Polk State College will present “Pippin” at its Fine Arts Theatre, beginning with a free preview Nov. 15.
The production tells the story of Pippin, the disenchanted son of French Emperor Charlemagne. Pippin dreams of achieving greatness, and even murders his father to gain control of the throne, but eventually finds true happiness in the love of a woman and her child.
“Pippin,” based on the book by Roger O. Hirson, began a five-year run on Broadway in 1972, according to Internet Broadway Database. The next year, it was a Tony Award favorite, racking up 10 nominations and five wins, including a Best Actor in a Musical nod for Ben Vereen, who went on to receive an Emmy nomination for his role in “Roots.”
“Pippin” has not been performed at Polk State College in 30 years, since the early days of its theater program. Its return means an opportunity for audience members to enjoy a timeless story and lots of singing and dancing, said producer Paul Carbonell.
“It’s a great storyline about passing down power and influence and what kind of choices the next generation makes with that transference,” said Carbonell, also a professor of speech and theater. “Some issues are kind of parallel to things going on now. The audience will get to draw its own conclusions about how it’s relevant.
“The set is going to look amazing, the costumes will be great and the students are going to be singing and dancing their hearts out.”
The cast and crew of “Pippin” is listed here, along with their place of residence:
Pippin: Christopher Rigby, Winter Haven
Leading Player: Jason Fortin, Winter Haven
Charlemagne: Brennan Montague, Winter Haven
Fastrada: Jennifer Marshall, Bartow
Lewis: Gregory Yang, Winter Haven
Berthe: Lesley Payne, Winter Haven
Catherine: Jessica Eastridge, Lakeland
Theo: Ashton Payne, Winter Haven
Ensemble players: Leisa Englert, Winter Haven; Kadesh Lewis, Winter Haven; Ashlyn Kearns, Lakeland; Christopher McKennon, Winter Haven; Taylor Montague, Winter Haven; Sergio Perez, Winter Haven; Emmanuel Stewart, Winter Haven; Kutisha Smith, Haines City; Kristin Wasmund, Winter Haven
In addition to Carbonell, the production staff and crew includes:
Director and scenic designer: Thom Altman, Bartow
Music director: Virginia Zechiel, Winter Haven
Technical director and lighting designer: James Sharp, Winter Haven
Assistant technical director: Ben Selser, Winter Haven
Stage manager and scenic painter: Elizabeth Frith, Auburndale
Assistant stage managers: Sydney Reynolds, Lake Alfred; Devon Maver, Auburndale; Cassey Lanier, Auburndale
Choreographer: Jennifer Marshall, Bartow
Dance captains: Leisa Englert, Winter Haven; Christopher McKennon, Winter Haven
Costume designer: Camille McClellan, Lakeland
Props mistress: Christa Barber, Winter Haven
Scenic painters: Sophia Martinez, Winter Haven; Emmanuel Stewart, Winter Haven; Jessica Glover, Lakeland; Rick Marceau, Auburndale; Shelby Phelps, Winter Haven; Jean St Cyr, Winter Haven; Robert Gilchrist, Winter Haven
Theatrical production: Jessica Ortiz, Winter Haven; Phillip Spangler, Davenport; Joshua Turner, Auburndale; Christa Barber, Winter Haven; Kenisha Barrett, Winter Haven; Tyre Brooks, Bartow; Kelci Curry, Winter Haven; Marirufina Jimenez, Dundee; Jennifer Kellet, Auburndale; Mayra Salabarria, Winter Haven; Sam Dubberly, Winter Haven
The running crew includes:
Sound board operator: Francis Fortin, Winter Haven
Light board operator: Charlie Sigler, Winter Haven
Spotlight operators: Michael King, Winter Haven
Dresser: Jessica Glover, Lakeland
Running Crew: Christa Barber, Winter Haven; Samuel Hunter, Winter Haven
The orchestra players include:
Britney Gotsch, flute, Winter Haven
Andrew Strong, clarinet, Winter Haven
Chris Larson, trombone, Winter Haven
Daniel Clewis, bass guitar, Winter Haven
Emily Rodgers, percussion, Winter Haven
Derek Swearengin, keyboard 2, Winter Haven
David Mesrobian, drums, Lakeland
David Gurr, electric guitar, Lake Alfred
The Nov. 15 free preview is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. “Pippin” will also be offered at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16-19, and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 20.
The Fine Arts Theatre is located on the Winter Haven campus, 999 Ave. H N.E.
Admission is free for high school students and Polk State College students, faculty and staff. Tickets are $5 for the general public. The box office opens 30 minutes prior to each show.
To purchase tickets in advance, contact Sharon Bevis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-297-1050.