Preview: 'Pippin' to parallel Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'

The Newtonite

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Freshman Jonathan Gomolka rehearses for “Pippin” in the auditorium.

by Peter Diamond
“Pippin,” a musical with a libretto by Roger O. Hirson and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, tells many stories. It is a war epic, a piece of historical fiction and a romantic comedy.

Seniors Pamela Chen and Sonya Douglas, who are directing Theatre Ink’s production of “Pippin,” which goes up Thursday, May 24 through Saturday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium, have given the musical a new identity by connecting its themes and major ideas to those of the classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

“Thematically, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and ‘Pippin’ go together surprisingly well,” said Chen. “Thematically, they’re very similar in that they both involve a person exploring a new, bizarre world.”

In the upcoming musical, junior Chris D’Agostino plays Pippin, the title role, who is the fictitious son of a world conqueror played by sophomore Ezra Dulit-Greenberg. Pippin leaves home to fulfill his desires, including sexual satisfaction, power and true love.

Other actors in this production include senior Mia Bracciale, who plays Pippin’s love interest Catherine; senior Emily Paley, who plays Fastrada, an evil queen; and senior Jon Paul Roby, who plays the Leading Player, a mysterious narrator.

Alternatively, in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a young girl falls down a rabbit hole and ends up in a fantastical land of talking flowers, a Mad Hatter and a very tardy rabbit.

Hints of Wonderland, the wild world created by Carroll, will be evident throughout “Pippin” both visually and directorially, said Chen.

“We’re integrating Wonderland through the set, lights, costumes and props,” said Chen. “We have also added a couple scenes, such as Pippin falling down the rabbit hole at the beginning of the show, to solidify this connection for the audience.”

Visually, chess pieces and images from playing cards are visible in the scenery and in many actors’ costumes as a reference to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, according to Chen.

Although Wonderland will add a level of absurdity to the story, the audience will be able to connect to Pippin’s journey and enjoy the show’s theatricality, according to Chen.

“For those who have never seen ‘Pippin’ before, this show will be special because it combines spectacle with substance,” she said. “There’s a huge, theatrical, glitzy element to ‘Pippin.’ However, the audience will also leave the theater reflecting on their own lives and what is important to their own sense of fulfillment.”

Senior Maddie Cetlin is the production’s choreographer and senior Melissa Weikart is the music director.

Tickets are $7 and sold at