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THORNTON ACADEMY BRINGS AWARD-WINNING MUSICAL “PIPPIN” TO MAINE

Posted March 13, 2014, at 1:32 p.m.
Last modified March 31, 2014, at 1:33 p.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday, April 11, 2014 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, April 13, 2014 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Thornton Academy's Garland Auditorium, 438 Main Street, Saco, Maine

For more information: 207-602-4471; thorntonacademy.org/arts

SACO, Maine —  The TA Players and the Thornton Academy Arts Department will perform the Tony Award-winning musical “Pippin” from April 10-13, 2014 at Garland Auditorium in Saco, Maine. “Pippin” (words and music by Stephen Schwartz, book by Roger O. Hirson) is a musical whose revival swept Tony Awards when it hit Broadway in 2013.

The TA Players and Arts Department have a connection to the Broadway revival of “Pippin” through alumnus Joel Zayac of Cambridge, MA (class of 2005) who is part of the creative team at American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard, which was responsible for “Pippin”’s return to Broadway. After graduating from TA, Joel Zayac earned a BFA in Graphic Design from Lesley University and then signed on as Graphic Designer for A.R.T. in 2010. Productions Zayac has worked on include: “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” “Pippin,” “The Heart of Robin Hood,” “The Donkey Show,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Marie Antoinette,” “All the Way,” “Witness Uganda,” and “Prometheus Bound.”

Joel Zayac explained he has been excited that, “After starting here in Cambridge, a number of shows continued their lives elsewhere, including on Broadway with shows such as: “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” (2012 Tony Award), “Once the Musical” (2012 Tony Award), “The Glass Menagerie” (with Zachary Quinto and Cherry Jones), “All the Way” (starring Bryan Cranston), and “Pippin” (2013 Tony Award).” A.R.T.’s Artistic Director Diane Paulus, with whom Zayac works, won her first Tony Award as a director for “Pippin.” According to the Boston Globe, “[Pippin] recouped its $8.5 million capitalization in December, and continues its run. It is Paulus’s third Broadway show, and her third to win the Tony for best revival of a musical.” Zayac will return to Saco to watch the TA Players stage “Pippin.”

To prepare for the demanding performance infused with circus acrobatics, Emma Arenstam Campbell (Thornton Academy Dance Director) brought her students to aerial instructor Janette Fertig to train Thornton Academy students. Fertig is a faculty member for the Circus Conservatory that plans to open in Portland in 2015 offering the first Bachelor of Fine Arts in Circus Arts in North America and the first college in the United States focused on advanced circus training (http://circusconservatory.org). The “Pippin” performance includes an array of aerial acrobatics; Campbell said, “By taking them to the Circus Conservatory, I’m making sure that the dancers and actors have the training that they need.”

“Pippin” is the story of a young prince searching for fulfillment and an extraordinary life. The son of a distracted King Charles, Pippin begs to accompany his father to war against the Visigoths. However, Pippin leaves the battlefield to pursue adventure with a magical, musical troupe of performers. The Leading Player, or emcee of the traveling troupe, convinces Pippin to fight tyranny, a mission that ends in the murder of his father. Realizing his mistake, Pippin begs the Leading Player to bring his father back to life, and she obliges. Pippin struggles to decide whether he should settle down and pursue a peaceful life or continue to make magic with the dazzling troupe of performers. What will he choose?

The protagonist, Pippin, will be played by Thornton Academy senior Camden Loeser who recently traveled to New York City to watch the Broadway production and was fortunate enough to meet Matthew James Thomas, the lead actor of “Pippin.”

The original production of “Pippin” premiered on Broadway in 1972. It was directed by Bob Fosse, won nine Tony Awards and four Drama Desk Awards, and ran for close to 2000 performances before closing in 1977. “Pippin” has become a staple of the American Musical cannon, noted for many memorable songs including Corner of the Sky, Magic To Do, l Guess I’ll Miss The Man, Glory, No Time at All, Morning Glow, and Love Song.

Under the direction of David Hanright, Emma Arenstam Campbell, and Cathy Murray, the show will start at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 10 and Friday, April 11. On Saturday, April 12 there will be two shows—a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening show at 7 p.m. The final performance will be on Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m.

The TA Players’ production of “Pippin” is receiving support from Friends of the Arts Gold Sponsor Crossroads Youth Center, Silver Sponsor Richardson Allen Furniture, and Bronze Sponsors Maine Real Estate Network and Harborview Lending.

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, students, and preschoolers. Tickets may be purchased in advance through the Thornton Academy Box Office (Fine Arts Building, 438 Main Street, Saco) on Monday through Friday from X to X PM or by contacting Arts Marketing Associate Doug Stebbins at 282-3361, ext. 4222 or doug.stebbins@thorntonacademy.org. For more information: www.thorntonacademy.org/arts

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Thornton Academy’s theater tradition spans the town academy’s 200 year history. In recent years, it has produced elaborate and challenging Broadway musicals; last spring’s production of “CATS!” attracted sold-out performances in Garland Auditorium.

Founded in 1811, Thornton Academy is an independent town academy in Saco, Maine whose mission is “to prepare students for a changing world.” www.thorntonacademy.org

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