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Pippin set to show at DPAC

A student-led performance of the musical comedy “Pippin” will show at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center this weekend. Students have worked this semester to create a show that will not only make audiences laugh, but also reflect on the broader theme of one’s purpose in life. 

Nick Buranicz is a senior chemistry and FTT double major and both the director and executive producer of “Pippin”. He chose to put this show on as his senior Capstone project for the musical theater minor partly because of the liveliness of the content, he said. “It’s really fun, really colorful, and really movement and dance-based.” 

His role is both administrative and creative. He has worked on the show since early August, when he pitched it to the FTT department, and throughout the semester, staging the performance, working with the choreographer, the music directors, and other creative leaders. “We kind of built it up over time, like any standard theater process,” he said. 

Though he isn’t performing in this show, Buranicz has a strong background in acting, having started when he was a freshman in high school. Once arriving at Notre Dame, he took a directing class with Professor and Director of Musical Theater, Matt Hawkins, which he said helped inform him as a director and an actor. 

Pippin’s story is not only told by the script itself, but by the “directing choices, acting, crew, and music,” Emily Kane said. She is a senior majoring in ACMS (Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics) and honors music performance with a minor in education, schooling, and society. She is the music director in charge of the orchestra pit for “Pippin.” She has worked with the musicians who will play live for each performance, and studied the score as one of their conductors. 

This performance required a rigorous rehearsal schedule. Rehearsal started in the second week of the semester, and took place five days a week for four hours each day. “I’m looking forward to having a show that’s really solid, that people can come and enjoy and say, ‘Wow, that was really well done,’” Buranicz said.

Carlos Macias, a sophomore neuroscience and behavior major, mentioned that he has spent many hours at rehearsal. He is playing the lead role of “Pippin.” 

Macias started doing musical theater at the end of his junior year of high school, and this show will be his first time as a cast member in a musical on Notre Dame’s campus. Nerves and excitement are both present for him, but he is especially looking forward to showing people a side of him that he is passionate about. “It’s kind of awesome to reveal the rest of what makes you yourself,” he said.

Timothy Merkle is a senior FTT major with a concentration in theater and has an ACMS supplemental major and a minor in musical theater. He is performing the roles of King Charles and “player” as well as working as the assistant director. His role as king is a source of fun energy in the show, he said. “I think you often have this idea of a king as a very proper figure who does not joke around, and King Charles is the opposite of that.” 

Merkle and Buranicz have worked to make a professional environment, while keeping it fun, encouraging the cast members to make their own choices in playing their roles, Merkle said. As for the audience, Merkle hopes that the performance can serve as an entertaining and energetic “mental escape from school,” he said.  

Another reason Buranicz chose “Pippin” was because of its message. As a devout Catholic, Buranicz likes to incorporate themes within the Catholic realm into the shows he directs, he said, and “Pippin” has a universal message of self-sacrifice and asks the question of “where we can find true fulfillment and happiness in the world.”  

Throughout the rehearsal process, the cast has gotten close with each other. Kate Turner is a sophomore FTT and vocal performance double major with a musical theater minor, who has been doing musical theater since she was four years old. Turner will be playing the role of Catherine in the show. She spoke about the energy and closeness of the group that has made this performance special. “Everyone has been so enthusiastic and everyone has brought a different thing to the table,” she said. 

“Pippin” is showing Oct. 7-9, 2022, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., at the Philbin Studio Theatre in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Students rehearse for their upcoming performance of Pippin. Performances are scheduled for October 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. and Sunday October 9 at 2 p.m.

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