The New York Times Checking Back series has been revisiting hits such as “Pippin,” “Matilda,” “Mama Mia,” “Phantom,” and “Wicked.” The writers, all of whom saw the original production, note how some cast changes make for a better or more nuanced experience.
For instance, Laura Collins Hughes says that “square-jawed Kyle Dean Massey” as Pippin” is “looking a bit chiseled and mature to be so wide-eyed and, at least to start with, virginal.” On the other hand when Pippin catches the interest of the much older Catherine who considers the lad as possible husband material, she notes, it “no longer (has) that slightly creepy, cradle-robbing feel.”
The Diane Paulus directed musical “has become a warmer, giddier show in its 16 months at the Music Box Theater, and that’s really not a bad thing.” I’m sure the producers breathed a sigh of relief over that comment.
So if you’re thinking about plopping down a hundred dollars for a ducat to a long-running musical, check out the series. No clue if the Times is doing all Broadway musicals (I would think so), but it’s an assignment I sure would love to have.
Here’s what’s been published so far: