This Ain’t Your Mamma’s “Pippin”

PippinBUT she and  the entire family will love it!  Although the story, music, and Bob Fosse’s choreography remain intact, this amped up, high-flying, death-defying revival of the 1970s era musical by Stephen Schwartz is a joyride you won’t soon forget.  The acrobatics are stunning — it’s like watching a science fiction movie on stage.  You’ll leave wondering — how did they do that?! Can someone really do that with their body?!

All this to say, don’t miss the Broadway tour of Pippin. It’s every bit as good as the Broadway production. In the title role,  Kyle Dean Massey is a quadruple threat! His voice is flawless! It should be illegal for one person to possess this much talent.

At 63 you won’t believe what Lucie Arnaz (Berthe) does on a trapeze. She’s the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in real life and Pippin’s grandmother in the show.

During my interview with Kyle Dean Massey (available on demand below), he mentioned that Pippin is the first show he’s been in where the ensemble is without a doubt as integral as the main characters.  He’s right – there are no tangential roles in this Pippin.

I’m not sure if anyone can top Patina Miller, who won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actress in a musical for her performance as the Leading Player in the Broadway revival of Pippin. It isn’t Sasha Allen, who was in the top 5 on Season 4 of NBC’s The Voice. She does not have “the voice” for this role. After the disastrous performances of  American Idol  wannabes Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I’m beginning to think “making it” on a reality show doesn’t  necessarily mean you’re cut out to be on the Great White Way.  Ms. Allen is an excellent dancer.  She’s probably better suited for Dancing with the Stars.

Pippin is on stage through Sunday, January 18th at RBTL’s Auditorium Theatre in Rochester, New York.  Tickets available at RBTL.org.  The entire tour schedule is at Pippinthemusical.com/tour.

 

Hello! It’s Time for a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream with David Larsen

bom_logoFrom the creators of South Park, and winner of nine Tony Awards, including best musical, The Book of Mormon is taking the nation by storm.   The second Broadway tour stars David Larsen in the role of Elder Kevin Price.  He Joined host Robert Hammond on Stage Notes to discuss his enormous role and why The Book of Mormon is a sweeping success. Special thanks to Broadway star Tom Deckman for arranging this interview with David.

Follow Robert on Twitter @stagenotes.

LISTEN to full program. Aired week of 9/21/14

As the show opens we are introduced to the LDS Church Missionary Training Centre where Elder Price and his classmates of missionaries-to-be demonstrate their daily attempts to convert the public to Mormonism through door to door campaigns with the song “Hello.” Elder Price is looking forward to his two year mission, and prays he will be posted to Orlando, the world of Disney Land. Instead, he and Elder Arnold Cunningham, a nerdy overweight missionary played by Cody Jamison Strand, are posted to Uganda.  At Salt Lake City Airport, spunky Elder Price talks about how he hopes to change the world and make a difference to the people of Uganda, aided somewhat by the incompetent Elder Cunningham.

David Larsen in the role of Elder Kevin Price

South Park creators-writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Tony-winning Avenue Q songwriter Robert Lopez collaborated on the script and score to the musical, which earned Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical.

Co-directed by Parker and Casey Nicholaw, The Book of Mormon opened to critical acclaim March 24, 2011, at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Both earned Tony Awards for their work and repeat their duties for the tour.

David Larsen

Broadway: Hands on a Hardbody (Chris Alvaro), American Idiot (Tunny), Billy Elliot (Tony u/s), Good Vibrations (Bobby). TV: Boston Public (3 episode guest star). Regional: Leading roles at Hollywood Bowl, Marriott Lincolnshire, St. Louis Rep, KC Starlight, Bay Street Theatre, and Goodspeed. Contributor for Just Desserts NYC. Oregon native with a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University.  Follow David on Twitter @dlarsen22.

That’s a Show Tune?

POP aSpread the word!!  Stage Notes is officially bi-coastal beginning Sunday (9/7) at 6 PM (PST) on KWXY 107.3, The Sound of the Desert in Palm Springs, California. I’m thrilled Stage Notes will be a part of KWXY’s fantastic programming.  Live stream at KWXY.com. 

Some of Broadway’s best show tunes are not just heard on the stage.There are some that really stand out, permeating pop culture, touching a nerve, and inspiring even the shyest to belt the lyrics.  Crooners  from the Rat Pack, Rosemary Clooney, and Tony Bennett would warble their own versions of top tunes from current shows and all of America would listen to them on the airwaves.  Join host Robert Hammond for this week’s Stage Notes.  He’ll feature some of Broadway’s best “pop” songs.

In the 1960s Broadway took a backseat to rock groups as teenagers dominated record sales. The Beatles recorded a memorable version of “Till There Was You” from The Music Man and Louis Armstrong’s Dixieland spin on “Hello, Dolly” was a hit, but the theater was no longer a major player in the record industry. Today the trend is changing with songs from Les Meserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked seeping into the mainstream through TV shows like Glee and American Idol.

Follow Robert on Twitter @stagenotes