Pippin is a pip of a Broadway musical that is not only a contemporary classic but also the play that made director choreographer Bob Fosse a famous name long before "Cabaret" and "All That Jazz". Using the medieval lege... more »nd of Charlemagne's son, Pippin, heir apparent to the Holy roman Empire, the musical pageant called "Pippin" is a parable about a young man's search for meaning and truth. With the show's masterful master of ceremonies, Ben Vereen, jumping the time barrier from the 1980's to the Middle Ages and back again, while the music and costumes go through similar time and space warps, young "Pippin" embarks on an odyssey to discovery whether there really is "something worthwhile I can do with my life." William Katt plays-sings-and-dances the title role with a freshness and exuberance rarely seen in today's entertainment on stage or screen. Broadway's virtuoso baritone, Ben Rayson, is as regal as they come as Charlemagne. The sheer intensity of Vereen's many-faceted talents steals the show again and again, but he never upstages his co-stars. Martha Raye brings her boisterous energy to the role of Berthe, Pippin's 67 year old grandmother, while Chita Rivera ignites sparks every time she prances into a scene as Pippin's stepmother. The success of "Pippin," wining five Tony Awards and playing to sellout houses for six years is also what brought recognition to its star, Ben Vereen, long before his acclaimed portrayal of "Chicken George" in "Roots". With all of its distinctions, "Pippin" has never existed anywhere but Live, on stage, until this videotape production, supervised by Mr. Fosse, and produced and directed for television by David Sheehan. It's the one video experience you'll always treasure! Bonus Features: Bonus Interview with Bob Fosse| Actor Bios| Scene Selection. Specs: DVD5; Dolby Digital Stereo; 112 minutes; Color; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1981; SRP - $19.99.« less
Francis M. Hough Jr. | Charlotte, NC USA | 07/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having owned the VHS tape of PIPPIN for quite a few years, I was excited to see that this DVD version included eight more minutes than was on my videotape. Parts of "War Is a Science" were put back in, totally missing from the tape version. The song (as well as the show) is still incomplete on this version, but it's likely the most complete issue of this ground-breaking show we'll ever see.Performance wise, you couldn't ask for more from Ben Vareen, William Katt, and Chita Rivera, all of whom give exciting performances captured here for all-time. Christopher Chadman, who plays the egotistical Lewis, brother of Pippin, went on to have a successful career as a Broadway choreographer before his untimely death. And it's great to see Martha Raye playing a role on stage since most of our memories of her are from dated 1940's movies that emphasize her brashness and not her humanity.The most disappointing aspect of this DVD was its sound quality. The "surround" sound as digitized through my receiver muffled the singing and emphasized the orchestra. I found that sending the sound through the side speakers made the singing much clearer and less problematic.The interview with Bob Fosse by critic/video producer David Sheehan isn't long on substance, but it's great to see this theater and film icon again in interviews not seen before.All-in-all, PIPPIN is a sound DVD investment."
Pippin...Magic To Do
Stephen Halpin | Orlando, FL United States | 04/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What can one say about a DVD that preserves much of what made it a hit on Broadway...Bob Fosse's Direction and Choreography? It is a wonderful piece of musical theater history and a wonderful representation of a hit that stormed Broadway in the 70's.That is not to say that this DVD is not without its problems. One of the main problems is that part of the show have been edited out. A song, jokes, a pivotal moment with a talking head are missing leaving viewers perplexed at times. It seems that the editor didnt have a copy of the script to work from. The saving grace is the wonderful performance of Ben Vereen as the Leading Player. For those who want to see Vereen at his peak I would suggest you skip the Fosse DVD and get Pippin. He was one of Fosse's favorite dancers and Pippin shows off his skills. Other actors do a fairly admirable job with their parts. William Katt is good at Pippin, but no matter how many times I watch this producation I get mad that he drops the last line of the show and loses some of its punch in the dropping. Chita Rivera and Martha Raye handle their roles well and Christopher Chadman, who later went on to become a choreographer before passing away, reprises his role of Louis, Pippin's half-brother, and is as wonderful here as he was on Broadway.Stephen Schwartz and Bob Fosse battled throughout Pippins creation, but Pippin is one of Schwartz's nicest score. And the opening number, Magic To Do, is a Broadway classic (which is why I wonder why it didnt make it into Fosse).If you collect Broadway Musicals, Pippin is a great addition to your collection. It is a close replication of the Broadway production and it worth having."
PIPPIN, HIS LIFE AND TIMES
Guy De Federicis | east of here | 11/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Pippin is the court jester of Broadway musicals. The story of a 9th Century son of a Roman king who seeks to find the meaning in his life is as casual as a troupe of travelling medieval entertainers, yet as entertaining as it's Broadway rock contemporaries; Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, and even Rent. Great early '70's rock music with a heap of soul, (The Jackson 5 had a hit with Corner Of The Sky in 1972), and outstanding musical comedy performances by Tony winner Ben Vereen as the godlike omnipresent lead player, Chita Rivera as Pippin's scheming sex-brained mother, and Benjamin Rayson as the warring king. The late Bob Fosse coneived this musical based on a college project by composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz."
Broadway it ain't, but...
Guy De Federicis | 02/26/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this video production with a certain amount of trepidation; after all, it was at the tender age of eight that I had first seen "Pippin" on Broadway, with the original cast. I was not disappointed in the final product of this video, either. Certainly, production values are uneven, and as the musical opened in 1973 and this video was shot in 1981, the material (and performers) suffer a bit from dating; in Chita Rivera's case, carbon-dating, perhaps. But it is still glorious fun to watch Fosse's hip-swishing choreography and pelvis-popping staging, the design staff's imaginative use of cloth and rope to construct castles and foliage, and Ben Vereen at his song-and-dance finest. The cast, including the "Greatest American Hero" (oh, God, am I dating MYSELF? Egad!) William Katt as Pippin, Chita Rivera reprising her role as Fastrada, and Martha Raye as Berthe, do commendable jobs with the material, which is as good as any Stephen Schwarz and Roger O. Hirson ever wrote. Sound quality is uneven, as is the video quality, but hey, this is 1981. They didn't even have Dolby Surround yet."
Perfect for Intro to Theatre
Sushakes | Missouri | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this DVD to use in my Intro to Theatre classes in the 2-year institution where I teach. It is perfect for showing many theatre ideas: 70's theatre styles, why it is important to study Theatre History (the play is reminiscent of the Commedia dell'Arte style of the Italian Renaissance), and Bob Fosse's choreograpy. The "live theatre" style is important for this class since movie things are very different from stage things. And the play is a really good one in general: the songs are good and many of my students recognize "Corner of the Sky", the acting is superb - especially the inestimable Chita Rivera. It is the perfect "Night at the Theatre" for those who live far from Broadway.