The curtain is coming up on the Show Palace Dinner Theatre’s 2018 season, with the circus-inspired revival of the musical "Pippin," running from Jan. 13 - Feb. 18, leading the way.
The Hudson stage has more than lights and curtains hanging from its rafters. It’s got a trapeze and an aerial lira (or as I like to call it: “the hanging hula hoop of ripped rotator cuffs”).
Of course, the acrobat straddling it looks like a ballerina suspended in the air, with full splits and hanging poses that you would need a few months of yoga to achieve on the ground.
There are hanging straps with little loops where another acrobat — also all muscle, apparently — will hang upside down while putting himself into a handstand and then spin.
Oh, and did I mention the stilt-walker?
All this plus feather-fanned dancers and the like singing and flipping highlight a show during which the stage is practically bursting, at times.
“When you know someone is in the lira or someone is on straps, you are always looking and watching and, like, "whoa, that is so cool -- it doesn't get old!” said Imani Williams, who portrays the character 'Leading Player,' the show's narrator.
'Leading Player' takes audiences on Pippin’s coming of age story, as the young Prince star searches for life’s meaning.
Director Jonathan Van Dyke says he relies on his choreographer to create the flow on stage necessary to move the story forward.
“One minute you've got the razzle-dazzle of the circus and the feathers and the glam,” says Van Dyke, “and then comes a beautiful song done by one of the characters, and then there is a dance that changes the tone that way.”
In the show, Pippin learns that the love of a family supersedes riches, power and adoration of the masses. Williams hopes people hold on to these ideas.
“Just kind of take away that life is very precious and to enjoy the people you meet and come into contact with and spread love," she said.