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Broadway Revival of PIPPIN Gets a Little Help From TRACES

January 30, 2013

The cast of The American Repertory Theater’s revival of PIPPIN. Courtesy of Broadway World.

Back in 2008, Charlotte fell in love with the awe-inspiring acrobatics and infectious energy of Traces after it played a six-week run in McGlohon Theater.  Following the tour’s launch in the Queen City, Traces went on to be named one of Time Magazine‘s Top 10 of 2011, and the group performed on NBC’s hit summer reality series, “America’s Got Talent,” two years in a row.

The admiration and enthusiasm for the show continues as the Co-Director and Co-Choreographer for Traces, Gypsy Snider, was enlisted by A.R.T. artistic director Diane Paulus to incorporate circus acrobatics into her bold new staging of the iconic 1970s pop musical, Pippin.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson, Pippin follows young prince Pippin as he is encouraged by a mysterious group of performers, led by a Leading Player, to embark on a dangerous journey. Bob Fosse directed the original 1972 Broadway production, which featured memorable songs like “Corner of the Sky,” “Magic To Do” and “Glory.”

In an interview with Broadway World, Snider says she created high-flying circus feats to emphasize the young Pippin’s harrowing journey in search of personal fulfillment.

Image from TRACES.

“The acrobatics are not incorporated as skills but as a way to seduce Pippin to a life less ordinary,” Snider explains. “The pull is to ‘join us,’ to push Pippin further and further on his quest. But when he meets Catherine (a widow with a young son), and she asks, ‘Can you help me?’ he faces an existential crisis. Will he be enticed to go out in a literal blaze of glory or give up everything to care for others who need him? In the end maybe real life just isn’t all that thrilling. And maybe that’s okay.” CLICK HERE to read the full story.

It’s essentially “Pippin meets Traces,” because infusing the show with Traces-like elements was a big reason producers chose to do this revival.

And everyone must be really liking what they’re seeing because The American Repertory Theater’s production of Pippin will transfer to Broadway this spring.  Directed by Diane Paulus, the production will begin performances on March 23 at the Music Box Theatre. Opening night is set for April 25.  CLICK HERE to read Playbill.com’s story on Pippin‘s returning to Broadway.

Charlotte will get a chance to see an updated version of Traces, when the spectacularly anti-spectacle modern circus returns to Charlotte May 7-19 in the intimate Knight Theater at Levine Center for the ArtsCLICK HERE for more information on Traces.

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