“Pippin” challenges theatre department

Anna Kolosky, Staff Writer

A father and son from the Middle Ages are reimagined in UVM’s production of “Pippin.”

The theater department will debut its performance Feb. 27.

Junior Anna Cataldo said that “Pippin’s” music is what she loves about the musical and that it is one of her favorite shows because of the score.

“‘Pippin’ is probably one of my favorite shows because of the music,” Cataldo said. “It’s by the same guy who wrote ‘Wicked,’ and it’s a really good bridge between pop music and musical theater.”

“Pippin” tells the story of a Roman emperor’s son, now a young prince, who is searching for passion and adventure.

Stage manager McKenna Black, a senior, said she enjoys “Pippin” for its story and how relatable it is to a variety of people.

“Pippin’s story is a very common human story of, ‘What is my purpose?’” Black said. “To see that played out on stage, I think, will be very moving for a lot of people, especially those who like to think about that sort of thing.”

Black added that she is excited to see the finished product, since “Pippin” has proven to be one of their largest and most challenging shows.

“We have a total of 18 actors, and it’s a pretty substantial musical because it has a lot of moving parts,” Black said. “It’s testing, but really awesome.”

Black also added that “Pippin” has a lot of surprises and is a very over the top production.  

“We have a lot of surprising pieces that fly in, like signs or big drops,” Black said. “It’s a very technically heavy show and very flashy. It’s everyone’s concept of theater.”

Theatre department chair Gregory Ramos, “Pippin’s” director, said a lot of different factors go into deciding what show the theater department will perform.

“It’s a combination of a lot of things,” Ramos said. “In a four-year period, while a student is here, we want to expose them to a breadth of different kinds of theater experiences, so we try to touch all genres.”  

The theater department’s choices range from classics to contemporary dramas and musicals, giving students a variety of shows to participate in.

“One of the reasons we chose it was because students were excited about it,” Ramos said. “It has a lot of great roles for students to tackle, it was popular and we thought it would be a challenging show to put on from the design end.”

Additionally, Ramos said that the musical score of the show really stood out to him, and he hopes it will impress those who come to see it.

The theater department will typically do four productions a year. A one-act festival that is directed by students concludes the academic year.

With all of these shows to put on, the department works fast to plan out the performances, Ramos said.

“Pre-production for ‘Pippin’ started with the set designers in the fall semester,” he said. “Then we rehearse from the start of the semester to opening week, which is about five-and-a-half weeks.”

Every theater production is made up of various students from different colleges and majors.

“Students can come to theater department, talk to any faculty member about their interests and then we will get them in contact with the right people,” Ramos said.

Cataldo said that she has really enjoyed participating in the play and had a great time working with the cast of the show as well.

“I’ve enjoyed my role a lot, it’s probably my favorite role I’ve ever played.” Cataldo said. “I’ve enjoyed watching the other actors perform so much because everyone is so good in their roles.”

Ramos is excited for the UVM and Burlington community to come see the show and appreciate all of the hard work the students have put into it.

“I think it’s a great example of the quality of talent we have at UVM amongst the students,” Ramos said. “It is a good example of the caliber of artistic theatrical work we’re capable of, and I think it’s going to be a good showcase for our department and students.”


Disclaimer: The lead role of Pippin in “Pippin” is played by Alek Fleury, the photo editor of the Vermont Cynic.