The Saline High School Drama Club’s production of Pippin opened to enthusiastic applause Friday at the Ellen E. Ewing Performing Arts Center.
Pippin is directed by Rebecca Groeb and it stars Jake White, Dominic Dorsett and Allie Pataro.
The show continues with performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens.
The high school production is based on Stephen Schwartz’s Broadway show that premiered in 1972, starring Ben Vereen, John Rubinstein and Jill Clayburgh. Schwartz’s play was adapted from Robert Hirson’s book of the same name.
Pippen, played wonderfully by Jake White, is a young man on a quest for fulfillment. He meets a traveling troupe of actors who offer to play out his life, giving Pippin the role an ambitious prince who challenges his father’s reign. Through the characters, Pippin can explore some of his fancies.
Dominic Dorset played “Leading Player,” originally played by Tony winner Ben Vereen. With his Jackson 5 moves, Dorset was eminently watchable. It was fascinating to see the way even young children in the audience craned their necks to follow Dorset around the stage. There’s a special stage talent there.
Allie Pataro sparkled as Catherine, a widow and mother who founds Pippen at a low point, gives him work on her farm and eventually falls in love with him. Collin Williams delivered a couple of great scenes as King Charles. Meredith Zehnder, playing the King’s wife and Pippin’s stepmother, and Ethan Hanks, playing Pippin’s half-brother, delivered a savagely funny number. Stefania Gomez, playing Berthe, Pippin’s grandmother, was remarkable in her major scene.
Led by White and Dorset, the singers were wonderful. They were backed by a beautiful chorus and a terrific pit orchestra. The featured dancers looked as good as the chorus sounded, as they flitted across the stage in their colorful dresses and outfits. The set was not particularly ornate, but the minimalist set worked because its mood changed seamlessly with the tenor of the play.
Pippin is a thought-provoking and curious play (After you’ve seen it, check this out). The Saline High School cast and crew should be commended for the way in which they’ve brought it to the stage.
Parents of younger children may wish to know there are a few scenes with suggestive innuendo, and they may be surprised at the shouting of an expletive.