Poppin’ In For Pippin

‘Coming of age’ musical arrives at DM


Madeline Plati

To prepare for opening night of Pippin, seniors Sydney Grom, Charlie Lester, Swae Miller-Estabrook, Samantha Landay, Morgan Taylor, Len Wang, Jojo Miller, Shannon Gyger, Sawyer Furio, and freshman Josh Roga practice the song “Glory” as theatre director Mr. Willingham looks on. “Gosh, there are thousands of musicals,” said Mr. Willingham, in his second year as DM’s theatre director, “and I would say that Pippin is in the top 50 musicals that are done hundreds, if not, thousands of times a year in this country,” says Mr.Shad, the play director. Pippin will open at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 and will run through Nov. 5.

Madeline Plati, Reporter

The upcoming school musical Pippin, opening today, required months of practice and behind-the-scenes work to prepare for opening night.  Every single person–from teachers to students, from actors to tech–has a huge part to play. 

“It’s a coming of age story,” said Ms. Moore, the show’s music director and DM’s choir director, “and the music is so reflective of that kind of genre”

Ms.Moore, who has served as music director for 18 musicals–nine at DM–added that teaching the songs is a process; each of the two acts required a month to learn. 

The cast of 12 was chosen in August; casting the show was a challenge, given the talent here at DM.

“We have a Pippin, one of our students Morgan Taylor, a senior, (who) has been involved with theater his entire time here and he is quite talented,” Mr. Willingham said. “When you are choosing a play for your students you should make sure that you have people who can play a certain role. When you are playing Romeo and Juliet you should have a Romeo and Juliet .”

But there wouldn’t be a show without the tech workers; nearly 30 students are needed to handle the lights, sound, curtains, costumes, makeup, props, and other departments.

“It’s definitely going to be an experience so that’s why we extended tech week by a bit longer for three days just so I can get those cues down and I’ll have a couple days to practice that with dress rehearsal ,” said stage manager Lola Elliot (11), who will be calling the cues, directing when the lights and sound should be changed and props should be ready.

“During show nights I am going to be calling cues when lights go and sound goes whenever stage hands might have to run something on and off,”  said Elliot, who, during rehearsals, would determine specific lighting for each scene in preparation for opening night.

Senior Morgan Taylor, who is playing the title role, said the rehearsals were critical to the musical’s success.

When it comes to opening night I think that it’s an individual reflection on experience in doing these rehearsals,” said Taylor, who ironically performed one of Pippin’s signature songs, “Corner of the Sky”, two years ago in Wolves of Broadway, DM’s 2021 musical, a collection of songs from various musicals.

Preparation also helps with the opening night jitters.

“I’m not really afraid,” he said. “I’m one of those people who enjoys being in front of an audience and I feed off of one, so it’s nervous in the first 10 minutes before you go on stage. ”

Equally important to the musical’s success is the ensemble; though these actors have fewer lines, there is no such role as a “minor” role in a musical.

“When I found out the role I was playing I was very excited, said freshman Josh Roga. “I did not think I was getting casted whatsoever, so I found out I was even casted to begin with I felt excitement and joy. I ended up snap texting a bunch of my friends.”