Tomorrow through next weekend, Stephen Schwartz's 1972 musical Pippin will come to Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center for Performing Arts in Arnold.
Director Barbara Marder, associate professor and theater department chairwoman, said students are enthusiastic about the show.
"We have a strong cast ... with everyone enjoying returning to the year 700 -- Holy Roman Empire-era," she said. "We will have magic and fun, and be using Venetian-style and Mardi Gras-type masks."
The enthusiasm extends beyond the actors.
"Choreographer Tommy Parlon is excited about the Bob Fosse dance style, and so are the dancers," Marder said. "The musicians love this show. For many of them, this is the music of their youth. Pippin has edginess and a dark side that makes it interesting."
Marder said she has strong support from music instructor and vocal coach Marsha Goldsmith. Raymond Ascione will serve as musical director, conducting his musicians in the pit. Rob Berry serves as scenic designer.
Born in March 1948, Schwartz is known for his early work with three rock-inspired scores: Godspell in 1971, Pippin in 1972 and Magic Show in 1974. More recently, his fame has grown with his scores for the Disney animated films Pocahontas and Hunchback of Notre Dame. His Broadway credits include the current hit show Wicked, set in the Land of Oz before Dorothy's arrival.
Pippin is the product of Schwartz's student days at Carnegie Tech and represents his second hit, after Godspell, which paved the way to have a producer willing to take a chance on the relatively unknown composer by bringing in a playwright to work on the book and Fosse to direct and choreograph.
Fosse transformed Pippin into a broad comedy and added razzle-dazzle magic and the half-god/half-devil narrator originally played by Ben Vereen. The story is a modern account of the life of Charlemagne's son Pepin -- now called Pippin -- who sets out to discover the true meaning of life by dabbling in war, politics, social causes and love, failing at each of them before settling for an ordinary life with his wife, Catherine.
The Moonlight Troupers production features Myles Park of Bowie -- a member of the college's dance company -- as Pippin, and Jennifer Kohlhafer of Severn as Pippin's stepmother, Fastrada.
Jonathon Henderson of Adelphi plays Lewis, Pippin's half-brother. Vernon Lewis of Annapolis will be the Narrator. Steven Vroom of Glen Burnie plays Charlemagne, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. Karen Sebold of Crofton plays widow Catherine. Henry Pazaryna of Annapolis plays Theo, the small son of Catherine. Henry had a role in Annapolis Summer Garden's Gypsy in June.
Ariel Bombalough of Annapolis, who has performed with AACC's opera and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, plays Berthe, Pippin's youthful-minded grandmother. Others in the cast are Scott Clempner of Annapolis, Sara Collison of Davidsonville, Gwynne Davis and Brandon Henderickson of Severna Park, Devon Jones of Millersville, Eric Langenstein of Pasadena, Sarah Rodak of Annapolis, Kristen Rogers of Crofton, Kathleen Ryan of Gambrills, Omar Said of Crofton and Hana Thornhill of Mitchellville.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Shows also are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18, 8 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20, and 2 p.m. Nov. 21. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and groups, and $8 for AACC students and children ages 8 to 17. Pippin is not suitable for children younger than 8.
The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, or order tickets calling 410-777-2457.