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FTC’S PIPPIN Premieres Tonight
By Jacob Bila with additional reporting by James Miller
The Five Towns College Theatre Department is preparing for its first production of the Spring 2022 semester, a musical called Pippin. The show, directed by NYU Tisch School of the Arts alum Will Detlefsen, tells the story of the title character, Pippin (played by FTC student Joshua Credle), who suffers from depression and seeks to understand his purpose in life.
Detlefsen spoke of his vision for the production, saying, “I think it will be surprising perhaps to everyone. It’s a little darker than most Pippins. It is still a comedy, but I think of it as a comedy about depression. And we have some surprises in store.”
Tiera Summers, who plays the character Berthe, reiterated that this interpretation of the musical is darker, with a twist ending that audiences won’t be expecting. She described the core message of the musical that she hopes the audience will feel, “I hope the audience will see that they have a purpose in life. Don’t give up, and don’t let anyone push you to your breaking point. Like, just keep going and stay mindful of your purpose in life.”
The musical is filled with an ensemble of FTC talent. Senior Debrina Santerelli, who plays Fastrada, described her role as a “boujee” and “evil stepmom” to Pippin and found it fun to slip into Fastrada’s shoes. Santerelli’s preparation for the role included “having my nails done, my nails done, and I also spray painted and designed these shoes that you see here.”
When asked about how this version of Pippin will be different, Santerelli said the FTC production will bring a more modern feel that shows the impact of social media and its link to depression in today’s world:
“The original interpretations were more like a circus, like fun, more showy. And this is deep, darker. I think it’ll create more of a connection with the audience because it is more relevant to now. The time, place, and setting are now. Social media is used a lot in our show, and I think it will help show how social media can make people depressed, from seeing things online and wanting to be like people that you are not. For example, my character, Fastrada, wants to be like a celebrity. Comparing yourself to others is another underlying theme in our show that I think will make our show a lot different.”
Some cast members have taken on more than one role for this show. Senior Nolan Maggio is one of the ensemble players as well as the Assistant Director. He described the responsibilities on and off the stage:
“Basically, as the Assistant Director, I am here to try and execute the vision of our Director, which is really fun to do. It has definitely been a juggling act to try and go back and forth between being a player in the show and then also trying to have that outside perspective as the Assistant Director. So, it is just trying to be aware of the situation, which is good because perspective is always a good thing when walking into new experiences.”
Pippin will be presented in the FTC Performing Arts Center and runs Thursday, April 14th, and Friday, 15th at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 16th at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. For tickets or more information on the FTC Theatre Department and the Performing Arts Center, head to www.ftc.edu/ftcpac/.