Fall play preview: Students prepare for Pippin debut


Sam White

Senior Ari Goodfriend (Pippin) and junior Matthew Millin take center stage. Pippin debuts this Thursday.

By Jack Gonzalez

Two hours into rehearsal, drama director Randy Snight restarts the number. Students get into place with their prop weapons, wait for their cues and stomp their feet to the beat. Snight cuts the instrumental off and signals that he wants the actors to slide their feet more, demonstrating his vision himself.

Student performers are getting ready for Whitman Drama’s fall musical, Pippin. The story follows a young man who is cast in a play and starts to become one with his character. Whitman’s production will be based on the Pippin 2013 Broadway revival and will run from Nov. 15 to 17.

New to Whitman Drama, Snight believes that directing this musical has helped him decide how to stabilize his creative vision while staying inside the constraints of Whitman’s equipment, facilities and student actors.

“One of the really fun things about being new is I don’t necessarily know how things were done before,” Snight said. “I’m having a really nice time balancing how I know to create art with the systems that are already in place and learning a lot about compromise, which I think everyone needs to learn at some pointit’s actually a theme of the show.”

Snight plans to direct the musical with a unique Whitman Drama twist, incorporating elements of past musicals and plays to feature the program’s history. He hopes the show will tie together all of Whitman drama’s past shows and feel like a natural part of the Whitman community.

“The idea is we have 15 years of theater paraphernalia on stage with us and we are using all of that to tell this story,” Snight said. “You’ll even see on our set that there are different walls, doors from all over the place, platforms that are going to have different furniture on them, and piles of detrituswith the idea that you are seeing a vision of everything that’s ever been on this stage before.”

The play was chosen for its deep undertones and complex plot. Assistant director Allie O’Connor offers creative advice and helps direct the musical according to Snight’s artistic vision. She hopes the audience will be able to understand the play in their own way.

“The show can have a lot of different takeaways, depending on how you view it,” O’Connor said. “There’s a lot of different potential plot lines you could follow or different little things you could cling onto and connect to during the rest of the show.”

The play is presented through a mix of song and dialogue, keeping it lighthearted and fun as the final Whitman Drama musical for many senior performers.  

“Pippin is a story of taking an individual journey and ultimately finding where you want to go in life, and I think that’s something we can all relate to today,” ensemble member Callia Chuang said.