“We’ve Got Magic to Do”: Catholic University’s Pippin Takes to the Stage


Image by Elliana Arnold

By Elliana Arnold

In the Callan Theater, the cast of Catholic University’s Pippin took to the stage with thundering applause from audience members. The sold-out show ran from April 19-21 and featured outstanding talent, humorous moments, and bold design choices.

The musical Pippin is about the heir to the Frankish throne, who is searching for an extraordinary life. From the battlefield and royal court to brothels and farms, Pippin encounters a series of places, people, and jobs that fail to fulfill him. Upon reaching the finale, however, he rejects the magic and realizes that only the ordinary, simple parts of life can bring someone true happiness.

From the moment the lights dimmed to the surprising finale, every actor gave their all on that stage. Hope Blahusch, the Leading Player, led the show with grace, razzle dazzle, and skill as she displayed her powerful voice. Luke Plunkett demonstrated incredible vocal and theatrical talent as he took on the role of Pippin, portraying humor and despair alike. The instant Plunkett walked into the room, repping a Catholic University sweatshirt (before being dragged onstage as Pippin), the audience knew they were in for a humous ride. 

Emma Kaiven, who played Catherine, gave a beautiful, reflective performance as the character paved her own way. Alexis Griess played King Charles’ wife, Fastrada, and strode around the stage whilst slyly and amusingly plotting against both Pippin and her husband. Each actor in the show exhibited fantastic dancing, singing and acting abilities, bringing the show to life before a rapt audience. 

The performance was thoroughly riddled with comedic moments, and the actors often broke the fourth wall, pulling audience members into the action. For instance, Olivia Buckley, who played Pippin’s lively grandmother, Berthe, led the audience in singing the chorus of her song, “No Time at All.” Robert Garza, who played King Charles, and Ben Campion, who played Charles’ second song “Lewis”, both contributed significant humor to the plot as well (particularly when the Frankish troops marched out with pots on their heads).

The actors were not the only entertainers who shined in this production. The musicians in the pit created beautiful music for the show. The audience even got to see a piano accordion and guitar played on the stage. 

The end of the play offered intriguing food for thought when Pippin chooses an ordinary life. As the Players strike the set, turn on the house lights, and remove the costumes and make-up of Pippin, Catherine, and Theo, they pose the audience with the question of who will take Pippin’s place. The musical poses the question about whether finding wonder in the ordinary or whether continually seeking the extraordinary will bring real happiness – the cast and crew of Pippin acted out one man’s journey to answer this question incredibly.

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