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Creative Casting Puts New Spin On 'Pippin' At Kweskin Theatre In Stamford

Seen here in rehearsal for 'Pippin' at Curtain Call's Kweskin Theatre, are Patrick Agonito (center) as the title character and Kristen Muller (left) and Dante DiFederico as leading players.
Seen here in rehearsal for 'Pippin' at Curtain Call's Kweskin Theatre, are Patrick Agonito (center) as the title character and Kristen Muller (left) and Dante DiFederico as leading players. Photo Credit: Contributed
Seen here in rehearsal for 'Pippin' at Curtain Call's Kweskin Theatre, are Patrick Agonito (center) as the title character and Kristen Muller (left) and Dante DiFederico as leading players.
Seen here in rehearsal for 'Pippin' at Curtain Call's Kweskin Theatre, are Patrick Agonito (center) as the title character and Kristen Muller (left) and Dante DiFederico as leading players. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. — "Pippin" has been thrilling audiences since 1972, when it won five Tony Award, with its unforgettable score by Connecticut resident Stephen Schwartz.

And now the classic musical will return to Connecticut, with performances at The Kweskin Theatre in Stamford from Aug. 2 through Aug. 12.

"Pippin" tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence.

In the Stamford production, a troupe of dancers tells the story in this stylized musical of Pippin’s quest for true happiness. "Pippin" explores the glories of war, the temptations of love, and the intrigues of political power before discovering that happiness lies not in the extraordinary, but in the ordinary moments of every day.

The story explores the struggles of young Prince Pippin against his father, a tyrannical king. The responsibility of leading the Holy Roman Empire leaves Pippin lost and confused, so he leaves his post in search of something more fulfilling. Soon a young widow named Catherine, comes into Pippin’s life with her child, Theo, and Pippin explores life as a part of a family. Will he choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory?

"I was fortunate to see the original Broadway production while in high school, and absolutely fell in love with the score," said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call's executive director and producer for "Pippin."

"I think it's great having kids who were around my age then, performing this award-winning musical," he said.

The creative team, including director Joel Fenster, music director Eric K. Johnston, and choreographer Emily Frangipane, have created a magical experience for this group of more than 50 young artists working on and off the stage.

Those familiar with the musical may be surprised to see two actors sharing the role of Leading Player, originated by Ben Vereen. With the OK from Stephen Schwartz, the creative team decided to work a little magic of their own by having two actors work as the manipulative leading player. "I think it works really, really well," Ursone said.

Fenster said, "It’s been great working with such a talented group of kids. This was the first time I’ve gone through an audition process where we had too many people to choose from."

One of the many beautiful and soaring ballads in the show, "Corner of the Sky," could be an anthem for any of the young performers as they try to find their way in the world.

This is Curtain Call's 27th year of providing a summer youth musical program for the area.

Shows of "Pippin" will run Aug. 2 through Aug. 12, on Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Aug. 6 and Aug. 12.

Regular prices are $32 for adults, $25 for senior citizens and $16 for youth up to age 21. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, all seats are $25. For more information, call the box office at 203-461-6358 or visit www.curtaincallinc.com .

Curtain Call is the nonprofit community-based theatre company in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford.

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