Pippin Through The Eyes of My Daughter
When I was presented with the opportunity to attend Pippin’s opening night with Broadway San Jose I jumped as I’ve always loved going to the theater. Getting swept away by the powerful singing, amazing sets and the music that just envelops you is right up my alley. I debated bringing my 8-year-old daughter Nora as she’d need to stay up past her bedtime (on a school night! Gasp!). I also read that some of the content of Pippin might not be appropriate for younger audiences (some bad language and more “risqué” scenes). In the end, I decided to bring her and it was a magical night that we will both treasure forever.
From the moment the curtain was raised, Nora was drawn in by the charismatic Leading Player, a ringmaster character who helps to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince who struggles to find his place in the world. The Leading Player invites the audience to join her under the big top where acrobats fly through the air and perform amazing feats of strength and balance. These high-flying stunts weave their way through the whole show which makes for a very visually stimulating performance. Even when Pippin decides to go to war to impress his father, King Charles, the war scenes take on a comedic air as they are filled with circus tricks and knife throwing stunts.
When he decides that war is not for him, Pippin journeys to visit his grandmother, Berthe, who has been exiled to the countryside by Pippin’s stepmother. After sharing his woes with her, Berthe tells Pippin that he needs to lighten up and live a little. Nora’s favorite part of the show was when Berthe (performed by Adrienne Barbeau who parents might recognize from TV’s “Maude”) rips off her peasant dress while singing “No Time At All” and hops aboard the lap of one of the well-muscled players to perform acrobatics on a hula hoop suspended from the ceiling. The audience is encouraged to sing along to the chorus and the words are projected on the set complete with the bouncing ball to help you follow along. Such fun! Nora cheered and even gave some enthusiastic fist pumps at the end of this scene.
The second act continues to entertain with a little bit of magic, many laugh out loud moments and circus theatrics. I was surprised by how much the story really held Nora’s attention. As I had been warned, there was a scene where Pippin is seduced by scantily dressed women and men. The innuendos seemed to go over her head most likely due to the constant movement of the actors on stage and I was relieved that it ended up being a non-issue for me as a parent (after I explained that the women were wearing body suits, not just paint on their naked bodies. Ha!).
The show ended and Nora leapt from her seat to cheer for all the performers. She is still talking about her favorite parts of the show which include magic tricks like the body-less talking head. I was so happy that I made the decision to take her with me. Parents should take into consideration the maturity of their children before deciding to take them to see Pippin (the suggested minimum age for patrons is 8).
The show runs about two and a half hours including one intermission. Pippin is showing at the Center for the Performing Arts on:
Wed., Jan 6 at 7:30pm
Thu., Jan. 7 at 7:30pm
Fri., Jan. 8 at 8pm
Sat, Jan. 9 at 2pm and 8pm
Sun., Jan. 10 at 6:30pm
Next up on the Broadway San Jose schedule is the family-favorite, The Wizard of Oz, showing on the following dates:
Fri., Jan. 29 at 8pm
Sat., Jan. 30 at 2pm and 8pm
Sun., Jan. 31 at 1pm and 630pm
Tue., Feb. 2 at 730pm
Wed., Feb. 3 at 730pm
Thu., Feb. 4 at 730pm