"Pippin"at the Fifth

I went to see the 5th Avenue Theater's production of "Pippin" last night.

Pretty good production, wonderful minimalist sets and the typical great 5th Avenue talent (Keith Byron Kirk as the Leading Player was especially good).

Pippin's an adult show, with adult themes (though not as adult as Hair), I wouldn't take small kids to it, but I loved it (Pippin's one of my all time favorite shows, I saw it in 1970's at Proctor's Theater in Schenectady with Ben Vereen and William Katt (the same cast as is on the video)).

I utterly loved "War is a Science", the image of generals dancing in office chairs was utterly perfect (including Condoleeza Rice).


In this production, they made one change to the ending that totally blew me away.

SPOILER WARNING (for a 30 year old show):

Normally at the end of Pippin, Catherine turns to Pippin and asks "How do you feel?", and Pippin responds "Trapped but happy".

In this production, Theo (Catherine's son) walks to the center of the empty stage and starts singing a reprise of "Corner of the Sky".  Upon hearing this, the Leading Player and the rest of the cast come out and surround Theo singing a chorus of "Magic to do".


I was astounded.  This one change to the ending totally changed the flavor of the show making it significantly darker - in the original ending, you feel like Pippin has compromised his belief in being extraordinary for a simpler life, but with the new ending, the Players lie in wait to undermine wheoever feels their life should be extraordinary.

Comments (7)

  1. Anonymous says:


    Pippin’s one of my all time favorite shows,


    Moi aussi.


    I have a friend in the D.C. area who hated it, and actually walked out on a local performance.  It takes all kinds.



    I saw it in 1970’s at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady with Ben Vereen and William Katt


    Oh, you lucky &amp;epithet;!


  2. Valorie absolutely hated the show, she loved the music, the sets, the performances, but she despised the plot.

    We spent some time talking about it, her feeling was that it was a series of short stories strung together by some dialog from the leading player, but in which the protagonist learns essentially nothing.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I saw the HBO production when I was very young and didn’t quite understand all the inneudeno going on.  It still remains one of my favoriate musicals.

    I passed your comments about the different ending onto my mother and sister, both of whom also love the play.

    I’d love to see it with that change to the ending.  I also would have liked to have seen that production.

  4. I read the wikipedia page on pippin after writing this, apparently the new ending was added after the theatrical run ended at the request of the publishers.  They thought the original ending was "flat" and wanted something with a bit more pizazz.

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