'Pippin' searches for happiness, PG-13 escapades

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"Pippin," the twisted fairy tale that captivated Broadway for more than 2,000 performances, will be presented tonight through Monday in Playmakers Theatre.

The musical, performed by UNC's Pauper Players, tells the story of Prince Pippin and his search for true happiness.

"The show is about an educated young man who can't decide what to do with his life," said Eric Kallin, director of the show. "He feels destined for great things, but they never happen."

The play involves a group of players in Pippin's head who act out all of the ways he could be great, but in which he never succeeds.

In an enthusiastic flurry, three actors of this group of players rushed to describe the play.

"It's about Poppin the Great, son of Charles the Great, or Charlemagne," said Jon Todd, a junior who has been with the company for two years.

"He took over Charlemagne's kingdom and messed it up. It's kind of about that and kind of about him conquering his own inhibitions," Todd said.

"We got some good vocalists, some good dancing," said junior Lucy Howard, another member of the company. Todd also touted the quality of the performers in the production.

"And Jamie Fritz plays Pippin, and he rocks."

During his pursuit of fulfillment, Pippin finds himself in battle, fighting for control of the kingdom and contending with temptations of many kinds.

"It's a thought process that the main character is going through while pondering suicide," Kallin said. "But of course, it's a musical comedy."

The fervent actors of the chorus said the play has many themes.

"One song in the play is 'A Corner in the Sky' -- it's about him trying to find his destiny," Todd said.

"It's sex," said sophomore Holly Hight, of the themes of the play.

The company's Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. will be a presentation that is appropriate for younger audiences.

"A lot of people would come to the play expecting to see a high school version, but what they see is an orgy on stage-," Kallin said. "The regular show is about a PG-13, which is not too bad, and the matinee is about a PG."

The original show was the product of director/choreographer Bob Fosse, who took the lyrics of Stephen Schwartz and made the show into the Broadway classic it is today.

"This is a musical for the sake of being a musical -- big sets, bright lights, makeup," Kallin said. "It's a huge spectacle show."

The Pauper Players is an entirely student-run organization that's been in existence for 15 years. All of the actors, as well as the production team, are UNC students passionate about musical theater.

Pippin will run at 8 p.m. tonight through Monday, with the 2 p.m. edited matinee on Saturday.

Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and seniors tonight, and $12 for the general public. For all other performances, tickets for UNC students, faculty and staff are $5, and $10 for the general public.

Contact the A&E Editor at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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