North Central College - Naperville, IL

Senior musical "Pippin" bursts with show-stopping songs and dance

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North Central College students will present "Pippin," a hip, tongue-in-cheek fairy tale and winner of 11 Tony Awards by Oscar-winning composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Four performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. March 4, 5 and 6, and at 2 p.m. March 7 in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets are $15/adult and $10/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469). The story of "Pippin" takes place once upon a time, when a young prince Pippin longs to discover the secret of true happiness and fulfillment. He seeks it in the glories of the battlefield, the temptations of the flesh and the intrigues of political power (after disposing of his father King Charlemagne the Great). In the end, he finds it in the simple pleasures of home and family. "Pippin" opened on Broadway in 1972 and ran for 1,944 performances. Schwartz is known most recently as the composer and lyricist for "Wicked," the Broadway hit show now on a worldwide tour. And on Jan. 25, 2010, he was inducted in the Theatre Hall of Fame. Schwartz started his career by writing music and new lyrics for "Godspell," followed by "Pippin" and "The Magic Show." He wrote lyrics for the film scores of Disney's "Pocahontas" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," winning two Oscars for songs in both films. North Central's production of "Pippin" is directed, choreographed, staged and coordinated entirely by senior students majoring in musical theatre. Their faculty advisor and Fine Arts Director Brian Lynch says, "This musical is their capstone course. This creative team of seniors has to synthesize all they have learned, work in a leadership role with their peers and, unlike a term paper that can be late, open a finished production on a certain date, ready or not." Eight seniors started working together last spring, selecting the show they wanted to present, then holding auditions and rehearsals this school year. "It's such an amazing and odd experience to be on the other side of a musical," says co-director Maggie Smith of Downers Grove. "But I've learned so much, whether it's auditioning, or behavior, or how much little things change everything. Directing really helps you in the craft of acting as well." Co-choreographer Wesley Tucker of Mason City, Ill., says, "How many people can say their theatre program lets them direct a full-scale musical? We get to do just that in ‘Pippin' and the result is pretty amazing." The cast and crew for "Pippin" include: Cast part: Name, hometown, year, major Pippin: Taylor Martin of Madison, Wis., a junior majoring in music Catherine: Stephanie Rudakas of Valparaiso, Ind., a junior majoring in elementary education Fastrada: Heidi Buyck of Woodridge, a freshman majoring in musical theatre Berthe: Charlitha Charleston of Chicago, a senior majoring in music Theo: Kara Jones of San Antonio, Texas, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre Ensemble members: Sean Driscoll of Lemont, a senior majoring in theatre performance Garrett Lutz of Aurora, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre Dave Musselman of Woodridge, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre Tanner Smale of Elkhart, Ind., a sophomore majoring in musical theatre Lauren Smith of Byron, Ill., a sophomore majoring in psychology Angie Snodgrass of Naperville, a junior majoring in theatre performance Emma Van Ommeron of Lake Mills, Wis., a freshman majoring in musical theatre Colleen Beyler of Madison, Wis., a freshman majoring in musical theatre Crew: Name, hometown, year, major Co-director: Mandy Nousain of Muskegon, Mich., a senior majoring in musical theatre Co-director: Maggie Scott of Downers Grove, a senior majoring in musical theatre Choreographer: Wesley Tucker of Mason City, Ill., a senior majoring in musical theatre Choreographer: Meghan Mitchell of Warrenville, a senior majoring in musical theatre Music director: Andrea Larson of Stillman Valley, Ill., a senior majoring in musical theatre Stage manager: Jake Dewar of Downers Grove, a senior majoring in theatre performance Acting coach: Antonia Jankowski of Oak Forest, a senior majoring in theatre performance Pit orchestra director: Nico Nepomuceno of Bolingbrook, a senior majoring in musical theatre Assistant stage manager: Heather Motz of Bartlett, a freshman majoring in technical theatre North Central College offers majors in theatre performance, technical theatre or musical theater and minors in theatre or dance. A full range of acting and dance classes is available, as well as opportunities to direct a full-length production. Students of all majors can participate in musical and nonmusical performances, actor showcases and one-act plays and performances in the College's four theatre venues. Full-time professors and active professionals who are artist-teachers serve as faculty. For more information about North Central College's theatre programs visit www.northcentralcollege.edu/majors/theatre. This performance is one of many ongoing programs at North Central College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical productions, art exhibits and lectures, call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

02-11-2010