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Big DealBob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical$
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Kevin Winkler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199336791

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199336791.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

An Anecdotic Revue

An Anecdotic Revue

(p.163) 7 An Anecdotic Revue
Big Deal

Kevin Winkler

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes Pippin, the first of Bob Fosse’s two book musicals from the 1970s (Chicago being the second). Both shows engaged with cultural and social currents and were constructed around self-conscious, quasi-Brechtian staging concepts that emphasized their show business frameworks. Pippin was his most deliberately theatrical and nonrealistic show yet. This loose, revue-like look at the life of the son of Charlemagne in eighth-century France was set in a permanent limbo, told by an anachronistic troupe of players. It sported a contemporary edge as it followed the quest of the idealistic, hippyish Pippin to “find himself,” confronting themes resonant with the youthful counterculture: questioning war and religion, rebellion against parental authority, and sexual experimentation. Fosse’s push for complete control of his projects led to clashes with composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz over the show’s tone and message. Fosse prevailed, infusing Pippin with a dark, cynical quality and giving it a decidedly ambivalent ending.

Keywords:   Stephen Schwartz, Bertolt Brecht, Pippin, Ann Reinking, concept musicals, Chicago, Tony Walton, Jules Fisher, Patricia Zipprodt, Ben Vereen

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