This week acrobats, dancers and Broadway actors will be invading Memphis for a week with Pippin. The show is being marketed as Cirque du Soleil meets Broadway and it’s predicted to be the most imaginative show of the Orpheum’s 2015/2016 season (which yours truly is reviewing~). I had the opportunity to speak with the star of the show Brian Flores recently about his insane first job out of college (hint: it’s this), and how he prepared for a show this large. Brian was gracious, funny and incredibly excited about touring the show across the country.
The show will open in Memphis this Tuesday the 17th and will close on the 22nd. For a full list of performance dates, times and where to buy tickets you can find them AFTER you read my interview.
Hey Brian! Thanks for talking with me. This is your first Broadway show and you’re the lead, at that. How did you accomplish this?
It was a crazy quick process. I showcased in May and graduated. Then got the audition in June and left for the tour in July.
Did college prepare you at all for how this show would be?
I pulled from my education at Michigan a lot while rehearsing for this show, especially from the dance classes I took. But there are certain things you can’t learn in school. You have to have a really good attitude and be able to preserve your reputation. We do eight performances and you can’t teach longevity in college. You have your whole world in front of you before you graduate, and then you step into the world and it’s much more intense than you thought it would be.
What a lot of people don’t realize [straight out of college] is that some things take time. Some people get bummed out that they didn’t book something right away. It’s ground into you right away that the theatre business is competitive.
What have you learned from being in Pippin?
I’ve learned from being so new and so fresh out of school that this show, first of all, an incredibly amazing experience. I’ve also learned that you never stop learning. You never reach a point where never learn everything. I’ve met people who feel like because they’re better because they’ve done more shows. But I feel like the biggest disservice you can do to yourself is to think you can do it all yourself. I was so nervous the entire time when I first got this job, and now that I’ve been able to relax into the role, it would be a shame to get bored with it because i would stop learning. A lot of people who graduate school think they’re done, but you’re never going to stop learning. There’s no limit to what you can do—your curiosity should guide you.
Speaking of learning, how have you learned to keep the role fresh every night?
I really attribute all of that the cast. The people I’m working with are so phenomenal and it’s really easy to keep it fresh. My father is the original Pippin and he knows so much about the show. He changes his inflection, his interpretation and he always keeps it fresh. There’s not really ever a minute to think.
How much time do you get to explore the city in every stop?
I explore as much as I can, but so much of my energy has to go to the show at night. I have to sleep for at least 9-10 hours a day. It’s kind of nice to sit around and do nothing, but there are definitely times when we go out and see the sights.
After Pippin is over, where do you envision your career heading after this? Where do you go after headlining your first Broadway show?
I’ll probably end up going back to New York and trying to audition for new things. This show has been such a blessing to do. It is so challenging, the role is enormous. I want to find that next role that is complimentary to that. I would love to explore and find new theatre and new works that are going up.
I know that Pippin doesn’t have the cult following or possibly the large exposure that many Broadway shows have. Yet the originali s one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. How would you sell this show to someone who’s never seen it? Why should people come out and see the new Pippin?
It is an amazing concept brought to life by our choreographers Diane and Suzie. They took this extended metaphor of “Life is a circus” and the leading player is taken and thrown into the circus of life. He tries a bunch of different things from war to love to trying to start a revolution—and finally, becoming a king. And all throughout there is this added element of circus. It makes so much sense and so many people come see the show and say they can’t imagine it any other way.
It’s not a Phantom Of The Opera or Les MIs. A lot of people don’t really know Pippin but there’s a reason the original and the revival run so long—it’s really damn good. It’s a really good piece of theatre. It’s not a mega-musical. It’s a different piece of theatre. Every single person who comes to see the show says they absolutely loves it.
Pippin will be opening Tuesday and ticket info is below!
VENUE: The Orpheum Theatre, 203 S. Main Street, Memphis TN 38103
DATES: November 17 – 22, 2015
- Tuesday, November 17, 2015 7:30 PM
- Wednesday, November 18, 2015 7:30 PM
- Thursday, November 19, 2015 7:30 PM
- Friday, November 20, 2015 8:00 PM
- Saturday, November 21, 2015 2:00 PM
- Saturday, November 21, 2015 8:00 PM
- Sunday, November 22, 2015 1:00 PM
- Sunday, November 22, 2015 6:30 PM
TICKETS: $25 – $125
BOX OFFICE: 901.525.3000
GROUP SALES: 901.529.4226