Founded in 1969, the Mac-Haydn Theater in Chatham, NY strives to bring innovative, diverse and professional musical theater productions to residents of Columbia County and beyond. The company also cultivates young talents for careers in theater and seeks to provide a favorable environment for the creation of new works of musical theater.
The 2020 season opened with one of my personal favorites, PIPPIN. It was the first Broadway show I saw. Its popular number, “Corner of the Sky” has often been surrounded by children of the theater gathered around pianos over the past forty years. With music and lyrics by Stephen schwartz, originally directed and choreographed by Bob Ditch, PIPPIN uses the premise of a show troupe, led by the First Player, to tell the story of a young prince (son of Charlemagne) in search of meaning and meaning.
Director, John saunders, and the team incorporated circus-like elements from the popular 2013 revival. The cast included Kylan ross as Pippin, Amber Mawande-Spytek as lead actress, Maya Cuevas as Catherine, Mikel Hunter as Charlemagne, Ashley DeLane Burger as Fastrada, Liz Gurland as Berthe, Andrew Burton Kelley as Lewis, Clementine Kline as Thea, and Davis Aaron as Player with Fire. One of the most enjoyable aspects of productions at Mac-Haydn is the chance to see promising young artists. Everyone in this cast approach their performance with a dedication, professionalism and energy that is both refreshing and palpable. I was impressed with the work of Kylan ross, Liz Gurland and Andrew Burton Kelley and would be surprised if we don’t see these names in the future. Mikel Hunter is particularly well suited to his role as is Maya Cuevas. While Amber Mawande-Spytek displayed a lot of skill and ability, I found her inconsistent performance more due to the powerful moments in which she seemed to overpower the character, compared to the few where she seemed to play the role. Elizabeth mcguireThe choreography of was well suited to the performers, the space and works well. Angela Carstensen’s costumes were fun, appropriate, and well-designed, as were the sets designed by Emma Cummings.
As with other Mac-Haydn productions, PIPPIN was charming, delicious and very personable. I would highly recommend it if the show hadn’t ended on August 8th to make way for SHE LOVES ME which will be playing August 12-22. I strongly encourage patrons of Berkshire and Capital District theaters to visit http://www.machaydntheatre.org/ for information and tickets for the remainder of the season which is scheduled until October.