“Pippin” brings meanings of life to ACTORS stage

Lead and carnival characters alike for the musical Pippin pose onstage at the Ames Community Theater. The Broadway musical will open at the theater on Friday, June 14, and run through June 30.

Levi Castle

Capping off their fifth season of Music, Murder, and Mayhem, Ames Community Theater (ACTORS) is bringing “Pippin” to life on the local stage.

“Pippin” originated as a 1972, a Broadway musical about a young prince who searches for the meaning of life. On his journey, love, war and his own feelings are all obstacles he must either avoid or deal with. The original music and lyrics are by Stephen Schwartz, with the original book written by Roger O. Hirson.

ACTORS’s adaption of the musical is directed by long-time theater enthusiast Stacy Brothers. Having been involved with countless shows over the decades, Brothers said that she enjoys directing just as much as acting.

This year’s show is her first time working with “Pippin.”

“When I was looking at the cast and the opportunities for the play, I decided on the theme of a carnival for the show, since it’s so open,” Brothers said. “We’ve got a strong man, a snake lady, and other carnival-themed characters and settings. That’s what’s so great about ‘Pippin,’ this traveling troupe of players — you can set it any time and any way that you want.”

Brothers said there’s something special about theater shows like “Pippin” that you can’t get anywhere else.

“I find it really rewarding to work with all of these wonderful young people. Even more so is the reward of transporting the audience for a bit,” Brothers said. “In this day and age, it’s hard to get people to go to live theater, compared to a movie. But theater is different; it’s so exciting; it’s live and it’s right there; it’s fluid and completely changing. It makes people think.”

Featuring two acts, a live band and a cast of varying ages, there is much diversity in the approximately two-hour show. The show is set up so the actors on stage are presenting the story of “Pippin,” essentially making it a show within a show. Pippin, the lead of the show, is acted by ISU senior Phillip Sears, who said the setup is “very meta.”

Sears has been an interested in theater since the third grade and has been involved in numerous productions since then. He’s never taken acting classes, and he attributes it to watching others perform.

“Acting is a form of mimicking; it’s quite easy to learn by observation,” Sears said.

To Sears, Pippin represents his favorite part of theater perfectly.

“You get people from every walk of life who appreciate theater. You get to see how they just shine through their characters, and then there’s the interaction with them on and off stage,” Sears said. “We’ve got a very talented cast and crew.”

“If you were to take anything away from this show, it would be that if you don’t know anything about your life or where you’re going, this musical has the power to give you some clarity in it,” Sears said.

“Pippin” began showing on June 14, and has performances set for June 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. The show will perform at 2:00 p.m. on June 23and 30. Tickets are available at Gallery 319 in Ames, and additional info can be found at www.actorsinc.org.

“To me, this show is all about the basics of what we all need to fulfill ourselves in life,” Brothers said. “It’s about people who love you and appreciate you and a soft place to land at the end of the day.”