‘Pippin’ powered by Mask and Bauble and nomadictheatre at Georgetown

The actors grab the show by the horns and fully commit to telling this story.

By Lucille Rieke

Though Pippin has been done thousands of times at thousands of colleges, what is significant about this production is that it is entirely student-run. From the director to the designers, the cast, and even a live orchestra of only students, this show is put on under the supervision and execution of Georgetown University students. Impressively, to say the least, these students have taken a complex show and put it on its feet with the support of each other. Pippin, featuring students across majors, schools, and grades, is put on in collaboration with two of the student theater groups on campus: Mask and Bauble and nomadictheatre. 

Daniel Tomas, Lainey Lyle, Kait Delaney, Caitlin Waugh, Marre Gaffigan, Caroline Samoluk, Amelia Shotwell, Michael Scime, Daisy Thomas, Jaqueline Luque, and Ruth Abramovitz in ‘Pippin.’ Photo by Miranda Xiong.

Pippin is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Roger O. Hirson, and original direction and choreography by Bob Fosse. Schwartz’s harmonies are honored in the Act 1 finale, “Morning Glow,” under the musical direction of Owen Posnett. Hirson’s words are brought to life with the direction of Drew Lent (his directorial debut!), and Fosse’s choreography is exemplified by co-choreographers Lily Geiser and Micaela Wells with fantastic dance breaks in “Spread a Little Sunshine” and “Glory.”

A classic hero’s journey plotline, the show follows our hero, Pippin (Tommy Reichard), as he searches for fulfillment in his life. After graduating from school, he returns home to his father, King Charles (Daniel Tomas), stepmother Fastrada (Caitlin Waugh), and stepbrother Lewis (Nate Findlay). During this quest for meaning, he visits his grandmother Berthe (Daisy Thomas), who advises him to stay in the moment in a hilarious number “No Time at All.” The second act brings widow Catherine (Amelia Shotwell) and her son Theo (Lainey Lyle) into Pippin’s life, and he spends a year working on their estate and falling in love with Catherine. All the while Pippin — and the audience — are under the watchful and commanding gaze of the Leading Player, the show’s emcee, narrator, and entertainer (Caroline Samoluk).

The actors grab the show by the horns and fully commit to telling this story. Waugh gives Fastrada much-needed sass and sensuality, exemplified in her well-executed “Spread a Little Sunshine” dance solo. Findlay is a joy to watch; with his impeccable stage presence, he had the audience cackling. Tomas gives King Charles a hysterical nature of unflappability as his kingdom goes down in flames. Berthe is your classic crazy, comical grandmother under Daisy Thomas’s loving care.

TOP LEFT: Kait Delaney, Daniel Tomas, Tommy Reichard, Rishu Nevatia, Daisy Thomas, Jaqueline Luque, Caroline Samoluk, and Michael Scime; TOP RIGHT: Jacqueline Luque, Michael Scime, and Rishu Nevatia; ABOVE LEFT: Caroline Samoluk; ABOVE RIGHT: Amelia Shotwell and Tommy Reichard, in ‘Pippin.’ Photos by Miranda Xiong.

Shotwell’s voice blossoms in “Kind of Woman” and Lyle creates the most endearing portrayal of young Theo, closing the show beautifully with “Theo’s Corner.” Reichard approaches Pippin with curiosity and honor, his likeability mooring the show. And finally, Samoluk commands the stage and steers the show ahead with her bold presence, witty humor, and skillful dancing matched by her players (Abramovitz, Delaney, Gaffigan, Georgussis, Luque, Nevatia, Scime).

The show breaks the fourth wall; the actors speak directly to the audience. In the Blackbox theater, this works to captivate the audience. A catwalk adorned with light bulbs and a backdrop featuring PIPPIN in bright red letters with bulbs identical to those that line the stage give the show a very cabaret-esque feel — allowing the audience to become part of the production as it unfolds.

Pippin displays the power of student-driven theater and the resulting benefit of passion-led performances. As the actors take their final bow, they launch into an audience sing-along reprise of “No Time at All” and the joy imbued in this community-filled production is evident all around.

Running Time: Approximately two hours and 30 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.

Pippin plays through April 20, 2024, presented by Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society and nomadictheatre performing at Georgetown University in Poulton Hall, Stage III, 1421 37th Street NW, Washington, DC. Tickets ($10) are available online.

The program for Pippin is online here.

Lucille Rieke is an actor, musician, singer, and teaching artist based in Washington, DC, and San Francisco. She is currently a sophomore at American University studying Theatre Performance and Public Relations. You may have seen her recently in American University’s production of Daughters of Leda (Alex/Eve) or Once (Ex-Girlfriend). Lucille is honored to have the opportunity to write with DC Theater Arts as part of the DC Theater U program and cannot wait to begin seeing more theater in the future.

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Roger O. Hirson

Pippin: Tommy Reichard
Leading Player: Caroline Samoluk
Berthe: Daisy Thomas
Catherine: Amelia Shotwell
Fastrada (u/s Berthe): Caitlin Waugh
King Charles: Daniel Tomas
Lewis (u/s Pippin): Nate Findlay
Theo (u/s Catherine): Lainey Lyle
Player: Ruth Abramovitz
Player (u/s Leading Player): Kait Delaney
Player (u/s Fastrada): Marre Gaffigan
Player (u/s King Charles): Alexandros (X) Georgussis
Player (u/s Theo): Jacqueline Luque
Player: Rishu Nevatia
Player (u/s Lewis): Michael Scime

Directed by Drew Lent ‘25
Stage Managed by Sean Rafferty, ’26
Co-produced by Katherine Martinez, ’25
Co-produced by Lily Shytle, ’24
Co-Technical Direction by Cliff Stern, ‘26
Co-Technical Direction by Molly Kenney, ’25
Musical Direction by Owen Posnett, ’24
Co-Choreographed by Lily Geiser, ’24
Co-Choreographed by Micaela Wells, ’26
Assistant Director: Anna Dewey ‘26
Assistant Director: Scott Burke ‘26
Assistant Producer: Benjamin Fishbein ‘26
Assistant Stage Manager: Brooke Bergin ‘27
Assistant Stage Manager: Ruby Lillie ‘27
Assistant Technical Director: Alec Hamblet ‘27
Assistant Music Director: Sophie Maretz ‘26
Assistant Music Director: Henry Ren ‘26
Assistant Choreographer: Kayla Jones ‘25

Set Designer: Briana Sparacino ‘25
Set Dresser: Linsey Brookfield ‘26
Scenic Artist: Jinhe Zhao ‘27
Scenic Artist: Tara Chawla ‘27
Head Electrician: Abby Hames ‘24
Lighting Designer: Antoinette Kersaint ‘25
Lighting Designer: Nick Romero ‘25
Sound Designer: Lily Marino ‘26
Assistant Sound Designer: Victoria Baioni ‘27
Properties Designer: Miranda Fair ‘25
Properties Designer: Sabrina Perez ‘24
Costume Designer: Ainsley Atwood ‘26
Costume Designer: Erin Davies ‘25
Assistant Costume Designer: Caroline Woodward ‘27
Assistant Costume Designer: Reilly Souther ‘27
Hair and Makeup Designer: CC Mesa ‘26
Hair and Makeup Designer: Celesta Viana ‘26
Assistant Hair and Makeup: Alex Roberts ‘26


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