Pippin

A video post at the TropangQuazo page at Facebook sent me to YouTube to check out the Musical Play Pippin. The videos available were from the Canadian TV production of 1981 featuring William Kat and Ben Vereen. The original Broadway musical dates from the 1970s and so its existentialist theme — the search for meaning where there is none — is still reflected in the 1981 version.

I listened to the LP of the original cast recording sometime in 1979. In fact, it was that recording which sent me writing a musical for the YMC first, and then for the Augustinians later. The song “Corner of the Sky” and the “Reprise” suggested to me the theme search for meaning. All the other songs were milestones in the journey which brings Pippin to search for meaning in war and glory (War is a Science, Glory) to love (With You and the Pippin “Love Song”), married life (“Extraordinary”). The search was arduous and brought Pippin to a low point in his life (“Right Track”) which leads him to consult other people, like an old wise woman (“No Time at All”). I did not know that Pippin — in the play — killed his father, Charlemagne and became king himself (“Morning Glow”). I thought that “Morning Glow” was a song about hope in a new beginning after some sort of dark night.

After watching snips of the musical at YouTube, I found out that I got some of the songs right as to their place in the play. Because I did not know about the sub-plot regarding the rebellion of Pippin, I failed to see “Spread A Little Sunshine” as the song of a Queen who was conspiring to get her favorite son to the throne after Pippin has murdered his father. But I did get “I Will Miss the Man” right where I thought it would be: it is the song of a woman who misses Pippin after he went off to continue his quest for a meaningful life.

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