Fall musical ‘Pippin’ delights audiences

The leading player, performed by sophomore Rachel Erdmann, was the ring leader, obsessed with giving the audience a great show. She guided Pippin through his own story and intervened at the end when Pippin’s decision is not what she had anticipated.

The Libertyville High School Theatre Department never fails to put on a fantastic show. This year’s fall musical, “Pippin,” was no exception.

The Broadway musical was presented in the LHS auditorium for three nights: from Oct. 25-27. Pippin” is a book written by Robert O. Hirson and a musical with music and lyrics written by Stephen Schwartz. The two main characters, Pippin and Charlemagne, are characters based off of two real individuals from the Middle Ages. However, in the musical, Pippin and Charlemagne’s stories are totally fictional and have no historical accuracy. Pippin is a mixture of beautiful music, amazing acrobatics, fun sing-alongs and spectacular magic tricks.

Unalike many other shows, the performers in Pippin” know they are on a stage the whole time and are aware that they are simply playing a part in front of an audience. The main character, Pippin (played by senior EJ Chen), is the first-born son of King Charlemagne (played by junior Will Anderson) and primary heir to the throne. Pippin has just graduated college but feels that he lacks purpose in his life, prompting him to try out different lifestyles and go on a series of adventures throughout the show.

In the midst of shocking magic tricks and stunning disappearing acts is sophomore Rachel Erdmann’s character, which serves the purpose of a narrator, as she orchestrates the whole show and guides Pippin on his journeys. Erdmann’s partners in crime, the Manson Trio, are played by seniors Kirsten Townander (a DOI staff member) and Bailey Latka and accompany Erdmann’s character throughout the show.

Other than Pippin’s inner battle for self-worth and meaning, he also struggles to prove himself to his father, his step-mother and his half-brother. His step-mother, Fastrada (played by senior Clairesse Austin), and half-brother, Lewis (played by junior Albert Sterner), both want more than anything for Lewis to be ruler one day and secretly wish for Pippin to fail in his attempts to find his true calling.

During his search for meaning and significance, Pippin becomes a soldier in the war against the Visigoths, a leader in an attempt to overthrow his tyrannical father from the throne, and a common man after falling in love with a widow named Catherine (played by Senior Alice Lillydahl) while working on her estate with her young son Theo (played by Oak Grove eighth-grader Billy Sims).

The beautiful set, painted with bright colors and patterns, and the wonderfully talented student orchestra, made up of 25 LHS musicians, make this musical even more remarkable. Because the performers know they are on stage, they frequently talk to the people in the audience, like when Pippin’s grandmother (played by senior Julia DeNoia), instructed the audience to sing along as the lyrics to the song were projected onto the ceiling of the auditorium, creating interactive fun for everyone.

Watching LHS students walk around the stage on stilts, swing from aerial silks, and perform tricks on suspended hula-hoops was thrilling, and they carried through with seemingly flawless routines. The only thing missing from this student circus was a lion jumping through a ring of fire.

Libertyville High School’s talent, whether it’s in the orchestra, on stage, directing, or crew, is very impressive and incredibly professional.