1/23/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University Department of Theatre continues its 2016-2017 season in "Pursuit of Happiness" with the hard-driving musical fable Pippin, which is written by Roger O. Hirson with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.
Assistant Professor of Theatre Robert Sean Parker makes his Ashland directorial debut with Dr. Rowland Blackley as the music director and Katie Zareki, the choreographer. The show opens on Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre with evening performances continuing on Feb. 11, 17 and 18, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 12.
Pippin is about a prince in search of the secret to true happiness and fulfillment. With the help of a mysterious troupe of players, Prince Pippin dreams of finding his “Corner of the Sky.” However, he fails in battle, sexual entanglements, revolution, political empowerment and pastoral life, but the players keep him “On the Right Track.”
Pippin opened on Broadway in 1972 under the direction and choreography of award winning risk taker, Bob Fosse, with a Commedia dell’Arte concept. The revival directed by Diane Paulus kept the style of Fosse’s original choreography, but placed Pippen’s journey in a circus tent with high flying acrobatics. The revival went on to win the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.
Parker explains his connection with the musical saying, "I love this show for many reasons, but I mostly love it for its powerful message. It is funny, bold, dark and mysterious. It lavishly satirizes our fanaticisms and at the same time exposes our vices. It ridicules our obsessions with sex, war, religion and politics. It also encourages us to look at our own lives."
The role of Prince Pippin will be played by Jacob Ellis (Bellevue) as he is manipulated by the lead player portrayed by Logan Anne Baker (Reynoldsburg). Deric Dove (Newark) is Pippin's father, King Charles, while Hannah Wise (Hartville) and Jake Riley (Wooster) are Queen Fastrada (Pippin's stepmother) and her son Lewis, respectively; and Andrea Disch (East Liverpool) plays Pippin's Grandmother, Berthe. Maya Rickard (Wooster) plays Catherine, Pippin's love interest, and Daylie Rickard, a Northwestern Middle School student, is Theo, Catherine's son.
The cast for the show's ensemble comprised of the King’s army, monks, nobility, peasants, and the Players include Drew Berlin (Barberton), Nik Demers (Shelby), Sami Eron (Brighton, Michigan), Rachel Parfitt Kelly (Columbus), Alli Lange (Mansfield), Waylon H. O'Donnell (West Sunbury, Pennsylvania), Kathleen Thompson Parker (Ashland), Laramie Roush (Gallipolis), Megan Saupé (Fairfield), Ceyanna Stasick (Sullivan), Morgan Tinnirello (Middleburg Heights) and Rebecca Young (Sherwood, Oregon).
The production staff includes J. Michael Desper as the scenic and sound designer and technical director while students Elizabeth Grace Davis (Solon) and Seth Morrison (Millersburg) are the costume and lighting designers, respectively. Patricia E. Lanious is the show's production manager; Justin Bilewicz, costume studio manager; Jessica Dupee (Wellington), stage manager; and Ivey Buffenmyer (Ashland), assistant stage manager.
Special events surrounding the performances include an opening night reception immediately following the Feb. 10 performance. Patrons with tickets to that evening's performance are invited to celebrate the show’s opening with the cast and crew. A pre-show talk with director Parker will be held Friday, Feb. 17, at 6:45 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre. This special pre-show event will give audience members the inside story as they learn more about the production and its creators.
Tickets for the performances are: $12 for adults; $10 for senior citizens, AU faculty, staff and alumni; $8 for groups of 10 or more, $5 for non-AU students, and $2 for Ashland University students with ID. Audiences are advised that the show does contain adult content.
To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m.; or purchase online 24/7 at www.ashland.edu/tickets. For more information about the department of theatre, visit www.ashland.edu/theatre, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AshlandUniversityTheatre or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###