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Popular ‘Pippin’ hits Munster High School

The cast Munster High School producti“Pippin” includes (from left) Katie Gajewski (Berthe) Steven Caraher (Charles) Christian Fary (Leading Player) Michael

The cast of the Munster High School production of “Pippin” includes (from left) Katie Gajewski (Berthe), Steven Caraher (Charles), Christian Fary (Leading Player), Michael Peters (Pippin), Helena Jancosek (Fastrada), Morgan Papesh (Catherine), Ben Nichols (Lewis). | Photo provided

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IF YOU GO

What: “Pippin”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 15, 16 and 17; 2 p.m. Nov. 18

Where: Munster High School Auditorium, 8808 Columbia Ave.

Tickets: Available at the auditorium box office on performance nights or in advance by calling 838-2235, or emailing apkinser@munaud.org.

A popular, energetic musical that has stood the test of time is hitting the stage this month as the Munster High School Theater Company performs “Pippin” by Roger O. Hirson.

Theater director Larry Brechner described it as a longtime personal favorite.

“Pippin is a very unique, ensemble production where members of the cast appear in various roles despite their gender,” Brechner said. “With a Stephen Schwartz score (‘Godspell,’ ‘Wicked,’ ‘Magic Show’), the music is fresh and upbeat, and the show concept very original.”

The Broadway production was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, he added.

Ben Nichols, 17, will appear as Lewis, the brother of lead character Pippin. The senior feels performing is a highlight of his high school years.

“I like surrounding myself with talented people. That pushes me to make myself better,” he said. “It’s a lot of work to work your way up in theater, but once you get to the top, it feels tremendous.”

Morgan Papesh, 16, portrays the role of Catherine.

“Catherine, who is an ordinary widow running an estate with her young son, immediately falls in love with Pippin and goes to great lengths to capture his affection,” the junior said. “I love performing in ‘Pippin’ because of its mysterious and eclectic style. The way in which the story plays out is unlike any other musical.”

The play includes 26 students in the cast, 25 in the orchestra pit and a production staff of about 30, according to Brechner. That’s a large number of people, and there was a challenge this year with not having a lot of time to prepare.

“This year, fall break is Nov. 2 through 6, which is the week before we open. Having five days off that close to the show creates a tight rehearsal schedule,” he said.

Senior Christian Fary, 17, will play the lead male role.

“This is a really fun show with no heavy drama, and characters that are enjoyable,” he said. “I love taking people away from the troubles of their lives and letting them forget it all.”

Katie Gajewski, 17, will appear as Pippin’s grandmother Berthe.

“I wanted to be Berthe in this show because she is an awesome character. She is cute and lighthearted and encourages her grandson Pippin to explore his life,” the senior said. “She encourages the other characters to join in on her song, and eventually the audience, and it makes a super fun experience for me.”

This year’s actors in the theater company are gaining more than just acting skills, according to the director.

“Theater as a collaborative art requires greater cooperation and support of the various elements to be a success, and that certainly is a real-world life lesson,” Brechner said. “In a large musical, everyone has a major contribution to the whole production. Learning to perform
in front of an audience is a great communication skill that carries over to anything you do later in life.”



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