WhatsOnStage Logo
Home link

Five spellbinding reasons to see Pippin live at Charing Cross Theatre

The amazing creative team and Stephen Schwartz himself are here to put you "On the Right Track"!

© Edward Johnson

Playing at Charing Cross Theatre until 5 September only - don't miss the groundbreaking musical in this brand-new, highly anticipated revival. Plus for a limited time only save up to £25* on tickets.

1. What makes Pippin relevant and special for a 2021 audience?

Stephen Schwartz (original music and lyrics): The choices facing young people today are even more profuse and confusing than when the show was written in the early '70s. Today's youth truly confront "a world they never made" and face the question of how to live in it and whether or not they can change it. This production of Pippin, by reflecting back the spirit of the 70's in a fun, fresh and theatrical way, gives a revealing perspective and insight on trying to cope with contemporary society.

Watch the show trailer now:

2. Why did you chose to set Pippin in a 60s/70s-esque landscape and how will that help the show resonate today?

Steven Dexter (director): In researching the origins of the show, I discovered that while Stephen Schwartz's Pippin originally opened on Broadway in October 1972 and is considered to be a '70s musical, it was actually originally written for the Scotch 'n' Soda club by Schwartz while at Carnegie Mellon University in 1967.

1967 was the Summer of Love, Flower power was at its peak, the War was raging in Vietnam. 1967 was also the year Hair opened on Broadway. The themes of Pippin, the style of lyrics and the music all seemed to point to setting the production in the year it was written. There was a huge rise in youth culture. It was the era of sex, drugs and pop revolution, but also of anti-war protest and inner-city riots. And the more the young pushed forward, the more the adults pushed back. Coming out of lockdowns during Covid times it feels like there is a similar rebellious culture developing. But ultimately the show is about living in the moment and enjoying the simple things in life. Something we all maybe need at this point in time.

© Edward Johnson

3. What is it, do you think, about the music and lyrics in the Pippin that means they're still loved nearly 50 years after they were originally written? What can audiences expect when listening to the production at the Charing Cross Theatre?

Michael Bradley (musical supervisor): This production has been intentionally stripped back in its concept, allowing an audience to really find the heart of the piece from the off. Albeit, set in a storytelling circle in the '60s/'70s, this production still resonates with the youth of today through many of its narratives, lyrics and melodies. The show explores many genres, subject matters and real-life circumstances making it that much more accessible to an audience, especially in this particular climate. Like much of Schwartz's work, Pippin is no different in that it sounds iconically and stylistic his. Together with a small band, the cast fill the space with an enormous, exciting sound bringing this piece to life with a burst of energy.

Watch the cast perform "Magic To Do"

4. What was your approach to the choreography and movement? What were the challenges doing this for a cast of eight?

Nick Winston (choreographer): For me the company are the demons inside Pippin's head as he contemplates suicide - pulling him in all directions. I wanted the cast to seduce the audience as much as they were Pippin, using movement from the '60s with dark undertones reflecting The Peoples Temple and the Vietnam War. The challenge with eight is creating something visually dynamic, whilst making sure they can still deliver the vocals. Also, being in the round I had to make sure there was someone for every audience member to connect to at all times.

© Edward Johnson

5. Why should audiences come and see Pippin this summer? What make it different to other productions currently in the West End?

Ed Johnson (producer): To me, at its core the show is about the celebration of life and taking stock of those big (or small) milestones in life. If the past year has taught us anything, it is to slow down, appreciate what we have that's most important to us and to make the most of out of every opportunity. Going to see Pippin will give you that life affirming positivity and leave you with a great sense of jubilation, so in light of the hardships we've all gone through it feels very apt to watch a story like this and raise your spirits.

Having the audience on all sides of the action really places them in the heart of the story. The fantastic ensemble cast lead the audience through the narrative scene by scene in a way that makes them feel part of the journey. As soon as you walk into the theatre space the set surrounds you and you're transported to the '60s.

Watch audience reactions to the show:

Playing at Charing Cross Theatre until 5 September only - don't miss the groundbreaking musical in this brand-new, highly anticipated revival!