"Pippin," the musical depicting the life's journey of Charlemagne's son, will debut at the Adrienne C. Nelson High School Performing Arts Center on May 13, and will continue through May 22. Bringing a musical to life after the pandemic hasn't been easy, but the rewards have been worth it, said Tyler Oser, the new theater teacher at Clackamas High School, especially in partnering with Happy Valley's second high school that opened at the beginning of the school year.
His first year teaching theater at Clackamas High School during the pandemic was challenging.
"I always say theater is the art of community, and without that community being present with each other, it was difficult for students to engage with the material during distance learning," he said.
"However, as we have eased our way back into things, the community of the theater has been much more alive and well, which is exciting," he added.
Oser said that meeting his students in person this year was rewarding, noting that "teaching and rehearsing online just isn't the same as being on stage together making some fantastic art."
Oser said he chose "Pippin" for several reasons.
"For one, it is a fantastic show which I greatly enjoy. The show is also a wonderful, bombastic and challenging show, which the students have taken on with such force," he said.
The musical follows the story of the young man Pippin, son of the monarch Charlemagne, as he tries to discover his life's purpose.
"His journey through war, love and self-reflection is navigated by a troupe of players, led by a single Lead Player who wants to guide Pippin in his endeavors. However, the intentions of the Lead Player may not be as kind as she initially lets on," Oser said.
The production is the result of a collaboration between students at CHS and ANHS, and it has been a navigational and logistical challenge combining the two schools, Oser said.
"A musical already has so many moving parts, particularly it being our first musical since the pandemic began," he said.
"Adding two schools together presented complications around transportation, communication and resources that I never expected to occur, but our team has been fantastic about supporting students through it all," Oser said.
"Watching the students take on the challenge of this show and thriving with it has been so rewarding and it brings me so much joy to think of not only how audiences will love this show, but also what our future with musicals can bring," he said.
There are 90 students working on the show, including cast, crew and orchestra, evenly divided between the two high schools.
Oser said there are many moments in the show he really enjoys, but his favorite scene is "Morning Glow," the song at the end of Act I.
"The music and grandeur of the moment are awe inspiring every time I watch it happen," he said.
Oser noted that because of the musical's mature themes and language, the show is rated PG-13.
But "audiences of all kinds will love this show, as it deals with all of human experience," he said.
Oser added that people who do not like traditional musicals may like "Pippin" more than other musicals they have seen in the past, because "the theatrics and themes invite many non-traditional guests to enjoy the show."
Go on a journey!
What: "Pippin," with a cast from Clackamas and Adrienne C. Nelson high schools
When: 6:30 p.m. on May 13, 14, 20 and 21 and 1 p.m. on May 15 and 22
Where: Adrienne C. Nelson High School's Performing Arts Center, 14897 S.E. Parklane Drive, Happy Valley
Tickets: Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for general admissions. Visit sites.google.com/nclack.k12.or.us/wilesm/drama-program/tickets for tickets and to see a cast list.
Note: Parents are advised that the play is not recommended for students younger than 12.
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