Monday, August 04, 2008

Pippin

Tin Pan Alley
July 11 - August 10, 2008

Review by peanutduck

Pippin is easily among the worst musicals conceived. That aside (if possible), costumes titillate, and Shannon’s choreography embodies sex, circus, and twice, wow. Other gems: Juggler (Blair), Catherine (Boccumini), Berthe (Kimball). Pippin (Bond), Leading Player (Boothe) sometimes off-key; direction overplays irony. Tin Pan Alley’s debut is imperfect, but not unpromising.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have heard from people that this is going to be a great show.
I look forward to seeing it.

Anonymous said...

And I "have heard from people" that it's going to be a trainwreck, but I'll reserve my own opinion until I see the actual show.

Darren said...

Good Luck with your new compnay. Have a great run! - Darren

Anonymous said...

i love rebecca kimbal. can't wait!

Anonymous said...

A surprising fact: both founders Tin Pan Alley live out of state; are they only going to be producing during summer vacation?

David is currently pursuing a BFA in Musical Theater from Illinois Wesleyan University

Stevie currently resides in New York City where she spends her time auditioning, training, and studying at NYU

Stevie said...

So as a sort of "welcome" to all of you fine theatre lovers, Tin Pan Alley is proud to announce that we have an exclusive offer for pdxbackstagers and followspotters to celebrate our first performance ever - $10 tickets to Pippin! Simply go to www.tinpanalleytheatrepdx.com, click on "Buy Tickets", choose the Pippin performance for 7/12 (aka tonight, I need to go to sleep soon), pick ANY seat you'd like, and when it asks for a code, simply input "pdxbackstage" and you'll automatically be charged only $10 a ticket! That's half off the original face value! I promise you, it's worth it, but if you choose to think otherwise, lets call it an hour and 45 minutes of high quality air conditioning :)
But seriously, I'd like to think that we have a great show on our hands, and we'd love to share it with the theatre community as a sort of "thank you" for your support. All we ask in exchange is word of mouth! So please, purchase your tickets right now - we'd love to have a full house for our opening. If you have friends who want to go, feel free to purchase on their behalf and make them buy you dinner beforehand (or at least, you know, have them pay you back).
Thanks again and hope to see you all at the theatre,
-Stevie Boothe, Managing Director of Tin Pan Alley Theatre Company

Anonymous said...

Tonights opening was amazing!!!! Great work everyone!!!

Anonymous said...

Saw the show tonight. Great performances, band, costumes and choreography. Excellent use of the space and cast. Be sure to get there early to be entertained by the ushers. Loved Pippin. Don't miss this one.

Anonymous said...

Disclaimer: I absolutely HATE this show, and was reluctant to go but a friend wanted to get a few of us together to support the new company in town (and for 10 bucks, had to go). This show was one of the most entertaining I've seen for a long time. I'd love to say there was a weak link in the cast (since I usually start my posts out that way), but there really wasn't. Really enjoyed Stephanie Houston, Rebecca Kimball, Ron Harmon, Stevie Boothe, and Natalie Boccimini especially. Pippin had a great voice, but I felt he was given odd direction. Choreography and vocals were top notch, and really, it was just a fun show. Extremely talented ensemble, and everyone looked like they were having a ball. Do I still hate the show itself? Yes, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself at this particular production. Brava Tin Pan Alley!
Oh, and on an ending note, it seems that one of the pre-requisites to getting cast in this show as a female was to have certain large ... 'assets' up above. I'm not complaining, but wow.

Anonymous said...

I saw this show last night.
WOW. This show was full of talent all around. Great job cast and crew.

Anonymous said...

That was trippy stuff!

Opening was shaky, but the show recovered nicely.

What's up with no bows?

Anonymous said...

I'll second the "why no bows"...

Also, Stevie, your watch must be running slow, because the show (at least opening night) clocked in over 2 hours (the first act alone is almost 1:30)

The cast was hit and miss; Pippin himself was strong, as was his father, mother, and grandmother. The love interest committed to her outrageousness, but I wonder of that was her choice or the director; funny, but almost in her own show.

Why, oh why have the duck be puppeted by a separate performer? The boy and Pippin could have done it just fine.

The choreography was great; especially having that many bodies at once on a small stage and not colliding with each other. The interpretive sex dance was fun.

The projection was annoying; well produced, but annoying due to its placement (my neck is still pissed about that one).

Anonymous said...

As mentioned above, the cast was very talented. The live musicians added enormously to the voice talent, the lighting and set and costumes and makeup were also really well done. For opening night there were very few problems, most involved the mixing of voice and music in the sound system, but it really wasn't too distracting.

But what's the deal with the curtain call? There was no curtain call, which made the ending seem just a little clunky.

Go see this show, it's fantastic. I'm already planning a night for Annie Warbucks.

Anonymous said...

The choreography was great. The band was wonderful. Great work from Ron H., most of the ensemble, the boy playing Pippin, and the chick playing his love interest. Steph H. also delightful as ever.

Mediocre work from Ms. Boothe... she could have sold the role, but projected an indifference to really entertaining for the audience.

Hopefully in the future, when casting a show, nepotism won't sway the producers.

Don't let set pieces upstage the actors.

- Addison DeWitt

Anonymous said...

Fun play and well casted. The quirky characters added to the enjoyment once I got the hang of the plot. Band was too loud to catch all of the leading player's vocals as well as her rapid dialogue. Pip of a production with lots of enthusiastic talent. I am going to see it a second time.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic show. But I have to ask, WHEN are they going to fix the sound in that space?! I only worry for Third Rail next season. The band was completely overpowering the vocals throughout the first act and I could barely hear the opening number, causing my husband and I to not fully understand the show until about half way through. They must have fixed it because the sound became much clearer in the second act, but I had real difficulty hearing Boothe and Kimball especially during the first act. I had seen Kimball in Tommy with Live On Stage so I know she has some pipes, and I saw Boothe perform at an Our House Benefit back in the winter, and she nearly blew our her mic BECAUSE she was so loud with her belt, so that my husband and I confused. I'm not sure who did the sound, but they need to fix it. There were a lot of confused people around me because they couldn't hear the beginning scene at all, which we assumed was something of disclaimer/opener. I think I may catch it again now having a slight idea of what it's about.
Overall though, magnificent show, and all involved should be very proud!

Anonymous said...

NO CURTAIN CALL ?? oN OPENING NIGHT THE AUDIENCE SAT AND WAITED AND WAITED AND WAITED SOME MORE. VERY DISAPPOINTING !
PUT A 'TOP HAT' AND DECENT 'BATON' ON THE LEAD PLAYER SO SHE WILL LOOK MORE LIKE THE LEAD PLAYER !

Anonymous said...

Solid opening night!

Pippin had a really nice tenor. His acting seemed a bit contrived, but that's the way the script is written, so it's really not his fault.

Bad, ackward start. Got much better after about 15 minutes.

Charlamagne (spelling?) was great. He had a great sense of comedic timing, and the "great in bed" line was a killer.

Katerine had a great voice, and the over-the-top choice was interesting. Hadn't seen it done that way before.

Nice show. Will get better with more performances.

followspot said...

Regarding the lack of curtain call: defunkt theatre, occasionally a few other companies in town and many across the country, choose to not have a curtain call. It is interesting to consider the effect this has on the audience and why a company may choose this out-of-the norm conclusion.

Anonymous said...

The ensemble MADE this show.
The leads were good, but the ensemble put on a show that blew me away.

Anonymous said...

I was a bit confused with the direction. To me, and this is a piece near and dear to my heart, Leading Player should be played more over the top (but within reason), whereas Catherine should really be the only normal one. Pippin seemed to have been given odd direction as well, so I wonder what the director had envisioned. I too noticed Boothe's indifference to the audience, but I caught her performance in Seussical when my child was over at NWCT, and I have to say, she had the most presence up there, which leads me to believe this may have been direction. I had no real problem with her, I just felt like she wasn't "there." Stephanie Heuston of course was fantastic with this, perfectly cast, and in my opinion, how Fastrada should be performed. I just thought the tactics carried out by Pippin, Leading Player, and Catherine were a bit odd, so I'm really curious about the director's vision. Am I alone in thinking that Catherine should be the only normal one?

Anonymous said...

I feel that Catherine should be the only normal one when she starts to feel something for Pippin. She is the only performer who breaks away from that ultimate goal of putting on the best performance because of her new love for this man "pippin".
In regards to Stevie, I think the role just wasn't for her. I too saw her in Seussical and shows at Lakewood. The range of the piece was just not written for her.

Anonymous said...

To me, Leading Player NEEDS to be male. There's just something about the role that doesn't quite fit a female, not only vocally, but how the character is written as well. Very few females I know could do that score justice (which is why there has only ever been one female on Broadway playing the role), and it might just be because I have Vereen's voice stuck in my head, but I will always envision a male voice with Vereen's tonality in that role.

That being said, I look forward to seeing the show again later on the run when (hopefully) the tech kinks are worked out.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the posts about male leading players.

I saw this show when it toured a few years back, and this leading player didn't provide anything for the story.

Maybe it was the direction, but I felt that she wasn't even there.

And yes, Ben Vareen will always be the best leading player.

Anonymous said...

For me, this particular production went COMPLETELY against what Pippin usually is by means of how Catherine, Pippin, and Leading Player were conveyed. Since it's not just one of them, but three, I feel like it may be the direction slightly at fault. Or not fault necessarily, but at question. We're season subscribers to Lakewood and I have seen both the Pippin and Leading Player in various ensembles there, and they both have MUCH more presence than they're letting on in this. I guess I found myself thinking that it was direction then that led them to perform as they were. My husband and I were thinking about how we could explain it, and the best we could come up with was Tim Burton's Pippin. It has a very Burton feel, which I don't know if I like, but looking at it from that standpoint, we collectively agreed that some choices worked, even if we didn't care much for them.

Anonymous said...

This production may not be as pleasing to those who prefer the status quo type of boy meets girl production but it has great appeal for those who are young of mind and spirit. Wonderful cast, music, ensemble and fun acrobatics of the cast as they wander about the stage and aisles before the play opens. There wasn't a bad actor in the group! Pippin was a perfect innocent but once he discovers love and purpose, I think he could play his role with a more mature confidence that he lacked before. There is nothing more appealing and admirable than a man who has an honest self-assurance that comes from finding out who he is and where he is going and who can unashamedly confess his love. Also, J.P. Latchlaw's portrayal of Lewis was terrific and shouldn't be overlooked. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Saw the show for the second time tonight on a whim, hoping that all opening night jitters were gone - and they were. All of the mic-ing issues were solved, and everyone sounded FANTASTIC. I truly felt like I was watching a different show, and a better one, at that. Pippin, Leading Player, and Catherine were all much more comfortable in their respective roles. Didn't care for the two latter on opening tonight, but they changed my opinions tonight. LP was much more comfortable, I could hear her, and the finale improved/changed substantially. Catherine seemed much more comfortable in the acting department, and her voice was as clear as I remembered it. Really, for those of you who saw it opening, you should see it again. A much cleaner, BETTER show, BRAVO! Catching Annie Warbucks tomorrow, and am hoping I'm as impressed with it as I am with Pippin. Go see this show!

Anonymous said...

It feels like a mediocre school production: The chorus can sing okay, but the leads are shaky; the costume design has no rhyme or reason; nobody can find their light. It all feels forced and overeager to please.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear to the last anon. a good high school level production. So far, no "value added" in terms of any rationale for why the company exists. What exactly is the mission? These types of shows are being done by several houses around town - and on a much higher level. Not just talking about funding, which they clearly lack - but vision, direction, artistry - there's nothing new here - no need or niche being filled. The only company to do 2 shows in rep? Big whoop. I'd rather see one show done well.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that, Anon 5:02. I think I agree with you on most of it - but the choreography stood out to me as top notch. You don't get that kind of creative, interesting and well executed choreography at most of the theatres around here.

So I guess I see "value added" there.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the pre-show circus. The light's were incredibly dim and it was quite hard finding my seat. And then i was being pulled by one of the actors. It was unsafe. Someone fell on opening night on their way down the stairs. I think the problem with the preshow circus is not only is it unsafe, but the beginning is so mysterious and the ensemble is on basically the whole time thus after watching them do interesting circus stuff for a while on stage before the show rids the shock and awe that theater gives when they introduce characters. And your so tired of seeing the ensemble after that. (Except the adorable Molly Blodgett.)

Anonymous said...

People fall down in that theater all the time. It's not the show or the lighting, it's the World Trade Center. The stairs are at weird angles and badly lit. Somebody fell the night I saw Wild Party.

What is the obsession everyone has with the age of this cast? These are not teenagers doing a show. I believe there are only one or two cast members who are not above legal drinking age (sorry Tanner!). Everyone in the cast that I know personally is in their mid-to-late 20's with a few exceptions where people are over 40 (sorry Ron and Rebecca). This seems to be pretty standard cast age for a dance musical.

So why are all the reviews acting like it's a bunch of High School kids putting on a play? Everybody in the show looks about the same age as the cast of a Lakewood musical (except for the audience - who's a whole lot younger!)

And why does the reviews go on and on about how Stevie and David (the shows' producers) are from "out of town", like they are interlopers on our theater scene. Both Stevie and David grew up here in Portland and have been involved in Portland theater for many years (Stevie mostly at Lakewood, David mostly at MJCC). They both happen to be going to college out of state right now, but they both "live" in Portland, spend their summers here with their families, etc. Tin Pan Alley is a Portland theater company and we should be welcoming them and encouraging them (just like we do with all the other new companies here on Followspot, right? Because everyone knows Followspot is the place where theater people come together to support their community and encourage fellow artists to grow!)

ABM said...

"So why are all the reviews acting like it's a bunch of High School kids putting on a play?"

I believe that you answered your own question.

As far as people being dubious of the company's founders. . . I think we'd all welcome them into the theatre community as young artists looking to work in town. Neither has participated on that level as adults or has any substantial experience or credibility. Neither has really experienced or gotten to know the community in which they claim to be filing a void. I think some people find that mildly offensive.

Anonymous said...

They have credibility as young actors and in order to establish credibilty as adult performers you need to start somewhere.
I believe starting this company was a step in that direction.
In regards to accepting them with open arms, I feel like there is some pent up tension and agression that is being put on them because they are doing as young adults what most of us cant even do in a lifetime, they have worked their buts off gaining support all over town, now it would be nice if they could some from everyone else.

Anonymous said...

They are young theater people in their early twenties. They are supposed to be starting companies and should be full of void filling energy and hubris. They are also from here and going to school in other cities. That's another thing your supposed to do, go away and bring something back to your home base.

They have hired good people and deserve a round of applause for their effort even if you are not happy with the finished product. In terms of supporting theater, people should support new efforts and new works if you want to see a theater scene thrive.

Way to go Stevie and David. I look forward to your future efforts on any stage.

Sam A. Mowry

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed myself at this one. Highly recommended, if nothing else to see all of the youngish (sorry Ron and Rebecca) talent that Portland has to offer. Ensemble truly makes the show, which I think is a rare and beautiful thing amongst theatre performances. Wonderful performances from Connor Bond, Stephanie Heuston, and Stevie Boothe especially. Only depressing thing was seeing a crowd of 35 on a Saturday night, but I guess with seven performances a week between the two shows, attendance is expected to be spread out. You won't be disappointed!

felix said...

we as a company have had the normal problems that any production will experience. but you cannot deny the effort and energy these cast, crew and band members have given to their project. It has been both alot of work and alot of joy seeing a group of talented people come together as a team of entertainers. we have a great time with pippin...hope you will too.

Anonymous said...

I'd say this show was about as good as the material allowed it to be.

The show, especially in the second act when the plot was supposed to carry it, felt contrived and pointless.

Without the incredible talents of the ensemble, the show would have fallen flat. However, the dancing and singing abilities of the chorus saved it.

Well done!

Travis C. Patterson said...

Here is the deal on ticket discounts for the final weekend of performances:

ANNIE WARBUCKS: For each full price adult ticket purchased ($20), you can get 1 free youth ticket. This can be done through 3 methods. 1) PREFERRED METHOD -- Buy tickets online through our website, www.tinpanalleytheatrepdx.com. Follow the buy tickets link for ANNIE WARBUCKS. Indicate the number of seats for each person type and select the seats from the seating chart. To get the discount, type the word "orphan" (without the quotation marks) in the box next to CODE and click on ACCEPT. This will make each youth ticket free when it's accompanied by a full price adult ticket. 2) Buy tickets by phone by contacting our box office at 503-697-6215. 3) Buy tickets at the door, if still available.

PIPPIN: Two-for-one tickets will be available for all remaining performances. These can be purchased through 3 methods. 1) PREFERRED METHOD -- Buy tickets online through our website, www.tinpanalleytheatrepdx.com. Follow the buy tickets link for PIPPIN. Indicate the number of seats for each person type and select the seats from the seating chart. To get the discount, type the word "magic" (without the quotation marks) in the box next to CODE and click on ACCEPT. This will make each second ticket free when it's accompanied by a full price ticket of greater or equal value. 2) Buy tickets by phone by contacting our box office at 503-697-6215. 3) Buy tickets at the door, if still available.

Hope to see you there!