March 27, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

“Pippin” Plays March 28-30, April 1-3 on VSU’s Sawyer Theatre Stage

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University Theatre and Dance will present “Pippin” March 28-30 and April 1-3 on the Sawyer Theatre stage.

With a book by Roger O. Hirson and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, “Pippin” uses the premise of a performance troupe to tell the story of a young prince who is searching for meaning and significance. It was originally produced for the Broadway stage by Stuart Ostrow and directed by Bob Fosse.

“After 38 years of re-creating musical theatre productions, I find many American musicals are still timeless,” said Eric Brandt Nielsen, director and choreographer, as well as a professor and Dance Program coordinator in VSU’s College of the Arts. This is his third time directing and choreographing a production of “Pippin.”

“They say the third time is a charm, and it has been with an incredible cast, crew, and artistic staff. As I observe this young VSU cast, I cannot help but remember performers I worked with in my first 1987 production. The character Berthe was played by Ann Harada, who is presently in the Broadway musical ‘Cinderella’ and also plays the stage manager in the TV Series ‘Smash.’ My first Pippin was Joel Newsome, who has been on tour with ‘Billy Elliot’ and also performed in the Broadway revival of ‘42nd Street.’ I recently was informed that Paul Campiglia, VSU music professor and percussionist, played in the pit for that production. … I truly feel that you will be observing cast members in this production who will follow in the footsteps of those I have just mentioned.”

Tickets for “Pippin” are $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, $10 for children and non-VSU students, and free for VSU students. Tickets for groups of 10 or more at a single performance are $10.

“Pippin” opens at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, in Sawyer Theatre on the first floor of VSU’s Fine Arts Building, which is located at the intersection of Brookwood Drive and Oak Street. Additional performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 29, through Saturday, March 30; 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 31; and 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 1, through Wednesday, April 3. The show is performed with one 15-minute intermission.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the VSU Theatre and Dance Box Office at (229) 333-5973 between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

VSU’s production of “Pippin” has been entered in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. This national theater education program aims to identify and promote quality in college-level theater productions.

Contact Eric Brandt Nielsen at to learn more.

On the Web:


Director and Choreographer: Eric Brandt Nielsen

Scenic and Lighting Designer: Ruth A. Brandvik

Costume Designer: Esther Iverson

Technical Director: Michael Driggers

Stage Manager: Caleb Spivey

Conductor: Matthew C. Mainella

Vocal Director: Christopher Bailey


Cast: Emmanuel Davis (Leading Player), Chance Wall (Pippin), Max Swangel (Charles, Pippin’s father), Ethan Parker (Lewis, Pippin’s half-brother), Sarah Beth Moseley (Fastrada, Lewis’ mother), Ashley Anderson (Pippin’s grandmother), Jessica Mathis (Catherine, a widow), Michael McClain (Theo, the widow’s son), and Amber Austin, Emie Axford, Joshua Barcol, Kahlil Barrett, Emily Bradford, Tess Buis, Demetrice Cunningham, Blake Fountain, Deroccius Harris, Matthew Hogan, Caitlin Miller, Chela North, Andrew Ritfeld, Tyrell Ruffin, Kelsey Russo, Kelsey South, and Lauren Woodard (Band of Players who play all other roles)


Production Staff: Joe Brashier (pit consultant), Leslie Kirby (assistant stage manager and properties master), Christa Bynum (assistant stage manager and wig assistant), Tess Buis (dance captain), Matthew Moran (sound designer/engineer and sound board operator), Ryan Ponsell (assistant technical director and scene shop assistant), Ruth Brandvik (faculty lighting design advisor), Genna Kasun (master electrician, scene shop assistant, and house manager), Rebecca Morris (master carpenter and scene shop assistant), Patricia Angier (light board operator and wig assistant), Jared Kay (spotlight operator and scene shop assistant), DeAnna Keys (spotlight operator), Zane Bennett (fly operator), Alice Roberson (wardrobe crew), Rachael Goble (wardrobe crew), Aninat Aminu (wardrobe crew), Ethan Glass (wardrobe crew), Carlie Johnson (wig stylist), Kathy Raess-Young (costume shop supervisor), Patrice Trower (costume shop assistant), Caleb Spivey (box office manager), Matthew Tito (house manager), THEA 3720C (costume construction crew), and THEA 2750, THEA 3720A, and THEA 3720B (scenic construction crew)


Musicians: Alan Carter (keyboard), Katie Aufenthie (keyboard), Jared McLeroy (bass), Tyrone Tarplin (percussion), Teal Ewer (trumpet), Joshua Watford (trombone), and Fernando Chavez (reeds)