company's "Pippin." BOB TUCKER/FOCALPOINT STUDIO PHOTO

Eventide Theatre Company does not disappoint with its production of Steven Schartz’s musical “Pippin.”

Led by director and producer Donna Wresinski, ETC’s production brings new life to this cheeky and evocative tale. Following the adventures of a restless prince in pursuit of personal fulfillment, this show will make you laugh as much as it will tug on your heartstrings.

Max Dexter wows audiences with his portrayal of the listless and naive Pippin. With a spectacular voice and a youthful jaunt, he embodies the hopefulness, idealism, and wistfulness of the wandering prince as he hunts for his personal “Corner of the Sky.” Pippin is guided on his journey by two Leading Players, played by Alex Valentine and Morgan Dexter. The human embodiments of temptation, their promises of magic and “a climax you will remember for the rest of your lives” entice characters and audiences alike, with Valentine and Dexter bringing a remarkable charisma to their roles.

The bumbling King Charles (Alex Lucchesi) brings an additional levity and jaunt to the performance, despite representing the archaic ways of the past. His salacious wife, Fastrada, played by Bethany Ambrose, amuses audiences with her weaponized incompetence and flirtatious attitude as she works to advance her blockhead son, Lewis (a goofy Maeve Moriarty), to the throne. The last, but certainly not least, entertaining member of the royal family is Berthe (Lynne Johnson), Pippin’s exiled grandmother. Beautiful and full of charm, she is the epitome of cool grandma. Despite Berthe’s age, she is full of zeal, teaching all who listen to her song “No Time At All” about the importance of the present and encouraging her grandson to have a bit of fun.

With the introduction of widow Catherine (an incredibly talented Kaleigh Mason), her adorable son Theo (Dustin Gosselin), and Theo’s pet duck, the show takes on a romantic and sentimental tone, pushing humor to the backburner as Catherine and Pippin’s partnership blossoms.

With an energetic and charming ensemble of players (Jenny Costa, Sheila Dexter, Amy Kraskouskas, Joe Hackler, and Hannah Reggio), this cast comes together and does a remarkable job of telling this valuable story.

The great work of the cast would be nothing without the work of others in the production team. The score, performed by musicians Misao Koyama on keyboard, James Patterson and Rich Hill on bass, and Chris Santos on drums, led by musical director Malcolm Granger, makes the show what it is. Choreographer Johanna Stipetic organized mesmerizing dance routines, and costume designer Tami Trask Good assembled spectacular, richly colored get-ups, each oozing with a whimsy perfectly suited to this story. This is the most expensive show Eventide has put on to date, and the investment is evident in the production quality.

This show is a must-see, encapsulating heavy and complicated facets of the human experience in a fun and engaging musical package. You won’t want to miss this wonderful performance!