Producers John Frost and Suzanne Jones have announced their stellar cast for the high-flying, death-defying hit Broadway musical PIPPIN which opens at the Sydney Lyric Theatre at The Star for an exclusive season from 24 November 2020.
The role of the young and confused protagonist Pippin will be played by Ainsley Melham, who performed the title role in Aladdin on Broadway and across Australia. The charming and manipulative Leading Player, the ultimate ring master of the show, will be Gabrielle McClinton, who played the role on Broadway and beyond. Returning to the stage after an extraordinary award-winning career on television is Kerri-Anne Kennerley who will play Berthe, Pippin’s saucy grandmother.
Simon Burke (Les Misérables, La Cage Aux Folles in London’s West End) will play Charles, Pippin’s demanding father, while Lucy Maunder (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beautiful) will be playing Catherine, a widow and mother who falls in love with Pippin.
In the role of Pippin’s conniving stepmother Fastrada will be Leslie Bell (Broadway’s Chicago and Ragtime), with Euan Doidge (Les Misérables, Kinky Boots) playing the role of her son Lewis, Pippin’s half-brother.
Also joining the cast as Players and Swings are Danik Abishev, Olivia Carniato, Angelique Cassimatis, Bayley Edmends, Joel Granger, Chaska Halliday, Matt Jenson, Zoe Marshall, Harley McLeish, William Meager, Joe Meldrum, Amy Nightingale-Olsen, Thomas Remalli, Gretel Scarlett, Suzanne Steele, Andrew Sumner and Jessica Ward.
“We’re thrilled to introduce the sensational cast who will bring this exhilarating musical to life and open up Sydney musical theatre again,” said producer John Frost. “The Gordon Frost Organisation has always had the capacity to assemble high calibre casts during its 40 year history of productions, and PIPPIN is no different.”
“This astonishing new production of PIPPIN was the most nominated Broadway show of the year, and has gone on to thrill audiences across the globe. Now it’s Australia’s turn to enjoy the magic of PIPPIN with this incredible cast led by Ainsley Melham, Gabrielle McClinton, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Simon Burke and Leslie Bell who are all making their GFO debut. It’s wonderful also to welcome back Lucy Maunder and Euan Doidge to the GFO family.”
With a beloved score by Oscar and Grammy winner Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell), PIPPIN tells the story of a young man at a crossroads in his life. Does he follow in the footsteps of his father, one of the most powerful men in the land? Or does he strike out on his own, to find his own ‘corner of the sky’?
PIPPIN is a play within a play. The story is told by a travelling troupe of actors and acrobats (called ‘Players’), directed by the mysterious Leading Player. Like a vaudeville act, the Players both act out the roles of the story and speak directly to the audience. The captivating new production is directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus (Hair, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess).
It features sizzling choreography by Tony Award nominee Chet Walker in the style of Bob Fosse and circus creation of breathtaking acrobatics by Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based circus company Les 7 doigts de la main (also known as 7 Fingers). PIPPIN features many Broadway standards including Corner of the Sky, Magic To Do, Glory, No Time at All, Morning Glow and Love Song.
With a book by Roger O. Hirson and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, PIPPIN features music supervision by Ryan Cantwell, arrangements by Nadia DiGiallonardo, orchestrations by Tony Award winner Larry Hochman, scenic design by Tony Award winner Scott Pask, costume design by Dominique Lemieux, lighting design by Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner, sound design by Jonathan Deans and Garth Helm.
Image: Ainsley Melham, Gabrielle McClinton, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Simon Burke, Lucy Maunder, Euan Doidge and Leslie Bell (supplied)
Note: During the season of Pippin the Sydney Lyric will operate in accordance with its Covid Safe Plan with the goal of ensuring that each patron’s experience at the theatre is made as safe as reasonably possible. The Covid Safe Plan applicable when performances occur will be made available on the theatre’s website.