“Pippin” Raises the Bar for Emery Productions


Nathan Barber

“Pippin” cast striking their final pose of the show.

Ben Zadok, Reporter

This year’s Upper School Musical, “Pippin,” had three extraordinary shows on April 2-4, 2022. Emery Theatre has a long history of successful musicals, however, it seems that this show demonstrated the school’s true potential for musical theater performances.

The show itself is an interesting, passionate, and meaningful one. It tells the story of an ensemble of circus performers showcasing their “Pippin: His Life and Times!” It is a tale of a young prince’s search for passion and meaning. After a series of trials, Pippin finds himself lost and confused, however, it is only by facing and refusing his heavily anticipated “grande finale,” does he, both character and performer, truly find meaning.

Junior Sage Rosenfeld, Production Stage Manager on “Pippin”, enjoyed the challenge of working on a show as complex as this one,  explaining, “it was different from a technical standpoint because we used things like pyrotechnics and special effects that we’ve never used before at Emery. ”

Along with complex technical elements, student-performers were challenged by the introduction of various circus elements. For over three months students learned how to do the aerial silks, lyra, unicycle, spin plates, use wings, and yo-yo. Junior Gabby Samuels, who played the role of Berthe, explained how she “appreciated this challenge because it allowed her to be able to do things [she] otherwise would not be able to do.”

Rosenfeld expressed how these exciting new elements of “Pippin,” gave students reason to be “super motivated, more than usual.” This motivation was clearly shown during the shows, as audiences applauded, gasped, laughed, and sang with the company. The culmination of the lighting, live fire, captivating choreography, and aerial acrobatics gave a certain wow factor to the audience, making the show truly memorable. 

The intense work and preparation put into pulling off “Pippin ” seemed to pay off when members of the cast and crew received multiple Tommy Tunes nominations; an award that recognizes and celebrates outstanding musical theater performances. Among those in the musical, Rosenfeld and Walker Fair were nominated for outstanding light design along with Fair again being nominated with Caden Warren and Andrew Zlotnik’s  for outstanding scenic design, and Samuels for outstanding performance in a lead role. 

“It means a lot to me. I didn’t expect it to happen, especially since I’m on the crew and not on stage. I was pretty shocked and I’m honored. It’s nice to see that all my time and hard work paid off,”  Rosenfeld said. Samuels was also thrilled upon hearing the news of her nomination, she hopes that “Pippin” showed that “high school theater can be very professional.”  

Emery has always been known to produce outstanding musicals that never disappoint. This year’s “Pippin” not only met but exceeded the high standard that the theater program aims to have. The circus-esch production is sure to leave a long-lasting impression on the theater program and raise the bar for future productions. 

Cast of “Pippin” performs a grand number. (Nathan Barber)