Theater review: Flippin’ over ‘Pippin’

It’s impossible to avoid being lured into the dangerously enticing web of Patina Miller, front, in “Pippin.”

It was unsurprising when the American Repertory Theater announced that its current production, “Pippin,” was heading to Broadway this spring. Few who see it will expect anything less than a shelf full of trophies for director Diane Paulus and company in the upcoming award season.

Paulus collaborated with Gypsy Snider of the circus troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main and choreographer Chet Walker for this revival of the Stephen Schwartz musical. The result is an unprecedented theatrical spectacle.

Normally, incredible gymnastic feats and contortions would be a distraction for a sweet story like “Pippin.” But this troupe has found a balance that makes it so seamless you’d swear the aerialists and jugglers were in the original script.

Though the score boasts musical theater staples like “Corner of the Sky” and “Magic to Do,” it’s the contagious enthusiasm of the ensemble that wins over the crowd. It’s impossible to avoid being lured into the dangerously enticing web of Patina Miller as she dazzles the room as Leading Player.

Andrea Martin nearly stops the show with a riotous rendition of “No Time at All” while Terrence Mann is perfectly imperious as Charles. Matthew James Thomas is charming and engaging in the title role, while Charlotte d’Amboise lights up the stage as Fastrada. And in a mere moment, young Andrew Cekala as Theo delivers the “wow” that solidifies the magic of “Pippin.”

Through Jan. 20
American Repertory Theater
64 Brattle St., Cambridge
$25-$100, 617-547-8300


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