Pippin [1972 Original Broadway Cast]by Ben Vereen
Following the success of his off-Broadway musical Godspell and his collaboration with Leonard Bernstein on Mass, songwriter Stephen Schwartz made his Broadway debut with Pippin, which he had actually begun writing in college. It was based, very loosely, on Pepin (aka Pippin), the eighth century Frankish king. In the musical, Pippin (played by John Rubinstein) is a young man who is seeking meaning in life, not unlike the generation that came of age in the 1960s, of which Schwartz was a member, and not unlike the Jesus of Godspell. Pippin is led through life experiences by the Leading Player (played by Ben Vereen), a skeptical character not unlike the Judas of Godspell. It is the contrast between ingenuousness and archness represented by the two main characters that gives Pippin its dramatic structure, and onstage that contrast played out in the distinction between Schwartz's sweet pop
ock score and director/choreographer Bob Fosse's tart staging. It made for a successful combination; opening on October 23, 1972, Pippin ran more than four and a half years, for a total of 1,944 performances. Theater professionals, as ever hostile to the incursions of rock music on the Great White Way, tended to credit Fosse with the show's popularity and to disparage Schwartz's score. At Tony time, Fosse won two awards, while Schwartz lost the best score trophy to Stephen Sondheim and A Little Night Music. Nevertheless, the score was one of the show's major assets. Motown Records invested in Pippin and had its artists cover songs from it. The Supremes had a minor pop chart entry with "I Guess I'll Miss the Man," and the Jackson 5 made the R&B Top Ten and the pop Top 20 with "Corner of the Sky" shortly after the show opened. The cast album, Motown's first venture into show music, spent two and a half months in the charts, the only cast album to reach the charts at all in 1973. It deserved to do even better. Schwartz's piano- and guitar-based melodies were as catchy and appealing as any of the soft rock that was dominating the charts in the early '70s, and the cast was accomplished, especially Vereen, and, in "No Time at All," a spry ode to senior citizenship, Irene Ryan, best known as Granny Clampett on the television series The Beverly Hillbillies. On September 26, 2000, Decca Broadway reissued the Pippin cast album with the Supremes and Jackson 5 hits as bonus tracks, along with Michael Jackson's 1973 cover of "Morning Glow," the best of the pop versions of songs from the show.
- Release Date:
- Decca Broadway
Performance CreditsBen Vereen Primary Artist,Track Performer
John Rubenstein Track Performer
Edward Strauss Piano,Soloist
Leland Palmer Track Performer
Jackson 5 Track Performer
Michael Jackson Track Performer
Supremes Track Performer
Jill Clayburgh Track Performer
Irene Ryan & Gang Track Performer
Technical CreditsPhil Ramone Producer,Engineer
Stephen Michael Schwartz Producer
Ralph Burns Orchestration
Gene Page Arranger
David Blumberg Arranger
Bob Gaudio Producer
Deke Richards Producer
John Berkman Dance Arrangement
Bob Fosse Director,Choreographer
Tony Walton Cover Art
Stanley Lebowsky Musical Director
Abe Jacob Sound Design
Stephen Schwartz Producer
Brian Drutman Reissue Producer
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My mother introduced me to this musical MANY years ago. Back then we had the LP to sing along with. This CD brings back great memories. The music is upbeat, funny and very well done. My Corner of the Sky still speaks to me as it did when I was younger. This version also includes updated versions of several of the songs, which caught me by surprise at what I thought would be the end of the tracks. The updated versions reminded me of American Idol performances where the contestants 'make songs their own'.
This is a really great CD. I first got it because our high School was doing the play, and I was in the pit, playing the French Horn and I needed to pratice the music, I just truly love listing to this CD, It never gets boring no matter how many times you listen to it.
A THROWBACK TO THE DAYS (BEFORE BROADWAY TURNED INTO LAS VEGAS EAST) WHEN MUSIC WAS MELODIC, LYRICS WERE WITTY AND INTELLIGENT, AND MUSICALS ACTUALLY HAD SOMETHING SUBSTANTIAL TO SAY. THE ENTIRE CAST IS FIRST-RATE, WITH SPECIAL NOTICE FOR THE STAND-OUT PERFORMANCES OF BEN VEREEN AND IRENE RYAN (GRANNY FROM THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES) IN HER VERY LAST ENDEAVOUR. BRINGS BACK MANY FOND MEMORIES, ESPECIALLY IF YOU WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO SEE THE ORIGINAL PRODUCTION.