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Pippin: His Life and Times (1981)

At the goading of the ominous and omnipresent Leading Player, Pippin, the eldest son of King Charlemagne, samples life's pleasures to discover his place in the world and the meaning of his life.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Leading Player
Leslie Denniston ...
Benjamin Rayson ...
Joanie P. Oneill ...
Debra Phelan ...
Linda Haberman ...
Kate Wright ...
Allison Williams ...
John Mineo ...
Sword Bearer
Charles Lee Ward ...
Lee Mathis ...
Frank Mastrocola ...


At the goading of the ominous and omnipresent Leading Player, Pippin, the eldest son of King Charlemagne, samples life's pleasures to discover his place in the world and the meaning of his life.

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Did You Know?


The first Broadway musical to be videotaped in live performance for television broadcast. The Mary Martin version of "Peter Pan" was broadcast live in 1955 and 1956, and videotaped in 1960, but all these telecasts were done at the NBC television studios, not in a theatre before a live audience. See more »


Charlemagne: Sometimes I wonder if the fornicating I'm getting is worth the fornicating I'm getting.
See more »


Version of Pippin See more »


On the Right Track
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Sung by Ben Vereen and William Katt
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User Reviews

Watch the Workprint on YouTube; the Televised Edit SUCKS
29 January 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had no idea what to expect when I watched this a few months ago. Irene Ryan lead me to "Pippin" (it's a shame her performance wasn't taped). This was my first "Fosse" experience - and I must say every performer was captivating.

The first version of this 1981 filmed production of "Pippin" that I watched was a leaked unedited workprint on YouTube. This offers you EVERY scene and EVERY song, with different camera angles than the released print. Once I watched the DVD, I truly question if the editor even paid attention to storyline (particularly the segment after "Morning Glow"). Perhaps the most butchered part was "The Hearth" portion of the show (as titled in the original Playbill). I wonder how Leslie Denniston felt when they cut out most of her narration and her song "I Guess I'll Miss The Man". Many many things were cut, including a stanza of my personal favorite song, "No Time At All". I can never watch this edited version so I have opted with a homemade edit combining both versions.

The production itself is truly amazing. Ben Vereen reprises his role as the Leading Player and Christopher Chadman reprises his role as Lewis. William Katt is wonderful as Pippin. Actually every actor does wonderful in this; there is not one person who I think was miscast. This production preserves the original sets and choreography of the original 1972 production - which is a big plus. One interesting note is that the lyrics for "War Is A Science" and "With You" differ from the Original Broadway Cast Album, the latter being changed the most. I don't necessarily prefer one over the other; it's nice to hear different versions of it.

I will warn you that this musical is very unlike most musicals out there as it bounces all over the place. It goes from war to sex to romance to suicide (but hey - it is a story about a man trying to find himself in the world). When I first watched this, the only song that stood out to me was "No Time At All", only because I previously listened to it before watching it. Then I found myself liking "Magic to Do" and "Simple Joys"....then practically every other song in this. This musical really grows on you. Great messages are scattered throughout; "Glory" is amazingly true (and haunting), as well as"No Time At All".

So be sure to watch the workprint on YouTube - you'll get some surprises out of it too; Martha Raye flubs lines in "No Time At All" which are dubbed over in the released print and at the end of "Morning Glow" the tape briefly cuts to a soap opera. Very amusing! But this is the only way to achieve the full experience of "Pippin".

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