Musical ‘Pippin’ is Pearland High’s entry in Tommy Tune competition

January 14, 2017

There is “magic to do” when Pearland High School thespians perform the 1972 Broadway musical “Pippin” in the style of the late master choreographer Bob Fosse, as the school’s entry in the 2016-17 Tommy Tune Awards.

“Magic to Do” also is the title of the song that introduces the audience to a circus-type setting, a concept that catapulted the show’s 2013 Broadway revival into a successful run that won four Tony Awards.

“It is a story within a story that happens to be set in a circus-type atmosphere,” said PHS theater teacher Andrea Mashman.

“None of our students are ‘circus performers,’ yet our job is to make them look like they have been working in a circus all their lives,” she added. “Additionally, ‘Pippin’ has a large choreographic element to it, one of my strong suits, so I am looking forward to guiding our extremely talented performers through the particular style of dance in ‘Pippin’ - Fosse.”

Hip thrusts, turned-in feet and dancers wearing black derbies and white gloves were some of the acclaimed choreographer’s signature trappings, in a career that won him Tony Awards and an Oscar for directing the 1972 movie “Cabaret.”

A performance of the PHS production of “Pippin,” which will run Jan. 19-21 and 26-28, will be judged by a three-judge panel representing Theatre Under the Stars, which sponsors the Tommy Tune Awards.

“Pippin” will be measured against the work of 44 other Houston-area high schools, including four upcoming shows in the Bay Area: “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” which will be staged Jan. 26-29 and Feb. 2-4 at Clear Lake High; “Big Fish” set Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 2-4 at Clear Springs High; “Les Misérables” set Jan. 27-29 and Feb. 2-4 at Friendswood High; and “Once Upon a Mattress” set Feb. 2-4 at South Houston High.

Winners will be announced April 18 in a Tony Awards-style ceremony at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston.

“Pippin’s” leading players include senior Kayla Gill, Grant Hankins, Emily Massicott and Anna Wurm, who also is the dance captain, juniors Brendan King and Morghan Poehler, and sophomores Jillian Maxwell and Chris Stano.

“It is a really great show and has a great message about finding and being yourself and learning to trust and to love other people,” said Mashman. “It is family-friendly and features our amazingly talented students striving to put on the best show they can. The kids are really having a blast playing these characters, and I believe the audience will feel their energy and excitement.”

A cast of 45 students is supported by 12 technicians working behind the scenes, said Kim Hocott, executive director of communications for Pearland ISD.

Rounding out the cast are Sydnee Adams, Dominic Aguilar, John Aleman, Noelle Benavides, Grace Bohn, Mikey Bullock, Lucas Chapa, Cassie Clark, Jael Davis, Joseph Duarte, Will Duncan, Faith Ely, Anya Flynn, Rebecca Francis, Keagon Greer, Alexandra Hattan, Annie Hawkins, Zion Johnson, Redeit Ketsela, Natalia Leslie, Laura Lovel, Maddie Marcella, Garrett Martin, Nicole McPherson, Hannah Mercer, RJ Munguia, Nancy Nygen, Mallory Odom, Scotty Patina, Adrian Pena, Jaime Pena, Zac Richardson, Kathryn Roberts, Jason Rojas, Jose Romero, Jessa Sherbon and Jade Williamson.

Set designer Riguel Nunez designed a makeshift fly rail system to create a circus setting onstage, said Mashman, who is credited as the show’s producer, along with PHS theater and choir boosters.

Westside Veterinary Hospital and Scott’s Pest Control are corporate sponsors.

Masham is also the production’s stage director, choreographer and costume designer.

Others on the production team include Michael Kessler (music director), Zach Foster (assistant music director), Allison Underhill (technical director, lighting and sound design), Lauretta Massicott (production manager), Pam McPherson (production assistant), Lisa Maxwell (costume assistant), and Bernie Bouman, Brent Hankins, Jim Massicott, Blane Nappier, Michael Poehler, Scott Roberts and Tim Sherbon (set building crew).

Brian Logan is the orchestra coordinator for “Pippin,” which features Jeff Adams, Lamar Boulet, Brian Briones, Andrew Dugas, Addison Gregory, Aaron Guillory, Jo Ellen Hubert, Brian Logan, Kristin Logan, Joey Naeger, Zachary Scruggs and Jason Steptoe.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net