Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

The Cast and Crew of ‘Pippin’ Prove to Audiences What a Little Magic Can Do

Courtesy of Miranda Xiong

“Pippin,” first produced in 1972, has taken on many musical forms since its conception on Broadway. From classic musical theater songs such as “Magic to Do” and “No Time at All” to dark plots of patricidal revenge, limitless ambition and 1700s feudalism, this show really has it all. Nomadic Theatre and the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society have collaborated to put on the cult classic, showing from April 11-14 and April 18-20 in Poulton Hall

This rendition, however, managed to do more than transport audiences into the world of glitz and glamor — it heavily impacted the lives of the cast and crew who made the production possible. 

Daniel Tomas (SFS ’26), who plays King Charlemagne, Pippin’s tyrannical father, said “Pippin” pushed him to take new approaches to acting. 

“Usually, I get typecast as villain roles, so being more of a funny character this time was definitely a bit more of a challenge for me,” Tomas told The Hoya. “The directors helped me a lot, usually with the humor part because I was struggling a little bit with comedic timing. I think, in general, in every scene, I was really trying to embrace the character.” 

First-year Daisy Thomas (CAS ’27) plays Bertha, Pippin’s grandmother with an indecent side who longs for the way things were while still refusing to truly grow up. Thomas said being part of the production allowed her to find herself within the theater community. 

“I didn’t know that much about Pippin, either, actually. I joined because I wanted to spend more time with everybody,” Thomas told The Hoya. “I did it for the community, but I found that throughout the process — especially getting to express a comedic side of myself and to learn how to dance with everybody — it’s so joyful.”

Alongside the actors, a team of directors, stage managers and crew put together the logistical intricacies of the production. Among them, director Drew Lent (CAS ’25) knew that he wanted to pursue “Pippin” from the beginning. 

“I produced my freshman spring and also my sophomore spring, and those experiences really made me want to direct a show,” Lent told The Hoya. “I ultimately chose Pippin as the show to direct because it was one of my very first shows as a kid growing up, since 2013 when I saw it on Broadway.”

Technical Director Molly Kenney (CAS ’25), who designed the show’s sets, said “Pippin” was a collaborative team effort. 

“I get to go into that room but still feel like I’m a part of the community, just because everyone is working with the things that we built together,” Kenney told The Hoya. “And also just being able to feel so welcomed in that room was really nice, because it doesn’t always happen.”

According to Lent and Kenney, the production was not always smooth sailing, with the crew often realizing their aspirations did not align with the space available in Poulton Hall. From lighting issues to low ceilings, the space was not able to fit the Moulin Rouge-inspired set they had dreamed of. 

Nevertheless, they were able to use that to their advantage, using the theatrics on stage in order to achieve the same effect. 

Unlike more lighthearted musicals, “Pippin” also delves into the darker side of theater. Audiences are able to understand the complexities of depression and mania alongside Pippin himself as he attempts to sort through the world of his own creation. As a cast and crew, the team was prepared to face these challenges head on: ensuring that the cast felt both safe and respected while also still confronting these topics in a respectful, yet impactful manner. 

Amelia Shotwell (CAS ’25), who plays the romantic lead in the show, Catherine, said the cast felt the theater was always a safe space to explore difficult matters. 

“We are choosing to take on heavy topics, but with a lot of care and thought and respect to safety rather than to take away from it at all,” Shotwell told the Hoya. “The fear of going for those darker themes means that sometimes you’re not able to make such beautiful art.”

Caitlin Waugh (CAS ’24) plays Fastrada, Pippin’s stepmother with a devilish streak and a character often cast in a revealing light. 

Waugh said the production brought in a professional intimacy coordinator to work with cast members during points of physical contact, such as sexual innuendo or battle scenes. 

“The room is then a very safe space,” Waugh told The Hoya. “She really gave us and everyone who’s worked with her the tools to talk about anything they were feeling.” 

Thomas encouraged students to see the show before it closes on April 20.

“It’s really weird, but you can find yourself in unexpected places,” Thomas said. “One of my favorite parts of doing this show was staring at the audience members and interacting. It’s so fun. So come, let us wave and point at you!”

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