'Pippin' and 'Godspell' come to Fairhope stage

By Allison Marlow
Managing Editor
Posted 4/29/22

Two stories written in the course of a single year.One, bare. Told with minimal costumes and sets. The other, a grand spectacle of fire, magic and costuming.Both shows touch on the themes of morality …

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'Pippin' and 'Godspell' come to Fairhope stage


Two stories written in the course of a single year.

One, bare. Told with minimal costumes and sets. The other, a grand spectacle of fire, magic and costuming.

Both shows touch on the themes of morality and family. Both strive to find meaning in the world.

You can catch a performance of each this May in Fairhope.

Eastern Shore Repertory Theatre will present "Pippin" as the 9th Annual Theatre on the Bluff musical May 5 – 7. The company will also give an encore performance of "Godspell" on May 8.

Both pieces were written by Stephen Schwartz in 1972 and 1971, respectively. Schwartz, a giant in the world of musical theater, is also responsible for a little ditty called "Wicked" and wrote many of Disney's soundtracks such as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

ESRT Director Erin Langley said the show is different from previous bluff performances because "there is so much spectacle" in the tale of a boy, Pippin, a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life and prove his loyalty to his distracted father.
To properly retell Pippin's adventures, the show includes circus acts, fire, live reptiles, and magic tricks.

"Come and be dazzled or sink into the meat of the story," Langley said. "There's really something for everyone."

ESRT will also host an encore performance of "Godspell" on May 8, also at the bluff overlooking Fairhope Pier.

The theatre company performed the musical in New York City in the fall of 2021 after Langley received permission directly from Schwartz.

She said she was drawn to "Godspell" after being inspired during a quiet walk alone. Like many directors she was frustrated with the pandemic and the cap it had placed on live theater.

She asked herself, if she could do anything, what would it be.

"I don't know exactly why that show came into my mind, but I knew it would look amazing in Central Park and if I could do anything I would take a group to New York to perform," she said.

After talks with licensing agencies that would approve such an endeavor they said yes, only if she wrote to Schwartz for permission. She did. And he loved the idea.

Members of ESRT were cast and the show was performed under a crisp October sky in New York's Central Park.

In February that cast performed a 15-minute cut of the production for judges at the Junior Theatre Festival West, in California, where they received a perfect score.

Now, Baldwin County audiences have an opportunity to see both shows in a single weekend.

"The kids have really learned to respect Stephen Schwartz and his work this year and really sink into his style," she said. "Everyone takes away something different."