Student Story: Pippin Enchants Audience At Rancocas Valley Regional High School

Review By: Joanna Karpiel, Clayton High School

Rancocas Valley Regional High School students pose during rehearsal of Pippin. Photo credit: Rancocas Valley Regional High School.

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — Did you know that Charlemagne’s son danced Fosse while searching for his life’s purpose? Maybe that fact isn’t entirely true and won’t be found in your history books, but myth became reality this weekend at Rancocas Valley Regional High School’s production of Pippin.

Pippin is an enchanting musical written by Bob Fosse and Roger O. Hirson and composed by Stephen Schwartz. The show follows Prince Pippin, son of Charlemagne, as he searches for his life’s purpose. The show is led by the Leading Player, who acts as a director for Pippin and the figures in his life.

The production overall was very memorable. There were notable performances across the board, no matter how small a part. The ensemble’s vocals were outstanding and completed the show. The cast constantly portrayed the mood of the scene without hesitation.

The Leading Player (Ryan Hans) acts as a director of the people in Pippin’s life, and he consistently captured the attention of the audience. Him and Pippin (Antoine Brown) have very different characters but brought them both to life fully. Even though it seemed Pippin needed some time on stage to warm up, whatever mishaps happened were smoothed over with ease. The third lead of the show, Catherine (Sarah Willits), waltzed in in Act Two, bringing with her amazing vocals and acting skills.

The leads may have the biggest roles, but the supporting cast also had attention holding moments. Pippin’s father Charles (Jason Blain), and brother Lewis (Kevin Turkheimer) created many comedic moments within the show. It seems that Pippin’s whole family was blessed with comedic timing, as Berthe (Rosalena Garcia), his grandmother, and Fastrada (Joelle Darragh), his stepmother, were also constantly stealing laughs from the audience. Fastrada’s peppy performance in Spread a Little Sunshine made the audience turn a blind eye to the incestuous undertones of the song sung with Lewis.

The costumes of the characters were also very notable. They weren’t extravagant, but simply portrayed the characters. From Charles “Worlds Okayest Dad” shirt, to the ensemble’s businessman outfits in War is a Science, I was always waiting to see what would be worn next. Some iconic costumes, like the Leading Players shimmery jacket, were hung on mannequins in the back, which solidified the concept that all characters were just actors in Pippin’s life.

Overall, the cast and crew of Pippin did a fantastic job with the show, and I look forward to seeing what Red Devil Dramatics do next.

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