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'Pippin' opens at Playhouse

January 12, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

kristinw@herald-mail.com

"Pippin," the musical comedy about a prince's search for grandeur and a fulfilling life, opens this weekend at the Washington County Playhouse.

With the show's well-known music by Stephen Schwartz, "Pippin" promises to be an entertaining show for audiences, cast members say.

"The music in it is probably one of the most beautiful scores I've ever heard," says Kelly Jenkins Moreland, who is the director of the production and plays the role of Frustrada, Pippin's "devious stepmother."

"Pippin" tells the story of a young prince, the son of King Charlemagne, who comes home from university in search of "something more" in life. Throughout the play, Pippin is in search of excitement and a sense of purpose as he wanders through multiple adventures.

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"He's very much the typical teenage guy experiencing all the changes in life," says Brandon Jimenez, a junior at North Hagerstown High School, who plays the lead character.

Pippin decides to try his hand at being a medieval knight, a lover and even a sovereign king. Throughout the play, he follows promises he makes in the lyrics of his opening song: "I've got to be where my spirit can run free," and "I promise not to waste my life on common pursuits."

In the end, Pippin's idealistic search brings him to a grand finale.

"There's a lot of really interesting twists and turns throughout the whole thing," Moreland says. "It's a great show for the teenage audience, but it should appeal to everybody."

Bob Fosse, the acclaimed choreographer known for his sexy, jazz dance style, was the original choreographer and director of "Pippin" in 1972.

"We've tried to recreate as much of it as possible," says Moreland of Fosse's choreography. "We've had to tone it down, but we've kept it in the same style."

"Pippin" is constructed as a show within a show. Zane Oberholzer Jr. plays the role of Leading Player, who acts as the show's narrator.

The show "is fun. It's very funny," Oberholzer says.

In addition to the adult cast, more than a dozen area high school and college students are part of the dinner theater cast.

"I'm impressed with the talent that I was able to get for this show," Moreland says.




If you go ...



WHAT: "Pippin" at the Washington County Playhouse

WHEN: Opens Friday, Jan. 13, and runs through Saturday, March 4. Dinner starting at 6 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; dinner starts at 1 p.m., show at 2:30 p.m. for Sunday matinees held on alternating weeks.

WHERE: Washington County Playhouse, 44 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: $29 adults; $25 for adults ages 62 and older and for students with a valid ID; $16 for children ages 12 and younger. Ticket price includes dinner and the show.

MORE: For reservations, call 301-739-7469.




Cast and crew



The cast of "Pippin" includes: Zane Oberholzer Jr. as Leading Player, Brandon Jimenez as Pippin, Earl Moreland Jr. as Charlemagne, Evan Mackenzie as Lewis, Kelly Moreland as Frustrada, Loretta Czerbinski as Bertha, Sidney Kelly as Cleo, Ashley Myers as Catherine, Shawn Martin as field marshall and ensemble member, Jeffrey Perryson as noble and ensemble member, Barbie Barvir as peasant and singer, Dustin Perrott as beggar and ensemble member, Robie Soto as soldier and ensemble member, Sarah Schofield as singer and Katherine Hoagland, Katie Williams, Sara Duncan, Maggie Schoen, Jessica Bacon and Regina Hadley as dancers.

The production crew includes: Kelly Moreland, director; Zane Oberholzer Jr., music director; Loretta Czerbinski, costumes; Earl Moreland Jr., set; Gillian Krammer, assistant to the director and general understudy; and Susan Martin and Loretta Czerbinski, tech.

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