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Curtains Up Pagosa! presents Tony Award winner ‘Pippin’

Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Dale Johnson Max Miller plays the lead role in the upcoming Curtains Up Pagosa! production of “Pippin.” Miller graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 2012 and is currently attending University of Northern Colorado, majoring in musical theater.

Photo courtesy Dale Johnson
Max Miller plays the lead role in the upcoming Curtains Up Pagosa! production of “Pippin.” Miller graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 2012 and is currently attending University of Northern Colorado, majoring in musical theater.

Broadway’s revival production of “Pippin” brought home four Tony Awards on Sunday night, including, best actress, best featured actress, best director, and best revival. Once again, Curtains Up Pagosa! is at the forefront, presenting a current revival hit musical to our home audience. “Pippin,” rated PG for language and adult content, will be presented to Pagosa audiences on the high school stage June 28, 29 and 30 (matinee), and July 3, 5 and 6. Tickets go on sale at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center June 17 — $15 (adults), $12 (seniors 65-plus), and $10 (students).

Curtains Up, Pagosa! is proud to feature CUP Scholar, Max Miller, in the role of Pippin. Max, a 2011 all-state choir member, graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 2012 and is currently attending University of Northern Colorado, majoring in musical theater. He has been accepted to participate this summer in the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts summer program in New York City.

Max discovered his passion for musical theater relatively late in his high school years. After enjoying being an ensemble player in “West Side Story,” “The Beat Goes On” and “High School Musical,” he landed his first speaking role in CUP’s production of “Annie” during the summer of 2010. The acting bug struck, and he decided to audition for a lead role in “Les Miserables.” He not only won the role of Jean Valjean, he wowed audiences with his powerful performance and beautiful singing voice.

He went on to show his versatility as an actor in his comedic roles of Roger in last year’s high school performance of “Grease” and his portrayal of Lionel in the 2012 CUP performance of “Cinderella.” He has proven that he has what it takes to carry a leading role and bring his best to each performance.

“One thing I really love about Max, in addition to his natural talent, is his incredible work ethic,” said director Dale Johnson. “He takes his roles seriously, carefully studying his character, bringing beautiful expression to his songs, and working with the ensemble to help each actor bring their best to the show.”

Max brings youthful zeal and naivete to the character of Pippin, a young man in search for significant meaning in his life. In the play, Pippin is led astray by the Lead Player, who points him in various directions, each one a certain failure. Pippin alternates between youthful arrogance and innocent dismay as he searches for that magic bullet that will help him rise above the average and take him to greatness.

The role of Pippin is accented by the lively and often lyrical music of Stephen Schwartz combined with the edgy surreal script by Roger O. Hirson. The original Broadway production was directed and choreographed by the renowned Bob Fosse who brought his personal brand of magic to the performances. As with all CUP performances, a live pit orchestra under the direction of Sally Neel will help bring the score to life.

“This is a great role for Max,” said Johnson, “and I know he is going to bring a delightful performance to the stage. We have a fantastic cast, led by some of CUP’s best actors. I am excited to have Max Miller and Robert Neel — who both gave memorable performances in ‘Les Miserables’ — back on stage together to provide Pagosa Springs with wonderful theater.”

Curtains Up Pagosa! is a non-profit organization that strengthens youth through the performing arts and adult volunteer mentorship. For more information, go to www.pagosamusicboosters.org.

This story was posted on June 13, 2013.