‘Pippin,’ in Falmouth, is worth the commute

Jane Loutzenhiser of Vineyard Haven (bottom left) in the Falmouth Theater Guild's production of "Pippin" at the Highland Theater in Falmouth. — Photo courtesy of Katy Paul, Falmouth Theater Guilld

Just down a winding road behind the Falmouth bus station, tucked away in the 400-acre Beebe Woods preserve, is a historic Tudor-style building that is home in the off-season to musical theater.

The Falmouth Theater Guild, “The only community theater on the upper Cape dedicated to producing the big Broadway musicals,” according to its website, hosts three or four productions per year from October through May, when the College Light Opera Company takes over the space.

The productions take place in a lovely and very comfortable 300-seat theater and feature an orchestra and professional quality sets and costumes. Although the nonprofit guild is an all-volunteer organization, the productions attract some very talented amateurs and semi-professionals from all over the Cape.

And, for their current show, one woman from Martha’s Vineyard. Jane Loutzenhiser, mvyradio DJ and former Plum TV on-air personality, is among the cast of the Guild’s colorful and highly entertaining production of “Pippin.” The show opened last weekend and will run through the next two weekends.

Ms. Loutzenhiser, who has appeared in a number of musicals in and around her native Kansas City, as well as one show here with the Island Theatre Workshop, made the commute to rehearsals three times a week for two months, in order to take part in one of her all time favorite shows.

“‘Pippin’ is a show that I know and love dearly,” Ms. Loutzenhiser said. “It really speaks to me for the message, the music, and dance, and the ensemble nature of it.”

In “Pippin,” Ms. Loutzenhiser is part of the chorus. She, along with a handful of other members of “the Troupe,” travel along with the hero of the show through his various adventures, donning elaborate costumes that run from very inventive medieval warfare garb to colorful, burlesque outfits.

Every detail of the production — from the choreography, to the creative use of a multi-purpose building block set, to the video backdrops — is done beautifully. The show benefits from expert direction by Brian Switzer and stand-out performances, especially among the male leads. All in all, the show is on par with a small to mid-sized city professional production.

Ms. Loutzenhiser is doubtful about doing another show with the group, considering the time and effort (and occasional overnights) required for rehearsals, but she is very glad to have had the experience.

“I really like the group a lot,” she said. “They are a really cohesive and friendly and welcoming group. I hope to stay in touch with them. The way Brian, our director, approached it, he was professional with us and invited us to respond in being professional. Even the kids. And the cast took it really seriously.

“I feel lucky to be in a production of this quality. I feel like everyone who was in charge of the sets or the costumes — no detail was overlooked. Each person who contributed put so much thought and research and dedication into it.”

And it shows.

“Pippin,” 7:30 pm Fridays, 2 pm Saturdays, May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, Highfield Theater, 58 Highfield Drive, Falmouth. $16; $14 for seniors and under 18. Call 508-548-0400 or visit falmouththeaterguild.org for more information.