As if one cultural outing this weekend wasn't enough, we headed up to the burbs today to catch the final showing of Pippin, the 70's pop musical. The show was produced by the Music Theater Company, a small troupe with an equally tiny performance space in Highland Park. Call me an elitist, but I usually ignore the suburban theater scene in favor of what's going on in the city, but Justin's parents had seen this particular production of Pippin, and were adamant that we needed to see it as well.
For reasons that previously eluded me, Pippin seems to hold a place in the heart of virtually every musical theater enthusiast I know, though I had never seen it, and had little interest in doing so. Still, Justin was persistent, and eventually found some heavily discounted tickets on Goldstar, so I decided to suck it up and head back to my hometown to see it.
Just as with Fela!, I ended up being glad that I let Justin talk me into checking out Pippin. While I wasn't crazy about the story arc of the show, and had little sympathy for Pippin himself as a main character (frankly, I found his quest for complete fulfillment at all times to be narcissistic and annoying), the show had several standout songs. Plus, the Musical Theater Company had cast an extremely talented group of performers, who were well-suited to their roles. The singing was superb (which is a rare thing in smaller productions, I've found), and the dancing was top-notch as well.
Predictably, for a small theater group with limited funds, the costumes were somewhat lacking, and looked to be pulled together out of the actors' closets in many cases. The set design was also quite minimalist, though not ineffective. I found myself a bit uncomfortable with the small scale of the theater space, in which our first row seats left us mere inches from the actors, and oftentimes the subjects of their eye contact, but that wasn't really their fault. I just prefer a less immersive theatrical experience.
Even so, the Music Theater Company's rendition of Pippin provided an excellent afternoon of entertainment. As long as we could secure seats that were a little farther back in the theater, I would gladly check out their offerings in the future, and I look forward to seeing what they tackle next.