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Big 'Pippin' on Stars stage

What can turn an ordinary night into something extraordinary? For some, a trip to the theater is just the trick, watching a show come together in dance and song. If you are one such thrill-seeker, Stars Theatre Restaurant has just the show for you with “Pippin.”

Like the show’s struggle about living a glorious or work-a-day life, director Bethany Lahammer sought synergy when putting this musical extravaganza together. She ended up assembling a primarily female crew: Jenny Maddern, who served as assistant director and costume assistant to costumer Laura Engel; Christine Foth on vocal direction; Laura Toomey as choreographer; Araceli Aguilar as stage manager; Caitlin Wolfenstein handling props; and Emily Thompson as production assistant.

“I hold the vision and shape the telling of the story,” Lahammer wrote in an email. “Jenny spent much of her time communicating with the costumer to bring that vision to life and working small moments that needed some detailed attention. ... We’ve really enjoyed working on the magic of song and dance with this very talented cast.”

The story centers on Pippin (David Allen Alvarez), heir to the Frankish throne, who aims to find true happiness and fulfillment. His quest leads him to the battlement, to sexual dalliances and the political intrigue of the court.

His journey is told through the performances of a mysterious theatrical troupe, run by Leading Player (Marti Hoyt). Along with the theatrics, the merry band performs other impressive physical feats, including gymnastics and fire work.

“We looked for experts that are already working every day at making the ordinary extraordinary,” Lahammer said.

She brought on Kali and Boston Spinner of Rogue Underground Circus and a trio of gymnasts — Hannah Ward, Rachel McNaughton and Chloe Whitezell — to help heighten the performance art.

“Kali Spinner at Rogue Underground regularly takes something as simple as a torch and turns it into something that is magical and mesmerizing in the form of fire fans and fire glitter,” she said. “Three local gymnasts have spent countless hours in dance class honing their bodies and skills to shape themselves into elongated forms and contortion forms to thrill those of us amazed at their discipline and ability.”

The show also stars Ryan DeCarolis, Tara Haner, Eli Castillo, Paula Einstein, Julie Verrell and Logan Coughenour.

“Pippin” opens this weekend and runs through June 16.


Staying in town and looking for more musical theater options? Ovation Theatre is offering a Memorial Day weekend special, with $25 admission for its Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday matinee shows of “Dreamgirls.”

The discount can be redeemed by phone at 866-568-2846) or online at


Before you set out this weekend to enjoy the county’s natural beauty, stop in and check out Kern through artists’ eyes. Today is the closing reception for the

fourth Kern County Plein Air Festival, held by the Arts Council of Kern.

In April, 15 artists explored the county for a week, finding the best scenes to capture, embodying the style of painting in the open air.

Their work was highlighted at a gala where much of it was sold. Remaining works (or additional pieces created by the artists) were put on display at the council’s Access Center Gallery and have been on display.

The closing reception runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the gallery, 1330 Truxtun Ave., Suite B. It is free to attend.


This is also the closing weekend for Bakersfield Community Theatre’s 31st annual One Act Play Festival.

The show consists of five original plays, written and directed by Bakersfield playwrights and directors.

The run of just five shows started last weekend. Remaining performances are

at 8 p.m. at the theater, 2400 S. Chester Ave. (Parking is available behind the theater, accessible via South O Street off Wilson Road.)

Admission is $10. Tickets can be purchased in advance at or call 831-8114 for reservations.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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