I went to see “Pippin” last night at the Music Box Theatre. This revival has been running for a while but I’m glad I waited to see this cast.
I’m old enough to have seen the curly-haired, cherub-like John Rubinstein play the title in the original Broadway production in 1972 and now, all snowy-haired, he’s playing Pippin’s father and doing it beautifully. Priscilla Lopez—I saw her “feel nothing” as Morales in the original cast of “A Chorus Line” in 1975—is playing the grandmother.
Having seen both those performers in their youth made me realize I had aged right along with them. The young man playing Pippin now, Kyle Dean Massey, is remarkable and, yes, sexy in the role. I have admired him since I saw him when I went back to see “Next to Normal” and later found out he’s not only a southerner like me—he’s from Arkansas, I’m from Mississippi—but also an out gay man. The whole cast is great; among them, Ciara Renee as the Leading Player, Charlotte d’Ambroise as Fastrada, and especially Rachel Bay Jones as Catherine.
I went with a bit of a chip on my shoulder thinking the show wouldn’t have aged well—unlike Rubinstein and Lopez—but thanks to director Diane Paulus, I think it’s better than the original. Paulus took the Leading Player’s opening number, “Magic to Do,” as her mission statement and didn’t just revive this musical. She magically re-imagined it.
Not only has “Pippin” gotten better, however. Here is Kyle Dean Massey telling other young LGBT people it can get better for them as well.