Dear Middle and High School Students,
Hope your summer is going well.
After extensive conversation and examination, the Performing Arts Team is excited to announce our upcoming Winter Season, 2019-2020.
High School: Pippin
First and foremost, thank you all for your input in the play selection process. In the spirit of transparency, as the PA Team conversed further, it became clear to all of us that we are unable to produce Beauty and the Beast this year due to design and costume staffing challenges. We know this comes as a disappointment for some, in particular many of our incoming Seniors who voted for it. As a viable alternative, we’ve decided to select Pippin as our High School Winter Show for 2019/20. Pippin is a great play, edgy, funny, provocative, with serious themes concerning identity and our place in the universe. It will provide plenty for us to dig into.
The synopsis of the play as stated on the Musical Theatre International Web Site: “…Once upon a time, the young prince Pippin longed to discover the secret of true happiness and fulfillment. Pippin didn’t want to waste his life in pursuit of common things. He knew there must be something completely fulfilling out there–something that can’t be found in books. He sought it in the glories of the battlefield, the temptations of the senses and the intrigues of political power (after disposing of his father King Charlemagne the Great). In the end, he finds it in the simple pleasures of home and family.”
It is no surprise that Pippin currently is in resurgence on Broadway. Although the play is certainly a product of the freethinking younger generations of the sixties and early seventies, the themes still clearly resonate. The brilliance of this innovative musical is that within the glitz and flash the undercurrent and journey concerns the existential and spiritual search for true meaning in life.
In the form of a fractured fairy tale presented by a troupe of traveling performers, the play has an improvisational feel to it and juxtaposes scenes of great comedy and high energy with stripped down raw vulnerability and reflection. The musical score ranges from belting or tender ballad to 70’s funk. One of the strongest selling points for our school is Pippin features a very strong, active ensemble. There will be opportunity for many to play a variety of roles.
As the opening song decrees, “Join Us”- the process promises to be quite a thrilling ride.
Admittedly, many of us don’t really know the show and may check online for various YouTube postings. We’d recommend you look at the newer versions (2013 updated is great) as the 80’s production is certainly a bit dated in approach. Also check the below link to a High School performance. Please know our rendition will be unique to us.
Middle School: Seussical Jr.
(Some of the below extracted from the Music Theatre International Web Site) Most of have enjoyed the wonderful writings of Dr. Seuss, from the “Cat in the Hat” to the classic “Green Eggs and Ham”. Who would have thought you’d rediscover them once again in a successful Broadway musical? In this “fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza” appear favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Amayzing Mayzie and the Whos of Whoville! These classic colorful tales are brought together by Jojo, a young “thinker of strange and wonderful thinks.”
A fairly new play, Seussical has become an immensely popular musical to produce, particularly for Middle and High Schools. It is no wonder why. Within the highly entertaining and rhythmic form, relevant, profound and subtle themes unfold- not only the power of the imagination, and the determination of love, but also the need for compassion and humanity, that “a person’s a person no matter how small.” The score emerges as a Seussian like gumbo of musical styles, ranging from Latin to pop, swing to gospel, and R&B to funk.
As a clarification to the “Junior” aspect, Music Theatre International offers renditions of established musicals in slightly shortened versions with the musical score catered to younger voices in terms of complexity as well as pitch and range. We have produced Junior versions over the years and while the format is extremely workable, the process is the same as for any show.
As those familiar with our Middle School plays know, we set our bar high, asking all performers, directors and designers to fully invest, playfully explore and collaborate respectfully and humanely. In particular for our Middle School students, bring your excitement, healthy curiosity, and, as the playbill promises, “let your toes tap, your fingers snap, and your imagination run wild”.
See you all in September!
The PA Team
Erika, Erin, Gitanjali, Mercedes, and Sampad