It was theater-in-the-round with seats set up even on stage surrounding aerial silks, trapezes and rings hanging from the ceiling in the center of the great hall.
Actors, already in character, mingled with audience members and carried on fanciful conversations with them.
Of course, this being Topanga, the dog capital of the world, there was even a cute pooch running around whose name actually is Pippin.
The musical tells the story of a young prince longing to find meaning in his life, who embarks on great adventures peopled with a dizzying array of characters that simultaneously support and taunt him. Although tamed down a bit from the adult version, there was still an enthralling mixture of comedy and tragedy, medieval times and ‘60s psychedelia all with jaw-dropping acrobatics, flying trapezes, and astonishing aerial antics on the silks.
It’s safe to say that Pippin was the most ambitious production of Director Karen Cooke and her merry band of TYS kids yet. It was a risk that really paid off.
As the play opens with the song “Magic to Do” we’re introduced to the Leading Players, Lily Bleu Andrew and Gabbi Beauvais, who evilly orchestrate much of the drama.
Pippin’s brash stepmother and fashionista, Queen Fastrada (Cassandra Sage Briskman), who only wants to get her dim-witted son, Lewis, into power, opens the show with “Magic to Do.”
Meanwhile, Pippin (Dylan Williams) is trying to figure out his place in the world when he sings “Corner of the Sky.”
His father, King Charles (Caleb Blue Briskman), only has brief, awkward conversations with his intellectual son, Pippin, while Lewis, his half brother (Indy Leary) oozes insincerity when he talks to Pippin.
His adventures begin when Pippin persuades King Charles to let him go into battle.
Tap Dancers (Mikayla Williams, India Schmitt and Sadie Radinsky) portray the staccato sounds of battle in the song “Glory.”
The hapless Pippin, still feeling his life has no meaning, seeks advice from his irrepressible, wacky Grandma Bertha (Lola Stockard) who has plenty of advice to give as she belts out “No Time at All.”
Pippin tries hard to be king but, along with his minions, no one is happy with his new role. When the Leading Players get Pippin out of his role as king, he temporarily feels like he’s “On the Right Track.”
But not for long, because the love interest has to appear in the person of Catherine (Sadie Radinsky).
When Catherine finds Pippin collapsed in despair, she introduces herself with the song, “Kind of Woman.”
Her son, Theo (Henry Miller) appears, desolate that his pet duck has died.
Pippin and Catherine try to comfort him and love starts to grow between them.
The grand finale has Pippin on the trapeze as all the players urge him to do the ultimate and jump into the flames and end it all.
Pippin refuses as Catherine and Theo stand by him and everyone lives happily ever after.
Along with the cast, Pippin the pup also came out for his curtain call.
Kristy Beauvais choreographed the dancing and aerial and runs Focus Fish.