New Jersey City University (NJCU) Music, Dance and Theatre Department, in collaboration with Joffrey Ballet School presents “Pippin” for two weekends of performances, beginning Friday, March 25 at NJCU’s Margaret Williams Theater, located on campus in Hepburn Hall, 2039 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City.
Six performances are scheduled. On the opening weekend, shows are Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 27 at 3 p.m. The second weekend features showtimes on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 3 at 3 p.m.
One of Steven Schwartz’s most beloved musicals, “Pippin” is a show within a show where the titular character searches for the secret to true happiness, led by the Leading Player and a troupe of actors, dancers, and other performers in a circus of extreme acts. Pippin is guided through glories of the battlefield, temptations of the flesh, and intrigues of political power. In the end, Pippin finds that happiness lies not in extraordinary endeavors, but in the unextraordinary moments that happen every day.
This new take on the 2013 Tony Award-winning revival imagines a spectacle that happens not under the big top, but on the digital platforms where so many people seek happiness and fulfillment in one perfect act.
“Today the circus is online,” said Marc G. Dalio, NJCU’s Area Coordinator of Musical Theatre Studies at NJCU, and director of the production. “Social media is a lie. A world of filters and edits blur the lines between the real and the imagined. Through an altered perception of accomplishments and failures, we are all somehow just seconds away from viral fame. So, in this age of so much manufactured media on our quest for success, our show revives the beautiful truth found in simple, imperfect, every-day expressions of love and authenticity. “
To this end, the production is an immersive experience where the audience is confronted with an array of televisions and video screens displaying each character’s social media feed and follower counts. But as the show progresses the characters and the audience are left to make important decisions about what they can—and cannot—embrace.
The production of “Pippin” is the first to result from the recently launched partnership between NJCU and Joffrey Ballet School. The NJCU-Joffrey B.F.A. in Dance program offers students in the highly competitive Joffrey Trainee Program the opportunity to earn a B.F.A. is as little as two years. Students develop academically while establishing connections to enter the professional dance world.
Angelica Stiskin, the Artistic Director of the Jazz and Contemporary Trainee program at Joffrey, choreographed the performance. “This production marks the first collaboration of its kind between Joffrey Ballet School and New Jersey City University,” said Stiskin. “We now have the opportunity to challenge our emerging artists to take a new stage together—a moment to fuse talent, increase network, and share strengths. I am honored to work alongside Marc Dalio in preparing these students for successful careers in the worlds of dance and theatre. Come witness this magic!”
In addition to the talented cast, PIPPIN’s creative team boasts talent from Broadway and the professional dance world. The musical team of John DiPinto and Amy Duran, both on faculty in the Musical Theatre Area at NJCU, are accomplished conductors and pianists, having worked on countless shows in the US and internationally. Designer, Maruti Evans, is an award-winning lighting and scenic designer, who has been a member of the NJCU Musical Theatre Workshop creative team since its inception in 2009. Montana Fucci, a recent graduate of Montclair’s B.F.A. program, is the as costume designer, bringing her beautiful creative energy to NJCU for this performance. Technical Director Duane McDevitt is a professional (AEA) actor, singer, and technician, with numerous credits on and off the stage.
About The NJCU Center for the Arts
The NJCU Center for the Arts brings the University’s cultural offerings together under one creative umbrella. With New York City just across the river, the NJCU Center for the Arts is a cultural hub of New Jersey, hosting guest artists and speakers in the performing, visual, film, and literary arts, alongside student presentations. The history of our ongoing arts program has been rooted in both sharing the resources of our faculty who are working artists in their respective disciplines with our community, as well as bringing in international, national, regional, and local artists in a wide range of genres, to bring their world perspectives to our Center. We strive to present inspiring and thought-provoking arts experiences that foster dialogue across generations, support diversity and address our place in the world.