Mounds Park Academy presents “Pippin” for the first time

The word from Mounds Park Academy is that tickets for the April 27 through 29 showing of “Pippin” are selling fast, and there’s no wondering why. This is the first time “Pippin” will be performed at Mounds Park Academy, and the production involves a cast of about 75 high school students. Director Ann Frances Gregg describes it as “a show with a beautiful story, strong characters and incredible music.” 

Led by the charismatic Leading Player, the ensemble cast tells the story of Pippin, a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life. To prove his loyalty to his distracted father, Pippin — played by senior Theo Janke-Furman — goes to war. But when the Leading Player — played by sophomore Flynn Opatz — convinces the prince to fight tyranny, Pippin kills his father and takes over the throne. Realizing his mistake, Pippin begs the Leading Player to bring his father back to life, and the Leading Player obliges. The prince falls in love with Catherine, a widow with a young son, and Pippin struggles to decide whether he should settle down with Catherine — played by senior Grace DeBoer — and pursue a peaceful life or continue to make magic with the dazzling troupe of performers.

“Pippin’s drive to create an extraordinary life for himself addresses so many of the ‘what if’ questions young adults have for themselves,” Gregg said and explained that this was one reason why she chose “Pippin” as this year’s spring production. 

“I love that ‘Pippin’ is also a play about the theatre. As this is my first year teaching at Mounds Park Academy, I think this show provides hundreds of opportunities for cast, crew, musicians and production staff to connect and bond over the awesomeness and simple honesty of theater,” she added.

The audience can expect a mix of modern and medieval costumes, which Gregg said “has been a fun balance to find and to strike,” and although the set is minimalistic, it is also versatile. Gregg explains that the staging, lights and music all work together with the set to portray the emotional effects.

“Pippin” has primarily helped the students learn the value of hard work, according to Gregg.

“The job of theatre artists is to make everything look easy and really, really sparkly. But before a production reaches opening night, there are a million and one hoops to jump through,” Gregg said. “There is no member of the team less important than any other. It is because of each individual that we are able to turn a play into a show.”

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. and the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.moundsparkacademy.org/pippin. The performances will be held at the Nicholson Center — door number three at Mounds Park Academy, 2051 Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul.

 

—Aundrea Kinney

 

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