Anticipation is building for next month's Old Brick Playhouse Apprentice performance of "Pippin," with book by Roger O. Hirson and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.
The Old Brick Apprenticeship is a nationally acclaimed afterschool theatre program for secondary students located in Elkins. Currently nearly 70 students are spending their afterschool time memorizing lines, practicing choreography, and singing in preparation for a May 1 opening of the Tony Award-winning musical "Pippin."
The play regales the story of Charlemagne's son Pippin immediately after he returns from his studies in Padua. The trouble is, despite outstanding performance at the University, Pippin is haunted by that age-old question, "Where do I belong?" Though the story is told in a bawdy comic style and takes place during the days of the Holy Roman Empire, the problem is quite current. Pippin, like many other youths, is desperate to find happiness without a clue of where to begin looking.
"Now in our 22nd year, spring doesn't mean spring to me - it means Apprentice season, a time of heightened joy " states Missy Armentrout McCollam, OBP executive director. "After all of these years, I am still endlessly dazzled by the amount of talent we have in this small town. The OBP staff provides the facility, the play, and direction - but our students contribute the magic that makes The OBP Apprentice show a tradition for many people in the community. "
The Apprentice program begins in October each year and culminates in a spring production. The shows have ranged from "Romeo and Juliet" to "Seussical the Musical" to "Grease."
"Each year when our senior Apprentices graduate, we definitely feel the heart ache," states Armentrout McCollam. "Lucky for us, many of them return. In fact three OBP alumni are serving as staff members for this year's program."
With an alumni roster of more than 2,500 students, the OBP Apprentice program is notorious for building a strong family like atmosphere where "everyone is different, and everyone is important."
"Currently, we are launching a new program to get in contact with OBP Apprentice Alumni," Armentrout McCollam said. "As social media changes so quickly, much of the contact information we have currently is outdated. If you or your son or daughter is an Old Brick Playhouse alumnus, please get in touch."
"The most enchanting part of the OBP Apprentice program is the magnificent support from the Elkins Community," Phil Smith said. "Many of our students could not participate without scholarship support, and we have been so very fortunate that our town believes in investing in our youth. For this we are both proud and endlessly grateful."
The play is sponsored by Citizen's Bank of West Virginia and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. Full and partial scholarship sponsors include The City of Elkins, Dr. Omkar Karthikeyan, Ms. Martha Cage, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Doak, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Smith, Laurel Lands, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Max Armentrout, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffery Welshonce, Randolph County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Ajuga, Inc. , Mountain Valley Bank, John Heurta and Pamela Byrne, Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, Mr. Mike Ross, Tygarts Valley Lions Club, Ms. Terry Miller, Mrs. Sue Lewis, and Ms. Judy Ross, Mrs. Pam Morgan, Life Reflections, LLC, Elkins Regional Convalescent Center, Dr. Duke Talbott, Mr. and Mrs. James F. Wilson, The Bernard McDonough Foundation, The Woman's Club of Elkins, Office Products, Inc. Dr. and Mrs. Chris Stout, Freedom Bank, Mr. Jerry Corley, Chua Family Practice, Davis Electrical Service, Inc. Elkins Kiwanis Club, Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Preusch, Knights of Columbus, Family Dental Practice, the Randolph County Association of Retired School Employees and the West Virginia University Extension Service, Randolph County, and Mrs. Christy Tribble. This play is produced through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.
For more information about The Old Brick Playhouse or to book reservations for "Pippin," call the OBP at 304-637-9090 or log on to www.theoldbrick.org.