Cappies review of “Pippin”: “an exciting night of pure talent”

Members of the South Jersey chapter of Cappies review RV’s production

The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.

The following reviews were completed by two Cappies participants who reviewed the Red Devil Dramatics Production of “Pippin.”


Rancocas Valley Regional High School “Spread a Little Sunshine” in these times of COVID-19  with their amazing performance of “Pippin.” The audience was impressed by this production in “No Time at All.”

The musical theater classic, Pippin, written by famous choreographer Bob Fosse is about a young prince who struggles to find where he belongs. He searches to find it, but struggles and encounters many obstacles along the way. He finds love and can’t decide whether to settle down, or continue to perform.

Red Devil Dramatics put on quite a show in their performance of “Pippin.” I was extremely impressed by the unique costuming, lead vocals and ensemble. During the show, the cast had the audience involved whether they were singing along, laughing or on the edge of their seats waiting for the next event to happen.

The lead performers in this show did not disappoint. Not only was I blown away by the vocals of each character, but the way each lead portrayed their character was fantastic. I was especially impressed by the performance of Ryan Hans who played the Leading Player in this production. From the moment Hans stepped on stage my eye went right to him. His vocals, emotion and dancing made him the center of attention on the stage. Sarah Willits played Catherine in RV’s performance and she shocked the audience with her talent. Willits’ amazing voice was shown during the entirety of her time onstage, but especially in her solo “I Guess I’ll Miss the Man.”

This performance of “Pippin” would not have been the same without the supporting cast. Even when mistakes such as a rushed line or a costume malfunction happened, they were able to work around it. Kevin Turkheimer played Lewis and had the audience laughing any time he was on stage. His ability to stay in character when making a joke was very impressive. Pippin’s grandmother, Berthe, was played by Rosalena Garcia. In her solo “No Time At All” she did a fabulous job making the audience laugh and feel like a part of the show. The ensemble did a great job with the choreography and background vocals during the production. I was extremely impressed by the acrobatics done by Elizabeth Ford during some of the numbers.

Amanda Blain did a great job with the costumes in “Pippin.” They were simple and unique with little pops of color here and there. This added to the character wearing a specific costume. For example Charles was played by Jason Blain and you could see him wearing more royal colors like dark green, yellows and reds. Hans could be seen in darker colors, sparkles and glitter. The tech in the show was amazing. The lights and sound were very well done. Unfortunately however, due to COVID-19 masks had to be worn and it was hard to understand what some of the lyrics were at times.

I was very impressed with RV’s performance of “Pippin.” All of the factors from this production made it an “Extraordinary” performance that audience members and I will not forget.

Jordyn Rosenberg of Delsea Regional High School


An heir to the throne searching for fulfillment, an ensemble depicting bloody war, a prayer for a sickly duck, and a finale one will never forget. Where can all of these elements be seen together nearly flawlessly? Only at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in their brilliant production of “Pippin” by Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz.

This musical, first performed in 1972, is a show within a show. The Leading Player invites the audience to watch the performance and promises that its finale will be one the audience will remember for the rest of their lives. Pippin, son of King Charles (Charlemagne), spends the show searching for something in life to give him true fulfillment. He eventually meets Catherine, a widow with an only son, and the actors fall in love. Pippin comes face to face with his hardest decision. What truly brings him fulfillment? The beauty of “Pippin” is that its theme and setting change for each production, while the plot stays the same.

As you can see, RV had plenty of work to do to perform this show. And we’re happy to say, for everyone’s sake, it was a spectacular evening. The uniformly amazing ensemble brought comedic genius and elegant moves to an already thrilling production. The dancing brought life and an abundance of motion to every scene. Meanwhile, the constant humor of the entire cast brought tears to the viewers’ eyes. Don’t get us started on the vocals. The cast, which included members without mics, sang beautifully. With only slight off-key moments, the show’s music was one to behold.

Some very talented students brought “Pippin”‘s leads to life. Ryan Hans, as the Leading Player, showed off his musical talent and vocal ability with flair. The stage was his domain, and the audience could see him lavishing in it. Antoine Brown played the title character very well and enthusiastically. While Sarah Willits didn’t appear as Catherine until the second act, her performance was impossible to forget.

The supporting cast of “Pippin” only makes the show shine brighter. Jason Blain played Charles as a careless dad-king in the best way possible. Every line is comedically timed for maximum enjoyment: “Your brother, Lewis, is an ideal soldier. He is strong . . . . . and stupid.” Text can’t bring to life the humor delivered by Blain in the show. Not to mention Kevin Turkheimer as Lewis, with his “favorite wrestling position” or Rosalena Garcia as the still-kicking Berthe. The supporting cast wasn’t just hilarious, though. Joelle Darragh, who played Fastrada, presented “Spread A Little Sunshine” with pretty vocals and impressive dance. JT Mozes, as Theo, singing “Corner of the Sky” after the finale was a pleasant surprise.

Even the show’s technical aspects had their shining moments. The most notable of those are the costumes and the stage crew, both done by the students. The costumes were following a modern take on “Pippin.” The ensemble began as high school cliques and evolved into medieval characters, thanks to the costumes. However, the drastic costume changes and sets did cause some confusion among the audience for those unfamiliar with the show. That being said, the technical aspects of the show were done pretty well. The stage crew even had their comedic moment when they swept the war remains off stage. They accomplished their task and made it fun for the audience, too.

RV’s recent production of Pippin was an exciting night of pure talent. They had magic to do and that magic was something we will never forget.

William Pedrick of Clayton High School