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ESU Theatre Presents ‘Pippin’ as Homecoming Musical

September 27, 2018

Emporia State University Theatre presents “Pippin” with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (of “Wicked” and “Godspell” fame) and book by Roger O. Hirson. First produced on Broadway in 1972, it recently completed a successful national tour after a celebrated and award-winning New York revival in 2013.

“Pippin” presents a timely and powerful message about finding your place in a confusing world that is filled with possibilities. The story follows young prince Pippin (the son of Charlemagne) who is on a quest for an extraordinary life but is wrapped up in politics, war, family squabbles and love. “Pippin” also feature a mysterious and enchanting troupe of performers who help to tell the story. Led by a mysterious Leading Player, they sing, dance, perform acrobatics and magic tricks as they advance the action of the musical.

Jim Bartruff is directing “Pippin,” his 12th ESU Homecoming musical. Co-directing is Lindy Bartruff, who is also the choreographer.

“It’s kind of a bucket list show because both Lindy and I have very fond memories of the original production staged by Bob Fosse. Although we saw the show a couple of years apart, for both of us it was one of the first shows that we saw in New York,” said Jim Bartruff.  “There is a lot of personal connection to the show. Many years ago, Lindy and I did a community theatre production that Lindy choreographed and where I played the role of Charlemagne. 

“This is a musical about doing a musical. At this stage in my career it seemed we could look back on and reflect over everything we’ve done together,” he said. “And when you get an opportunity to do a show with great music, with a strong story to tell and that is about something you love doing, you have to take it on.”

The show will feature the scenic and lighting designs of Nancy Pontius with costumes designed by Susan Williams. It is under the technical direction of Chris Lohkamp with Amanda Dura as the costume shop manager. Penelope Speedie returns as the music director with Stephen Holbert as her assistant music director. The production pianist is Melinda Groves. 

Student members of the production team include Stage Manager Miranda Kimble (Mullinville) with Hannah Lingard (Topeka) as the assistant stage manager. Mollie McClanahan (Topeka) and Madison Simmons (Emporia) are assistants to the costume designer and Cameron Webb (Shawnee) is the propmaster.

The cast of “Pippin” features Matthew Mahr (Overland Park) in the title role alongside Hewleek McKoy (Olathe), Justin Scheck (Gardner), Tyler Lang (Wichita), Ellen Welander (Olathe), Olivia Nunnelley (Goddard), Rachel Muirhead (Hays) and Drew Keller (Ellis). The ensemble includes Jasmine Hall (Independence), Jaimala Hughes (Dodge City), Lance Moore (Emporia), Andrew Ralston (Topeka), Zulema Renteria (Emporia), Jacob Schaefer (Pratt), Haley Wells (Wichita) and Ryan Wollum (De Soto). 

The technical crew for “Pippin” is Mason Nicks (Leavenworth), Jared Steele (Garden City), Greyson Waltmire (Topeka), Taylor Wingert-Ashlock (Topeka), Quin Birmingham (Overland Park), Hannah Maxwell (Goddard), Alyxx Zinn (Olathe), Brenna Welch (Derby), Natasha Witt (Wichita), Lucas Coble (Olpe), Hannah Hendricks (Wichita), Kara McCormick (Gardner), Jonny Oliver (Overland Park), Megan Shipman (Topeka), Semaj Smith (Salina), Dayne Sabatos (Burlington), McKenzi Crossman (Liberal), Elizabeth Higbee (Tonganoxie), Torin Horvik (Fargo, ND), Heidi Lantz (Lawrence), Samantha LeMay (Emporia), Zoe Maxwell (Andale) and Mariah Trible (Valley Center).

The front of house staff feature Dustin Bittel (Ellis) as the house manager with Paige Lundin (Wichita), Squid Monteith (Silver Lake) and Corrine Payton (Emporia) in the box office.

The Homecoming musical is the first show of the season and institutes ESU Theatre’s new ticketing policy. The new policy centers around advance ticket sales. Tickets purchased in advance will offer a substantial savings over tickets purchased at the door. Advance sale tickets for the homecoming musical will be $15 for Premium seats (center section), $12 for second tier seats (side sections) and $8 for student tickets (side sections). Tickets purchased at the door will increase to $20 for premium seats, $15 for second tier seats and $12 for student tickets in the second tier.

Tickets for all ESU Theatre productions can be purchased online at tickets.emporia.edu. Tickets are also available in person from the University Ticket Office in the Memorial Union or by calling 620-341-6378. 

“Pippin” will play in the Karl C. Bruder Theatre in King Hall (1301 Market Street) at 7:30 PM Oct. 18-20, 2018 with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Oct. 21.

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