Review: 'Pippin' features talented, comical actors

The Newtonite


by Peter Diamond
Pippin, the wide-eyed son of King Charles played by junior Chris D’Agostino, leaves the kingdom he calls home and finds himself in a Wonderland-based alternate reality, a world filled with beautiful women, gigantic chess pieces and zany, mysterious characters all from Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Seniors Pamela Chen and Sonya Maria Douglas directed “Pippin,” a musical with a libretto by Roger O. Hirson and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, which goes up tonight through Saturday night at 7:30 in the auditorium, which tells this story.
In this wild musical, D’Agostino portrays sophomore Ezra Dulit-Greenberg plays Pippin’s royal father. Unlike his army-bound brother Lewis, played by junior Billy Cohen, Pippin does not feel as though he has enough life experience to decide his future.
D’Agostino endearingly plays a nervous adolescent. Additionally, his gorgeous tenor voice enhances Schwartz’s music.
As King Charles, Dulit-Greenberg has a booming and overwhelming presence. He commands the stage with controlled energy and moments of humor.
Cohen’s performance as Lewis is absolutely hilarious. His character is filled with comedic arrogance, grabbing the audience’s attention and sparking laughter.
Pippin leaves home and, like the protagonist of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, he ends up in Wonderland.
Thereafter, the production draws many parallels to Carroll’s fantastical novel. Each “Pippin” character represents a character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Amongst the characters is sophomore Alyssa Steffen, who plays Pippin’s optimistic and youthful grandmother Berthe.
Berthe is intended to parallel the Mad Hatter, a character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland who befriends Alice, speaks in riddles and introduces Alice to the mystical Wonderland. Like the Mad Hatter, Steffen portrays whimsy as she sings one of the show’s most memorable songs, “No Time at All.”
In “No Time at All,” Berthe describes her humorous and positive take on life, exclaiming, “Oh, it’s time to start living, time to take a little of this world we’re given.”
After further exploration of Wonderland and himself, Pippin falls in love with Catherine, an attractive lady played by senior Mia Bracciale, who has a son named Theo, played by freshman Ella Laniado. Theo is attached to his one and only companion, a pet duck.
Bracciale’s magnificent voice shines through in her fantastic duet with D’Agostino entitled “Love Song.” This piece identifies the little joys of romance, such as “sitting on the floor and talking ’til dawn.”
Laniado portrays a six-year-old boy with surprising accuracy. When the duck dies, she performs a heartbreaking scene of loss and mournfulness.
Senior Jon Paul Roby narrates the entire story as the dark, mysterious Leading Player. Wearing a painted-on purple smile, he parallels the Cheshire Cat. He tells Pippin’s story through spectacular song and dance. Roby is amongst the strongest dancers in the production, making challenging choreography by senior Maddie Cetlin seem effortless. His strong tenor voice is equally wonderful.
The scenery, designed by sophomore Max Proskauer, includes formidable playing cards and chess pieces on furniture, a reference to Wonderland.
To see this magical and enjoyable musical, buy tickets at theatreink.net or outside the cafeteria during all lunches.