On Your Feet Had Us On Our Feet!

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Ana Villafane portrays Gloria Estefan in the new hit Broadway show On Your Feet. Photo: Matthew Murphy.

Jason Wise

Last week, Performing Arts Fort Worth Director of Marketing Jason Wise headed to New York, where he caught the latest and greatest shows on Broadway. Here’s the last of his dispatches! 

On Your Feet

Get ready to get on your feet and dance in this explosive new Broadway musical that tells the inspiring story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan.

From their humble beginnings as Cuban immigrants, to the heights of pop super-stardom, to the lows following Gloria’s tour bus accident, to her sensational comeback, On Your Feet is remarkable story.

The show is infused with all the hits from Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine – there are even original members of the band who perform as musicians in the show.

Ana Villafane, who plays Gloria, is stunning. Her vocals sound just like the original recordings and her mannerisms truly have you thinking you’re watching Gloria Estefan perform on stage.

But it’s more than just a musical concert. It’s a very moving and compelling story about living the American Dream. I am thrilled to say that Performing Arts Fort Worth is one of the producers of this show through the Independent Presenters Network (IPN). We look forward to presenting this show at Bass Hall in a future Broadway at the Bass season. Get ready Fort Worth…the rhythm is going to get you!

King Charles III

It’s the future and Queen Elizabeth II has passed and Charles, The Prince of Wales, is ready to take the throne as king. But is he ready?

Right before the coronation, he engages in a battle with the Prime Minister over a new law that’s about to be passed. The Royal Family is in turmoil as Prince William and Kate struggle with Charles, while Prince Harry fights his own personal demons about being born into the Royal Family.

This West End transfer is a must-see play for anyone who enjoys the world of politics, especially when it’s about The Royal Family.

In May, I’ll be heading back to New York with the entire PAFW marketing team for the Broadway League’s annual Spring Road Conference. We’ll divide and conquer and catch even more new Broadway shows!

Happy holidays, Fort Worth!

 

 

 

Spring (Re)Awakening

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Deaf West’s new production of SPRING AWAKENING, currently playing on Broadway. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Jason Wise, Director of Marketing, Performing Arts Fort Worth

This week, Performing Arts Fort Worth Director of Marketing Jason Wise is sending us reports from New York, where he and other PAFW staffers are catching Broadway’s latest and greatest shows. Take it away, Jason! 

Greetings from the Big Apple! We’ve returned to New York for our annual winter Broadway League meetings with show reps and agents.

For the next several days, we’ll see all the great new shows that have opened up on Broadway, many of which we’re hoping to bring to Bass Hall in upcoming Broadway at the Bass seasons.

One of the most exciting new shows on Broadway this year is the new Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening, an exceptionally moving piece of work.

Fans of the original Broadway production, which won a staggering eight Tony Awards in 2007, will surely fall in love with this revival.

This innovative production, which features both hearing and deaf actors, incorporates American Sign Language, along with dance, into the emotionally-charged story.

The score is also slightly different, providing a more raw, stripped down feel; Duncan Sheik’s song lyrics really come to the forefront.

I was a fan of the original production (we brought the tour to Bass Hall in 2010) but I found myself moved even more by this new production. The show’s re-imagined format gives it a new dimension and many in the audience seemed to feel a very personal connection with the show.

Producers have announced that this new version of Spring Awakening will hit the road in 2017, so hopefully we can bring it to Fort Worth in the future.

 

CONTEST: Win a Michael Martin Murphey VIP package!

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Our friends at Hank FM are hosting a Michael Martin Murphey contest to end all Michael Martin Murphey contests!

Here’s what you’ll win:

  • Two tickets to Michael’s “Cowboy Christmas” show at Bass Hall on December 21.
  • Admission for 2 to a VIP meet and greet lunch with Michael on Dec. 21 at the Hank FM studios in downtown Fort Worth.
  • A special commemorative CD/DVD.
  • And one lucky meet and greet winner will receive a guitar autographed by Michael!

Tune into Hank FM/92.1 mornings and afternoons today through Friday for more info on how to enter!

 

Lottery announced for THE BOOK OF MORMON!

EMAIL_95475performingartsBOM_LA_LotterySign_RulesSign_22x33_PAFW_2014THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the National Tour, which begins December 1 at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth and plays a limited 1-week engagement through December 6. The production will conduct a pre-show lottery at the box office, making 20 tickets available at $25 apiece.

The wildly popular lottery for the Broadway production has attracted as many as 800 entries at some performances. The producers of THE BOOK OF MORMON are pleased to offer low-priced lottery seats for every city on the National Tour.

Entries will be accepted at the box office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

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For more information, visit http://www.BookofMormonTheMusical.com.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical Soars Into North Texas!

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In 1964, the beloved stop-motion animated television classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, made its network television debut, delighting audiences across the country. It has become the longest-running and highest-rated television special in the history of television.

Now the “most famous reindeer of all” can be seen in a live-action musical: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Back by popular demand following last year’s critically acclaimed and hugely successful inaugural tour, the musical features the world’s most famous reindeer and a holly jolly cast of iconic characters, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster.

Rudolph and friends will visit Bass Performance Hall on Nov. 24-25 and the Majestic Theatre in Dallas Dec. 3-6.

“Because our inaugural run was so popular, we will have three tours this year in an effort to bring Rudolph and his friends to even more families and young theatregoers across North America,” says Producing Partner Jonathan Flom.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical practically transports audience members into the television special as songs drive the plot while familiar and nostalgic set design with projections, costumes and characters are brought to stage.

The cast brings new energy to the classic songs and dialogue, while irresistible and lovable puppets help showcase the charming “roughness” from the television show’s stop-motion effects. “We address all of the familiar story elements from the television special with a talented cast and puppeteers who help recreate the magic on stage,” says Producing Partner Bob Penola.

The story tells the tale of a young Rudolph who, because of the appearance of his bright, shining nose, is ousted from the reindeer games in Christmas-town. He flees town, meets up with new friends Hermey and Yukon, and a series of funny and endearing adventures ensue, including a visit to The Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph journeys home, where a snowstorm of epic proportions is threatening Christmas. Can Rudolph save his family and friends and help Santa save the holiday?

The production will expand on its campaign benefiting PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center that launched in conjunction with the tour last year. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is produced by Iconic Entertainment Studios, Right Angle Entertainment and Wishing Star Productions.

For tickets to the Bass Hall performances, call (817) 212-4280 in Fort Worth; 1-877-212-4280 (toll free) outside Fort Worth; or order online at http://www.basshall.com.

For tickets to the Majestic Theatre performances, please click here.

Single tickets for THE BOOK OF MORMON at BASS HALL in Fort Worth go on sale MONDAY, Sept. 28!

Billy Harrigan in THE BOOK OF MORMON. Photo: Johan Persson.

Billy Harrigan in THE BOOK OF MORMON. Photo: Johan Persson.

The producers of the national tour of THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards® including Best Musical, and Performing Arts Fort Worth announced today that single tickets will go on sale Monday, September 28 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets for the Dec. 1-6 run at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth will be available at the Bass Hall box office (525 Commerce St.), by visiting http://www.basshall.com, or by calling 817-212-4280. Group orders of 15 or more may be placed by calling 817-212-4248.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan. Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus. Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

Do You Want to Know a Secret? Frank Warren’s PostSecret Live is coming to Bass Hall!

Frank Warren will bring his PostSecret show to Bass Hall Sept. 8.

Frank Warren will bring his PostSecret show to Bass Hall Sept. 8.

Performing Arts Fort Worth welcomes The New York Times best-selling author Frank Warren and his interactive show, PostSecret Live, to Bass Performance Hall on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $33-$66 and are on sale NOW!

Named the fourth most influential person on the Internet by Forbes magazine, PostSecret creator Frank Warren introduced the world to a collection of highly-personal and artfully-decorated postcards mailed anonymously from people around the world. What started as a community mail-art project quickly exploded in popularity. Since PostSecret’s inception in 2004, Warren has received over 1,000,000 anonymous secrets on homemade postcards. A new batch of postcards is posted every Sunday on his website.

The website is the most visited advertisement-free blog in the world and has won three Webby Awards for “Best Blog on the Internet.” With over 2,500,000 views, his TED talk is one of the most watched in the popular series.

In Warren’s interactive multimedia event, PostSecret Live, he engages audiences with inspiring and funny stories behind the secrets, discusses the blog and unveils never-before-seen postcards. Warren also turns the microphone over to members of the audience, allowing them to share their own secrets.

“The audience is so receptive, and the speakers are so earnest, that long lines form very quickly,” Warren told The Washington Post. “There’s something about a true live event where you have people standing at a microphone sharing things for the first time. It has a whole unique energy to it.”

All six PostSecret books published have been featured on The New York Times bestselling list, with PostSecret Confessions on Life Death and God reaching number one. PostSecret postcards have been exhibited at the renowned Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Visionary Art Museum in Maryland, and there is an album and play based on the project.

Warren’s project has raised over $1,000,000 for suicide prevention and earned him the Mental Health Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and an invitation to the White House to share his thoughts on mental wellness in 2013.

To charge tickets by phone, call (817) 212-4280 in Fort Worth; 1-877-212-4280 (toll free) outside Fort Worth; or order online. Tickets are also available at the Bass Performance Hall ticket office at 525 Commerce Street. Ticket office hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For group sales, call 817-212-4248.
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Casting announced for 42nd STREET national tour, coming to Bass Hall next summer!

11241616_888334021255880_3602355368295812042_nCome and meet those dancing feet! Casting has been announced for the national tour of the Tony Award-winning backstage musical comedy 42nd STREET, coming to Bass Hall and Dallas Summer Musicals next summer!

In the director’s chair will be co-author Mark Bramble and choreography will be handled by Randy Skinner – the team that staged the 2001 Tony Award-winning Best Revival. The show will include some of the most well-known songs in the American songbook, including “We’re In The Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle Off To Buffalo,” “I Only Have Eyes For You” and of course “42nd Street.”

Texas gal Caitlin Ehlinger will star in the national tour of 42nd STREET.

Texas gal Caitlin Ehlinger will star in the national tour of 42nd STREET.

Two Texans will star in lead roles: Matthew J. Taylor (CATS, DAMN YANKEES), born in Port Arthur and now living in Nederland, will take on the role of director Julian Marsh, and Houston native Caitlin Ehlinger will star as newcomer Peggy Sawyer. Rounding out the leads will be Kaitlin Lawrence (HAPPY ENDINGS, CALIFORNIA DREAMING), who will star as Broadway leading lady Dorothy Brock.

Two other cast members are also from the Lone Star State. Sarah Fagan, who plays Diane and is a member of the ensemble, hails from Arlington and attended Martin High. Another ensemble member, Mandy Modic, is from Dallas and attended Coppell High.

Also featured are Britte Steele (Maggie Jones), Steven Bidwell (Bert Barry), Mark Fishback (Abner Dillon), DJ Canaday (Pat Denning), Blake Stadnik (Billy Lawlor), Natalia Lepore Hagan (Annie), Carlos Morales (Mac/Doc/Thug), Lamont Brown (Andy Lee), Rob Ouellette (Oscar), Vanessa Mitchell (Lorraine) and Mallory Nolting (Phyllis).

With a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, 42nd STREET is based on a novel by Bradford Ropes and Busby Berkeley’s 1933 movie and tells the story of a starry-eyed young dancer named Peggy Sawyer who leaves her Allentown home and comes to New York to audition for the new Broadway musical Pretty Lady. When the leading lady breaks her ankle, Peggy takes over and becomes a star.

The original production of 42nd STREET was produced in 1980 on Broadway by David Merrick and featured direction and dances by Gower Champion. It played on Broadway for 3,486 performances, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography. The Broadway revival, which opened in 2001, played for 1,524 performances and earned two Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical.

The show is a part of Performing Arts Fort Worth’s 2015-2016 Broadway at the Bass season. It will play at Bass Performance Hall July 12-17. The show will also appear at the Music Hall at Fair Park June 28-July 10, as part of Dallas Summer Musicals’ 2015-2016 Broadway season.

For more information, please visit http://www.basshall.com or http://www.dallasummermusicals.org.

Casting announced for THE SOUND OF MUSIC national tour, set to include Ashley Brown and Ben Davis!

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Casting has been announced for the brand new production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, directed by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien. This lavish new production launches this September at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, under the auspices of the Center Theatre Group, and will then tour North America for multiple seasons, playing multi-week and week-long engagements. North Texans will have two opportunities to see the show, first at the Music Hall at Fair Park Nov. 3-22, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, and then at Bass Performance Hall Aug. 17-21, 2016, presented by Performing Arts Fort Worth.

Ashley Brown and Ben Davis will star in the national tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, coming to Bass Hall next summer.

Ashley Brown and Ben Davis will star in the national tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, coming to Bass Hall next summer.

BEN DAVIS (Broadway’s Violet, A Little Night Music, La Bohème) will play Captain Georg von Trapp and ASHLEY BROWN (Broadway’s Mary Poppins, NBC’s The Sound of Music) will play The Mother Abbess with MERWIN FOARD as Max Detweiler, TERI DALE HANSEN as Elsa Schraeder, DAN TRACY as Rolf and PAIGE SILVESTER as Liesl. The von Trapp children will be played by ERICH SCHUETT (Friedrich), MARIA KNASEL (Louisa), QUINN ERICKSON (Kurt), SVEA JOHNSON (Brigitta), MACKENZIE CURRIE (Marta) and AUDREY BENNETT (Gretl).

And introducing Jack O’Brien’s brand new discovery, KERSTIN ANDERSON as Maria Rainer. A current student at Pace University, Ms. Anderson won the coveted role from hundreds who auditioned. This will be her first national tour.

“I’ve always believed Maria was a “star-making” part, rather than the leading role we remember from the movies; so I went looking for someone with star-making magic,” says director O’Brien. “And in through the audition door one day walked Kerstin Anderson, still studying at Pace University in New York. She opened her mouth, she sang and the tears welled up in my eyes. If ever there were an enchanting young woman standing on the brink of discovery — this was it! And now, the discovery is about to be all of ours!”

The ensemble includes Carey Rebecca Brown, Ron Brown, Caitlin Burke, Christopher Carl, Kyla Carter, Austin Colby, Daniella Dalli, Elisabeth Evans, Donna Garner, Meghan Hales, Adam Hill, Jenavene Hester, Jeremy Lanuti, Darren Matthias, Kelly McCormick, Julia Osborne, Andrea Ross, Brent Schindele and Jim Schubin.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. This new production is directed by Jack O’Brien (credits include: Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia), and choreographed by Danny Mefford (Fun Home, The Bridges of Madison County and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). The design and production team is comprised of Douglas Schmidt, Set Design (Tony Award® nominee: 42nd Street, Into the Woods); Jane Greenwood, Costume Design (2014 recipient of Special Tony Award ® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), Natasha Katz, Lighting Design (Five-time Tony Award® winner: An American in Paris, Once, Aida, The Coast of Utopia, The Glass Menagerie) and Ken Travis, Sound Design (Aladdin, Newsies, Memphis).

According to director Jack O’Brien, “THE SOUND OF MUSIC has been in our ears for decades, as it deserves to be. But it might be time to look once more, and more closely, at this remarkable work which, I feel, begins to reveal itself as deeper, richer, and more powerful than ever. It’s no longer ‘your mother’s’ familiar SOUND OF MUSIC. We are tearing off the varnish of the past from one of the great glories of our theatergoing experience and making it fresh! This is an opportunity we’ve all longed to create!”

Producer Beth Williams (Grove Entertainment) said, “It’s a great privilege to bring this beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical to theaters across North America. We hope that people of all ages will continue to fall in love with it for the first time, or all over again, and that it will truly become one of their ‘favorite things.’ From our distinguished team led by the creative master Jack O’Brien, audiences can expect a truly magnificent production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.”

In the words of Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein, “THE SOUND OF MUSIC continues to be the world’s most beloved musical. When a major national tour was suggested, I not only agreed, but was willing to roll up my sleeves and do whatever I could to fashion a new stage production that would re-engage today’s theatergoing public. The show was originally created for Broadway, and seeing it on stage only reinforces the power of the story and the score. And with Jack O’Brien at the directorial helm – well, we simply couldn’t do better. Landing somewhere between The Coast of Utopia and Hairspray (shows for which Jack won the Tony®), his production will be smart, focused, and surprising. I can’t wait.”

THE SOUND OF MUSIC enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December, 2013; 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with such songs as “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song.

Tickets to the show are currently available only in season packages. Single tickets will go on sale TBA. For more information, please visit http://www.basshall.com or call (817) 212-4450.

For more information, please visit http://www.TheSoundOfMusicOnTour.com.
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“Cirque du Soleil is like the grandfather, and we are the rebellious teenagers.” An interview with Pippin circus creator Gypsy Snider

Pippin's gravity-defying stunts were created by Gypsy Snider. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Pippin’s gravity-defying stunts were created by Gypsy Snider. Photo: Joan Marcus.

From now until showtime next Tuesday, we’ll be sharing interviews, video clips and other exclusive content about the Tony Award-winning musical PIPPIN, which makes its Bass Hall debut July 21-26. Today, we’re sharing an interview with PIPPIN “circus creator” Gypsy Snider, conducted by John Moore from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

by John Moore
Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Diane Paulus, Stephen Schwartz and Gypsy Snider on opening night of Pippin in New York. Photo:  Broadway.com

Diane Paulus, Stephen Schwartz and Gypsy Snider on opening night of Pippin in New York. Photo: Broadway.com

In Pippin the Musical, a family of circus performers defies death to tell their story with every flip, tumble and mid-air spin.

The same is true of those actors performing in the show, which makes its Bass Hall debut July 21-26.

And the same has been true of Pippin Circus Creator Gypsy Snider since she began her career as a circus performer at the tender age of 4.

With all respect to Stephen Schwartz, composer of Wicked and Pippin, Snider was defying gravity long before Elphaba was a green twinkle in his orchestral eye.

Snider’s parents are the founders of San Francisco’s pioneering Pickle Family Circus, an acclaimed alternative circus often cited as a primary influence on the creation of Cirque du Soleil. Snider is the co-founder of Montreal’s 7 Fingers (Les 7 doigts de la main), a pioneering form of live entertainment responsible for the respected show Traces. That innovative show used astonishing displays of athletic skill to tell the real-life stories of seven street teens.

Snider embraces circus as its own narrative storytelling form. Her brand of physical theatre requires strength, agility and grace.

Her upbringing was like no other. She grew up around the likes of circus legends Bill Irwin and Geoff Hoyle. She appeared among an entire town of street performers in Robert Altman’s 1980 film Popeye. By 18, she was attending a physical-theater school in Switzerland.

She co-founded 7 Fingers in 2002 and, for her first foray into Broadway, she was called upon by Pippin director Diane Paulus to help re-tell Schwartz’s iconic story of a young prince’s quest for meaning in life set within the world of circus. Pippin won the 2013 Tony Award for best musical revival.

Modern audiences who have a familiarity with circus generally think of Cirque du Soleil. But while Snider toured with Cirque and has a deep love for it, she says Pippin should not be mistaken for it. If anything, she said, it should evoke the old days of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

“This is old-school circus,” she said.

We’re talking juggling knives and swallowing fire.

“I would say that Cirque du Soleil is like the grandfather, and we are the rebellious teenagers,” she said.

A “circus performer” rolls along the stage in Pippin. Photo: Joan Marcus.

Pippin culminates with a boy becoming a man, having to choose between a life of adventure or family. Snider has never had to pick between the two – her small children are also embracing the circus life. But Snider’s life turned upside down in 2008, when she were diagnosed with advanced-stage colon cancer.

“It was definitely a life-changing experience,” she said. Much surgery, chemotherapy and radiation followed.

“Suddenly, my work felt trivial and my family became more important than ever before,” Snider said in a previous interview with Broadway Buzz. “I began to question how taxing show business can be and wondered if I should just move to the country and raise my two daughters in a stress-free environment, instead of in the glory of this wonderful but all consuming lifestyle. It was during this difficult time that Diane Paulus reached out to me about the possibility of collaborating on a new production of Pippin.”

And when she did, her charge to Snider was simple:

“Come make this thrilling.”

Here are more excerpts from our recent conversation with Snider.

John Moore: How do you think Bob Fosse would have liked the idea of setting Pippin in a circus?

Gypsy Snider: I feel like Bob Fosse would have wanted us to do this, and that he would have done it himself if this were available to him at the time. Maybe not to this extent, but … it was there. It was already there in the words.

John Moore: With this reimagined version of Pippin – both setting it in the circus and, more tellingly, in consideration of the life choice Pippin faces in the end – it seems to me as if maybe Diane Paulus is saying that Pippin is you.

Gypsy Snider: I think so. Diane and I are both the same age, and we both have two daughters. We have discussed on a very personal level the seduction of the business and this balance you try to achieve, being professional women who have families. It’s really like we are the Catherines — but we are also being seduced like the Pippins. It was interesting for both of us how we connected on an emotional level to this musical. Pippin has this choice to make, and one of them it to embrace this simple home life with an older woman and her child living out in the country where there is no magic and there is no makeup — which is something Fosse presented in a very boring, very pejorative manner. And yet here I am talking to you right now while I am out here in the country with my children — and I love it. But I also love my work. I feed on it so much, and I am proud to show my children how passionate I am about my work.

John Moore: For 40 years, both audiences and writers alike have argued whether the ending to Pippin is a tragedy … or a compromise … or a perfect, happy ending. I imagine, given your life story, that you are split right down the middle.

Gypsy Snider: I am split down the middle. For me, circus is like eating and sleeping and family. It’s my brother; it’s my mother; it’s my father. Just talking about it makes me so emotional. There were maybe a few moments in my life when I felt like walking away from it, or perhaps trying something totally different. Circus is a very physically demanding life. It’s a very itinerant life. And when my kids started going to school, I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ But circus is my family, too. Sometimes I like to think of it as the mafia because it’s a very closed, tight-knit circle. But the reason is because there is so much danger and risk and sacrifice involved. True circus people know each other, and there is a whole sort of respect and value system to it that is so honorable and so genuine and so truthful. To true circus people, there is no nonsense. There is no competition. There is no, ‘I am better than you are.’ There is no, ‘I am going to be a star, but you are not going to be a star.’ Each individual circus performer is absolutely unique, and that uniqueness is valued.

PIPPIN runs July 21-26 at Bass Performance Hall. To purchase tickets, click here.

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