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 Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)

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PostSubject: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Thu Jan 15 2009, 07:50

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/125213.html

CTG/Deaf West's Pippin, with Arden, Gettelfinger, Giordano, Harris, Begins Jan. 15
By Andrew Gans
15 Jan 2009

The Center Theatre Group and Deaf West Theatre's production of Stephen Schwartz's Pippin, which kicks off the Mark Taper Forum's 2009 season, begins performances Jan. 15.

Directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun, the production will play the CTG/Mark Taper through March 15. Opening night is set for Jan. 25.

The production boasts both deaf and hearing actors, who will sign and sing.

Michael Arden (Big River, The Times They Are A-Changin'), a hearing actor, and Tyrone Giordano (Big River), a deaf actor, both play the title role at each performance. They are joined onstage by Ty Taylor as The Leading Player, Troy Kotsur as Charles, Sara Gettelfinger as Fastrada, Tony winner Harriet Harris as Berthe, Melissa van der Schyff as Catherine, James Royce Edwards as Lewis and Dan Callaway as the Voice of Charles. Nicolas Conway and José F. Lopez Jr. rotate in the role of Theo. The ensemble comprises Jonah Blechman, Rodrick Covington, TL Forsberg, Rebecca Ann Johnson, John McGinty, Anthony Natale, Aleks Pevec, Victoria Platt, Nikki Tomlinson, Alexandria Wailes.

Pippin features a book by Roger O. Hirson and a score by Stephen Schwartz. The musical, according to press notes, is "the captivating coming of age story about a young man's search for meaning in his life, as told by a lively band of troubadours in the Roman Empire. The episodic quest of Pippin, the son of the powerful Charlemagne, takes him through battlefields, orgies, revolution, and finally, love and domesticity, as he tries to find a place for his 'spirit to run free,' for his 'corner of the sky."

The production also features set and costume design by Tobin Ost, lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by Philip G. Allen, illusions by Jim Steinmeyer and music direction and arrangements by Steven Landau.

CTG and Deaf West first paired up in 2002 for Big River, which eventually played Broadway.

Tickets, which begin at $20, are available by calling (213) 628-2772 or by visiting www.CenterTheatreGroup.org. For the deaf community, call TDD (213) 680-4017 for tickets and information.
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Thu Jan 15 2009, 07:54

http://www.centertheatregroup.org/tickets/PIP_cast.aspx#sgettelfinger

Sara Gettelfinger
Fastrada, Player
Broadway: Seussical, The Boys From Syracuse, Nine (Carla), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Jolene), Grey Gardens (Little Edie Beale) at Playwrights Horizons. National Tours: Fosse. Other New York: Company (April) at the Helen Hayes, Carnival and Tenderloin at City Center Encores! and Anything Goes at Lincoln Center. Regional: Pippin (Fastrada) at Paperr Mill Playhouse. Film: Sex and the City. Television: Ed, Without a Trace, Guiding Light. Education: BFA, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Proud member of Actors’ Equity.
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Thu Jan 15 2009, 08:18

On the Center Theater Group site, there's a program for the show which features a pic of the cast. Sara is in the middle.
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Thu Jan 15 2009, 10:26

wauw thats great for Sara!
thx Regi for posting!
kisses Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Thu Jan 15 2009, 20:44

I'm really happy for her. I wish I could go see her but it's on the other side of the country. :lol:
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Wed Jan 28 2009, 11:10

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/01/review-pippin-a.html
Review: "Pippin" at the Mark Taper Forum
2:30 PM, January 26, 2009


“Pippin,” Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz’s 1972 musical, vivaciously invites audiences to join the fantastical journey of a rosy-cheeked prince famously looking for his “corner of the sky.” The show’s opening number shamelessly declares, “we've got magic to do, just for you,” and it’s as though jazz hands are beckoning you to a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Rising from rabbit holes in the stage, those dancing hands literally come to life in the often enchanting new production that opened Sunday at the Mark Taper Forum. Tracing parabolas in the air, they form a razzle-dazzle supporting cast, communicating via sign language and that more universal language of theatrical wizardry.

A joint venture between Center Theatre Group and Deaf West Theatre, this “Pippin,” directed and choreographed by Jeff Calhoun, hopes to follow the fortunes of “Big River,” the lauded Deaf West offering that proved a musical can sing and sign with equal aplomb.

The production, however, gets off to a bit of a shaky start. The ensemble, boasting a skimpily clad chorus, hits one overly emphatic note after another. But once the company eventually calms down, the staging becomes quite seductive with its unostentatious inventiveness and capacity for witty surprise.

Thanks to...

a catchy set of introspective pop tunes by Schwartz ("Wicked," "Godspell"), “Pippin” will always have a special place in the hearts of moody adolescents and tipsy piano bar regulars. But to have a professional life onstage, it needs not another song by Schwartz (the forgettable "Back Home Again" was freshly added) but a directorial stroke of genius to overcome Hirson’s scattershot book and the work’s overweening spirit of Hallmark self-discovery, which never lets you forget just how hokey the ’70s could be.

Bob Fosse was the real magician behind the original Broadway production, which ran for more than four years and added a couple more Tonys to his trove. Interestingly, there hasn’t been a Broadway revival, which hints at some inherent weakness in the material as well as a producing climate averse to simpler musical pleasures.

It also suggests that the right auteur hasn’t yet come around, though it’s not for lack of imaginative daring. (Tim Dang mixed Japanese animation and hip-hop in his East West Players production last spring.)

The acting in Calhoun’s production, which casts a few of the key roles with deaf actors who sign and hearing actors who sing and speak, is spotty. But verve is hardly in short supply.

Ty Taylor, who attempts to follow in the mesmerizing footsteps of Ben Vereen as the Leading Player, the show’s inexhaustible master of ceremonies and devilish tempter, commandeers the stage with his belter’s voice, muscular flesh and robust dynamism. His delivery is clobbering but ultimately sucks you in, like a toy boat in a tidal wave.

Michael Arden and Tyrone Giordano share the part of Pippin, Charlemagne’s heir who chases after self-fulfillment with a universe-testing boldness that recalls the naive exploits of Candide and Peer Gynt. The two young men, both of whom exude a fawn-like vulnerability, are warmly appealing if a tad unspecific.

Arden has an attractive voice, though he oversells the sentiment in “Corner of the Sky,” the title character’s fulsome anthem. Schwartz’s clichéd lyrics, filled with rambling rivers and flying eagles, don’t need any pushing. (A knowledge of sign language isn’t required to interpret the manual flutterings of this ditty.) And the most we get from Giordano, who softens Pippin’s benighted selfishness, is an affecting display of tenderness.

For a protagonist who murders his royal father, Charles (portrayed by Troy Kotsur and voiced by Dan Callaway, in one of the less effective instances of doubling), this sort of sunshiny interpretation can grow annoyingly winsome. Fortunately, there’s Sara Gettelfinger’s evil stepmother Fastrada to add a touch of vinegar. Dressed like a storybook queen, she’s a portrait of sinister cheer and maternal connivance, scheming all the while to catapult her Gorgeous George son Lewis (James Royce Edwards) to the throne.

Esteemed stage veteran Harriet Harris (“Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Cry-Baby”) makes an appearance as Berthe, Pippin’s bawdy grandmother, who teaches him that the “secret of life” is sex, an earthly reward that should be enjoyed as promiscuously as possible. “No Time at All” is the naughty crowd-pleasing number in which she asks the audience to join her in the chorus (“Oh, it’s time to start livin'/Time to take a little from the world we’re given”), though God help anyone who steps on one of her verses.

Harris, dishing up the diva delights, gives it her salty all. But what’s most memorable is the sprawling dress she wears concealing a crew of ready, willing and able leather men. Tobin Ost, who designed the colorful costumes as well as the Vegas-y sets, pulls off one ingenious coup de theatre after another.

The most visually entrancing moment occurs during the bedroom scene, in which Pippin, following his granny’s randy advice, decides to plunge headlong into erotic excess. Come-hither hands slide out from under the covers of a sensual bed, but pleasure quickly starts to resemble a nest of vipers. And Pippin, who has already been disillusioned by war, now must experience the dissatisfaction of lust before going on to realize the disappointment of revolution.

Naturally, the moral of the story is there’s no place like home, but what’s touching about “Pippin” is the sense that domestic contentment is something to be quietly achieved. Exhausted by his quests, Pippin has the good fortune to fall into a workaday routine with Catherine (an endearing Melissa van der Schyff), who has learned through the death of her husband that the gift of intimate companionship is more valuable than any other. Struggling to keep her farm together, this wealthy widow demonstrates to Pippin that limits can be transcended only when they are lovingly accepted.

Aw shucks, I know. But the enduring charm of this relaxed, seemingly improvisational show has a way of turning us into saps from a less jaded era.

-- Charles McNulty

‘Pippin,’ Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. (Call for exceptions). Ends March 15. $20 to $80. (213) 628-2772. Running time: 2 hours

Top photo: Ty Taylor as the Leading Player in "Pippin." Middle photo: Tyrone Giordano, left, and Michael Arden both play the title character. Bottom photo: Sara Gettelfinger as Fastrada. Photos by Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Wed Jan 28 2009, 12:29

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/film-reviews/theater-review-pippin-1003934533.story
Theater Review: Pippin
By Laurence Vittes, January 26, 2009 06:45 ET
Bottom Line: An occasionally extraordinary production but a mostly ordinary musical.
After the exhilarating success of "Sleeping Beauty Wakes" a few seasons ago at the Kirk Douglas, it was obvious that the audacious ingenuity and profound humanity of a DeafWest co-production -- featuring a mixed deaf and hearing cast and touched with a hint of Cirque du Soleil -- always will be a powerful, multidimensional theatrical experience. Despite the best efforts of the Deaf West Theatre cast and crew, however, this revival of the 1973 Broadway musical mostly fizzles.

It might be Stephen Schwartz's brightly colored but ultimately generic score. Or perhaps it's the fault of Roger O. Hirson's book about discovering the secret of life (simplify, simplify, simplify), which comes off as cut-rate "Candide." Only the character of Catherine (in an exceptionally eloquent, moving performance by Melissa van der Schyff) has any emotional content. And only the character of Charlemagne (brilliantly acted by Troy Kotsur in tandem with Dan Callaway) provides real comic content, merging the wit of Gilbert and Sullivan with the lascivious antics of Offenbach ("I wonder whether the fornicating," he muses, "is worth the fornicating I'm getting").

Working on a cramped, industrially bare stage with only a hint of Bob Fosse's exuberant, snazzy choreography, this surrealistic musical epic -- which begins with a Las Vegas magic show and visits the court of Charlemagne before settling down on the American prairie -- never gives much reason to care about the fate of the central character (earnestly acted by Tyrone Giordano, beautifully sung and spoken by Michael Arden). And we never get to know just how good Ty Taylor is in the Ben Vereen role of the Leading Player because his physical presence is marginalized, while the lighting inexplicably cuts him off at the knees so it's hard to enjoy the elegance and energy of his dancing.

There is no shortage of hard work from the multitalented cast, all of whom have to be either consummate actors, singers, signers, dancers or all of the above. But what worked for "Sleeping Beauty," which was a new work with no history of stars, slumps because, unfairly or not, none of the major players erases memories of Vereen, Jill Clayburgh or Irene Ryan, to name just a few.

This is potentially a great show for kiddies, unless parents are squeamish about such sequences as Pippin's adventures with a mixed-gender and highly suggestive sextet (emphasis on "sex") or the outrageous sexual antics and proclamations of Pippin's grandmother (Harriet Harris, with the right sense of enjoyment and entitlement but without a true belter's voice).

There's also lots of fun for the whole family in Tobin Ost's imaginative scenery and costumes. The turrets of Charlemagne's castle, for example, are a wonderful cross between missiles and crayons. And whether it's a refreshingly varied troupe of Vegas showgirls strutting their stuff in surprisingly provocative outfits, the fabulous Betty Furness look of the wicked queen (Sara Gettelfinger, adorable in her evilness), Pippin's wannabe king of a brother (James Royce Edwards) raising goofiness to an art form in his Siegfried and Roy mail and armor, Charlemagne's army in their glittery Flash Gordon uniforms or Charlemagne's hand-me-down ermine and purple robe, this is what makes theater so much fun.

Venue: Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles (Through March 15)
Cast: Ty Taylor, Michael Arden, Tyrone Giordano, Sara Gettelfinger, Harriet Harris, James Royce Edwards, Troy Kotsur, Dan Callaway, Melissa van der Schyff
Book: Roger O. Hirson
Music and lyrics: Stephen Schwartz
Director-choreographer: Jeff Calhoun
Music direction and arrangements: Steven Landau
Set and costume designer: Tobin Ost
Lighting designer: Donald Holder
Sound designer: Philip G. Allen
Illusion designer: Jim Steinmeyer
Casting: Bonnie Grisan and Erika Sellin
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Wed Jan 28 2009, 12:33

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/pippin-calhoun-big-2293004-broadway-moment
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
'Pippin' shows its age, charms
Deaf West revival at Taper uses signing, singing.
By PAUL HODGINS
The Orange County Register
Comments 0| Recommend 1

Broadway was not a pretty place as the Age of Aquarius faded. Musical theater struggled for new relevance as the Me Generation rejected the time-worn aesthetic of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

That period gave rise to well-meaning experiments, many of which failed; all of them are tricky to revive because, as Lawrence Kasdan once remarked after making "The Big Chill," that moment in our cultural history is hard to portray without seeming like parody.

You've got to give Deaf West Theatre kudos for tackling "Pippin," one of the musical-theater icons of the time. Its co-production with Center Theatre Group, which opened Sunday at the Mark Taper Forum, probably won't equal its inspired interpretation of "Big River" in popularity or critical acclaim. But this "Pippin" has its own charms.

Choreographer/director Jeff Calhoun, the mastermind behind "Big River," works the same kind of magic with "Pippin," using a combination of signing and singing performers and splitting some roles into two parts to present his story clearly to hearing-impaired listeners.

"Pippin" ran for almost 2,000 performances on Broadway from 1972-77, pulling in the masses mainly because of Bob Fosse's come-hither choreography and Ben Vereen's flashy Leading Player rather than Stephen Schwartz's pleasant but unmemorable songs or Roger O. Hirson's rambling book.

There's a good reason why this shaggy little puppy has never had a Broadway revival. It's a period piece, with a simplistic '70s message and a not-very-likeable protagonist. Pippin, the eldest son of France's mighty ruler, Charlemagne, is obsessed with a problem that consumes only children of privilege: how to give his life meaning.

Pippin embarks on a years-long search for the right career choice. War – surprise – is not the answer, despite the martial exhortations of his brawny but dim half-brother, Lewis. Pippin reconsiders that choice amid a rainstorm of severed limbs and heads.

Pippin's randy grandmother, Berthe, encourages the impressionable lad to try the pleasures of the flesh, but an orgy leaves him feeling empty. (In one of this production's funniest and most inventive scenes, the frolic is a riot of undulating arms and legs sprouting from a topsy-turvy bed that first seduce then nearly smother our hero.)

Perhaps a little regicide will set things right; Pippin is convinced he'd make a better leader than his universally hated father. But after murdering the tyrant and taking over the kingship, Pippin discovers the mantle of responsibility is too vexing. Seeing Charlemagne's despotism had its purpose, he revivifies his dad and eagerly hands back the crown.

Late in the story, Pippin finally stumbles onto the secret to happiness in Catherine, a kindly widow (charmingly played by Melissa van der Schyff) with a large estate. Miraculously, she tolerates his moody restlessness and appears at a crucial moment to remind Pippin that what really matters in life is a good relationship with a true-blue person. Duh! I suppose that was big news in 1972.

The story's sappy, simplistic platitudes won't matter to Deaf West fans. They're going to see Calhoun's wizardry, and they won't be disappointed.

Michael Arden and Tyrone Giordano share the role of Pippin (the former speaks and sings, the latter signs), and it's a seamless match. Giordano owns a puppy dog magnetism, and Arden, ably directed by Calhoun, disappears into the background even when he's singing, so our attention is usually focused on Giordano.

Troy Kotsur, who was a hulking, memorable presence as Pap/Duke in "Big River," is less effective as Charlemagne, mainly because the role is cartoonish. Ditto Ty Taylor as the Leading Player, who has a rock star's impressive pipes but doesn't give new meaning to the part's glittering, godlike emptiness.

More effective is Sara Gettelfinger as the king's conniving wife, Fastrada (her stiletto-tipped bustier could pluck a man's eyes out) and the stentorian Harriet Harris, a familiar face on Broadway, as Berthe. Costume designer Tobin Ost's finest moment comes when a bevy of hunky male servants pop out from under the old cougar's billowing gown and she transforms into a Leisure World dominatrix.

Calhoun has concocted a Vegas-y world. Ost's scenic design looks initially like a truck stop but cleverly transforms by means of rolling set pieces and props into disparate locales, from a bucolic farm with rolling fields to a high-tech funeral pyre. The female chorus looks like casino showgirls.

Neither this frou-frou nor the creators' awkward attempts to place quotation marks around their material ("Pippin's" players frequently break the fourth wall) can disguise what even 1970s audiences knew: "Pippin" is pleasant claptrap. But the script and the revival boast plenty of talent flexing its considerable muscles.

Schwartz fans will probably notice hints of "Godspell" in the songs – "Finale" sounds uncannily like "Day by Day."

And those who appreciate Calhoun's singular talent will love the little touches that mark this "Pippin" as his own. When all other memories fade, you'll remember the undulating waves of disembodied hands that pop out of various unexpected places, like Calhoun's exuberant and irrepressible spirit, signing and singing "Pippin's" songs into our hearts.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7979 or phodgins@ocregister.com
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Wed Jan 28 2009, 12:39

http://westend.broadwayworld.com/article/Photo_Coverage_Pippin_Opens_at_Taper_in_LA_20090126

Photo Coverage: 'Pippin' Opens at Taper in LA
Los Angeles welcomed Pippin, the latest production from Center Theatre Group and Deaf West Theatre, Sunday, January 25 at the Mark Taper Forum. The new production displays a mix of music, voice, American Sign Lanuage and dance.

"Pippin is the captivating coming of age story about a young man’s search for meaning in his life, as told by a lively band of troubadours in the Roman Empire," state press notes. "The episodic quest of Pippin, the son of the powerful Charlemagne, takes him through battlefields, orgies, revolution, and finally, love and domesticity, as he tries to find a place for his 'spirit to run free,' for his 'corner of the sky.'"

The Los Angeles cast includes Michael Arden, Jonah Blechman, Dan Callaway, Bryan Terrell Clark, Nicolas Conway, Rodrick Covington, James Royce Edwards, TL Forsberg, Sara Gettelfinger, Tyrone Giordano, Harriet Harris, Rebecca Ann Johnson, Troy Kotsur, José F. Lopez, Jr., John McGinty, Anthony Natale, Aleks Pevec, Victoria Platt, Ty Taylor, Nikki Tomlinson, Melissa Van Der Schyff and Alexandria Wailes.

Tony Award winning, the musical is composed by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell) and is directed by Jeff Calhoun. Deaf West Theatre is best known to Los Angeles audiences for their CTG productions of Big River, at the Taper and Sleeping Beauty Wakes at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Pippin runs at the Mark Taper Forum through March 15, 2009. Tickets can be purchased online at www.centertheatregroup.org or at the box office located at 135 N. Grand Ave, at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Photos by ©Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging.

Michael Arden and Sara


Sara, Tyrone Giordano, Director Jeff Calhoun and Michael Arden
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Sun Feb 22 2009, 17:14

Thanks for the information...

xxx
Angelica
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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Wed Feb 03 2010, 15:20





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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Mon Mar 29 2010, 21:27

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PostSubject: Re: Sara to perform in Pippin (January 15-March 15, 2009)   Tue Jun 22 2010, 15:39

http://www.backstage.com/bso/news_reviews/la/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003935215
Pippin
by Les Spindle


Jan 28, 2009



The existential journey of Pippin, son of medieval emperor Charlemagne, seems unlikely subject matter for a musical. Yet the offbeat 1972 extravaganza, energized by Stephen Schwartz's snappy score and the razzle-dazzle of director-choreographer Bob Fosse, enjoyed a long Broadway run. Under the deft guidance of Jeff Calhoun, the vehicle is re-imagined for a combination of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing performers, adhering to the style that's proven highly successful in Calhoun's previous Deaf West Theatre adaptations. Though inspired touches are abundant, refining and streamlining would help this endeavor reach its full potential.

This tuner uses a Pirandelloesque presentational framework, perching between the campy and the bittersweet. To its credit, this production takes a slightly darker tack. Pippin's episodic adventures require a strong directorial vision to integrate the show's disparate scenes and songs. A new layer is added here by two actors -- deaf Tyrone Giordano and hearing Michael Arden -- sharing the titular role, mostly appearing side by side. This puts an interesting spin on the show's central theme of Pippin finding himself, suggesting separate sides to the character's personality and fitting the show's imagery of theatrical magic. Another device -- snapping fingers and expressive hands periodically arising from the floor -- likewise enhances the American Sign Language elements. The production is at its least engaging in dialogue-heavy passages; there's a palpable drop in energy past the midway point of the two-hour, intermissionless show.

Thankfully, the portrayals of Giordano and Arden are marked with humor, heart, and grace, and Arden's singing voice is resplendent. The divine Harriet Harris as Pippin's exiled grandmother Berthe makes irresistible "No Time At All." Ty Taylor dazzles with his singing and dancing prowess and sly characterization as the Leading Player. Deaf actor Troy Kotsur excels as the tyrannical ruler; Dan Callaway skillfully provides his speaking and singing voice. Lending terrific support are Sara Gettelfinger as Pippin's conniving stepmother, James Royce Edwards as his feeble-brained stepbrother, and Melissa van der Schyff as Pippin's love interest Catherine, sung in this version with a country-western twang.

The design elements are visually beguiling, and Steven Landau's music direction and arrangements soar. Calhoun's fresh interpretation of the closing moments -- smartly avoiding a traditional upbeat finale -- work in the show's favor. Further retooling could bring even more resonance to this vintage favorite.



Presented by Center Theatre Group and Deaf West Theatre at the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.

Jan. 25–March 15. Tue.–Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. (Exceptions: Sat. 8:30 p.m., Jan. 31; Tue., 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17. Dark Feb. 18–20.)

(213) 628-2772 or Center Theatre Group.

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