Dancing to the Beat of His Own Drum

GVT presents the fantastical Pippin!

The young Prince Pippin, Charlemagne’s heir, is guided by a Leading Player and her acting troupe on the quest of a lifetime. As he searches for adventure, tries his hand in battle and finds love, Pippin learns what is truly important. With acrobatic dance numbers and an exhilarating grand finale, this musical comedy is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

 Such a fabulous tale of adventure and discovery requires staging that will excite the imagination. GVT has recruited Choreographer Donald Laney, who specializes in modern dance and has a long creative relationship with GVT, to bring this story to life. Past GVT credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (2016),Cabaret (2012) and the wildly popular Chicago (2015).

 Donald Laney, choreographer and ensemble member in GVT’s 2017 production of Pippin. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

Donald Laney, choreographer and ensemble member in GVT’s 2017 production of Pippin. (Photo Courtesy / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

 The choreographer’s love of dance started at age four and his career has spanned over 20 years beginning with Theatre West Virginia. He is now Producing Artistic Director at West Virginia Dance Company and has served as the WV Governor’s School for the Arts Dance Instructor since 2005.

With this experience under his belt, Laney faces the challenge of dancing a story first created by the legendary Bob Fosse.

 “Being a Bob Fosse show adds more pressure and sometimes difficulties,” Laney said. “Fosse was a choreographer so there are extended dance breaks in his shows and dance is more of a focus to help carry the storyline along.”

 Donald Laney, choreographer, and Kelsey Pohl in GVT’s 2015 production of  Chicago . (Photo Courtesy Valerie Pritt / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

Donald Laney, choreographer, and Kelsey Pohl in GVT’s 2015 production of Chicago. (Photo Courtesy Valerie Pritt / Greenbrier Valley Theatre)

 His ability to create dance pieces in a short amount of time, a clear idea of what he wants and a willingness to experiment and improvise guide Laney as he creates those pieces so important to the story.

 “This is a very intellectual and thought provoking script and score. Pippin is searching for his purpose/meaning in life and what would make life important … Each number is set up by the song that reflects where Pippin is in his search for meaning,” the choreographer said.

The musical journey runs May 26 & 27, June 1 - 3 and June 7 - 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on June 3 at 2:30 p.m. and a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance on May 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $27 for seniors and $20 for children/students. For tickets or more information, call GVT’s Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Laura Kastenbauer