Pippin is the story of the French Prince Pippin, son of King Charlemagne. The show begins with the Leading Player and the other players (an acting troupe) inviting the audience to watch their Magic as they help to tell the story (Magic To Do). They then introduce Pippin as a young man just out of a university. He tells us how he is searching for the meaning of his life (Corner of the Sky). Next, Pippin's father welcomes him home from school (Welcome Home). Pippin tells his father he wants to go to war with him. His father eventually agrees with him and we soon see them and some soldiers learning their battleplan (War Is a Science).
The leading player goes on to tell the audience about the virtues of war and about King Charles victory. The soldiers join him in "saluting" their King (Glory). Next, the leading player sings a song about how people need some small amount of happiness in life that wealth and fame can't bring you (Simple Joys). By now, Pippin has decided that being a war hero is not what he wants to do with his life. So, he goes to his grandmother, Bertha, and asks her what she thinks he should do. She tells him to just live life to the fullest and to enjoy his youth because time goes by so fast(No Time At All). Pippin next looks to women to see if they are the answer to his life. He experiments with sex - symbolically, of course - (With You). The act ends with Pippin deciding to lead a revolution against his father.
After this we see Pippin's step-mother, Fastrada, as she plots to get her son, Lewis, to be the heir to the throne instead of Pippin (Spread a Little Sunshine). Pippin is now trying out a political life, revolting against his father and considering assassinating him. When he does do this and becomes the new King he decides that a peaceful time, without war and slavery, is long overdue (Morning Glow). When he realizes that this isn't the right job for him, he prays to have his father return. The leading player magically brings King Charles back to life.
Pippin is by now very distraught about his failing search for a meaning to his life. The leading player tells him not to worry, he's on the right road to finding what he is looking for (On the Right Track). At the end of this number he just collapses to the floor and a pretty young woman, Catherine, finds him and brings him to her house with her small son. She tells him that she is just an "average" girl (Kind of Woman). Pippin comes to live in her house and do household chores which he finds degrading because he thinks he is above that kind of work (Extraordinary). But Pippin and Catherine fall in love (Love Song). Still, when Catherine asks Pippin to become "the head of the household," he runs away and the audience sees a grieving Catherine (I Guess I'll Miss the Man).
Now, Pippin has come to the end of the road and has no idea what to do next. The leading player tells him that the only way that he will be remembered now is if he kills himself. Pippin is afraid to do this because he knows that if it is the wrong thing to do, then it will be too late for him to do anything else. The leading player, Fastrada, and all the other players urge Pippin to go ahead and burn himself until he dies. They tell him to think about his life and all of the things he wanted from it (Finale). Pippin is almost convinced when Catherine and her son show up. He decides that he will settle for love and not commit suicide.
- Ben (RCB1113@aol.com)