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Anyone have any details on the very first version? 
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Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2002 8:59 pm
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Post Anyone have any details on the very first version?
From what I understand, the very first draft of Pippin had an entirely different script and score. It was staged at Carnegie Mellon University in 1967, under the name Pippin, Pippin, with Stephen Schwartz's friend Ron Strauss providing the script.

As I gather from Stephen's own comments, this early draft--this proto-Pippin, if you will--focused entirely on the historical angle. Stephen and Ron had read in a history book about Charlemagne's son Pippin the Hunchback trying to launch a coup against him (in real life, this coup was unsuccessful and Charles packed his son off to a monastery). This script owed a lot to The Lion In Winter--a story of political intrigue with sharp dialogue and witty character interaction. Stephen even says that they'd recorded an album of the songs.

When they started shopping the show around Broadway, Harold Prince turned down the opportunity to direct, but suggested that they make the story of the assassination attempt (which was formerly the whole story) into the first act, and use the second to explore what happens to Pippin AFTER that. Stephen and Ron figured Harold Prince's word was law, so they did just that--not finding out until years later that Harold said that to ALL the writers whose shows he turned down, and they were the first ones to take him seriously! (And aren't we glad they did?)

From there, the historical aspect grew looser and the show began to take shape into the story of an aimless college student who is in search of complete fulfillment. And THEN Bob Fosse came on board, and under his influence, Stephen and Roger Hirson combined several smaller from an intermediate draft into the role of Leading Player...and we all know the rest.

So what I'd like to know is--does anyone out there have any details of the earliest draft/staging, Pippin, Pippin? Is any part of it floating around on the Internet? Are there any surviving recordings of those long-discarded songs?

Always interesting to know more details on how a show you like got to where it is...

For out of what we live and we believe...
Our lives become the stories that we weave.
-- "Once On This Island"

Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:19 pm
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