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  Pippin Reviews

Mercury Theater
Thru - Dec 16, 2018

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Mercury Theater

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Somewhat Recommended

"...All that said, “Pippin” fans will still find things to enjoy — the orgy sequence is deliciously staged by Didier and an incredibly hardworking and talented ensemble. And when his microphone is firing, Johnson is the kind of actor who can make you feel like you are in the presence of a masterful storyteller. Everyone here has heart; the issue is just ensuring that’s always the pulse of a musical that engenders so much love."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times- Highly Recommended

"...The result is a hyper-intimate exploration of larger-than-life topics. Bolstered by Brenda Didier’s Bob Fosse-inspired choreography, “Pippin” is defined throughout by Johnson’s sinewy seducer-in-chief. He’s like a snake in the garden, wearing a sense of corruption and danger like a malevolent halo. With the Leading Player as a tour guide, the kingdom of Charlemagne’s a place of menace and wonder."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended

"...Director L. Walter Stearns uses the space well. Large scenes never feel crammed in, and the smaller scenes are more moving than I remember from past, larger productions of this show. Stearns's casting is strong. Koray Tarhan easily wins us over as Pippin. From the moment the story begins we are on his side; his pain is our pain. And even the show's choreography—created on Broadway by the show's legendary director, Bob Fosse—works on the tiny stage, thanks to choreographer Brenda Didier."
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Jack Helbig

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended

"...L. Walter Stearns' staging at the Mercury's delightfully cozy Venus Cabaret couldn't be more different than the circus-spectacle version staged by Diana Paulus, seen here on the national tour in 2015. But it's breathtaking in its own right, and filled with an ensemble that brings in a potent blend of smarts, sexiness and a soupcon of sadness. Toss in Rachel Boylan's slinky-shiny lingerie costumes ( complete with Bob Fosse-esque hands sewn over various body parts ), and the parallels to Cabaret are irresistible."
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Kerry Reid

Stage and Cinema- Recommended

"...Athletic and exuberant, Koray Tarhan makes a pleasantly Candide-like Pippin, equally ardent and confused about his fate and future. For an unrepentant regicide/patricide, this prankster prince projects a ton of irresistible innocence, a transplanted medieval hippie much like Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...The Leading Player ( a stand out performance by Donterrio Johnson, who should be nominated for a Jeff for this one) is our story-teller, narrator and controls the events that we see. Oh, Pippin does dispose of his father and takes over the kingdom, only to find that doing this is not really an “extraordinary life”. So he gives it all back and goes on to meet Catherine ( a delightful performance by Nicole Armold) who has a young son, Theo ( adorably played by Gabriel Robert). They have a farm that he must work and life becomes far from extraordinary…or does it? Can a normal life, for some be “extraordinary? Even in today’s political mess, the message of this delightful show is clear!"
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...This resplendent production, with exciting video designs by G. "Max" Maxin IV, superb lighting courtesy of Dustin L. Derry and gorgeous black-and-white costumes by Rachel Boylan, is only slated to play through mid-December. It deserves a much longer run. An infectious, heartwarming production, laced with so much humor and pathos, sends audiences out into the chilly Autumn night appreciating that, like themselves, even a prince may suffer doubts about life. Stephen Schwartz understood that those qualms were as universal as love, death and paying taxes. He painted a portrait of a young man searching, like every one of us, for his "Corner of the Sky." Most audience members will know where this journey is headed. But joining Pippin on his voyage to enlightenment will bring unbridled joy to audiences looking for their own "Magic to Do.""
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Highly Recommended

"...Stearns's directing deftly fits the action to the minimal Venus cabaret space, mixing action on the stage platform with entrances and exists on the aisles. Performers often interact directly with the viewers, not as gimmicks but as natural settings for the show. Stearns's production doesn't hide behind the circusy spectacle flaunted by the original and road companies. "Pippin" now joins with the revival of "Avenue Q" at the Mercury Theatre to offer local playgoers and tourists the best double bill of the season."
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Dan Zeff

Chicagoland Musical Theatre- Highly Recommended

"...Onstage, brilliant Donterrio Johnson makes the sexy and diabolical Leading Player his very own. From from the first notes of “Magic to Do,” the show’s extravagant opening number, Johnson’s talent makes his performance equal to those of Ben Vareen and Patina Miller who played the Leading Player on Broadway."
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Barry Reszel

Chicago Theater and Arts- Highly Recommended

"...A fabulous cast keeps the delighted audience at the edge of their seats as they watch with amazement as each member displays proficient, multiple skills. The singing is beautiful and the dancing is incredible."
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Francine Pappadis Friedman

PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...The big numbers are on full throttle including Johnson and Company in "Magic To Do" and "Right Track"... Tarhan's "Corner of the Sky" and "Morning Glow"... Armold's "Average Everyday Woman" ...and Smith's "Spread A Little Sunshine." There is a special place for everyone in "War is a Science," a scene that includes a very amusing topographical element (video and projections by G. Max Maxim IV) before the men go marching out into the fray, replete throughout in Rachel Boylan's dazzling costumes."
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Ed Tracy