Stepinac Thespians to Take the Stage  In Live Outdoor Performances in June

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After a year in the dark, Stepinac Theatre at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains is returning with the spring production of the Tony-winning musical “Pippin.”

The return of the spring production follows last year’s cancellation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Traditionally, Stepinac Theatre productions have been staged in the school’s Major Bowes Auditorium but because of safety precautions, “Pippin” will be presented during four live outdoor performances on the school’s front lawn terrace Friday to Sunday, June 4-6. The school is located at 950 Mamaroneck Ave.

The musical tells the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for life’s meaning and significance.

Frank Portanova, director of Stepinac Theatre’s “Pippin,” said the outdoor production is providing a sense of hope that life a year into Covid-19 is beginning to return to a sense of normalcy.

 “This is just what the community needs at this time,” he told CNY.

The annual spring musical typically showcases “huge production values,” Portanova said, from the costumes to the elaborate sets and activity, including flying, and draws 500 to 600 at each performance. This year’s production “will be significantly pared down since it’s outdoors,” he said, but it won’t disappoint.

“One of the main themes of this play—I think it’s apropos that we chose it—is that the main character has to learn how to find happiness in the ordinary, little things in life..The lesson here is, even in this small, pared down version, they will still be able to find the joy and happiness in doing what they love, which is performing...If anything, that’s really going to enhance their storytelling and acting skills.”

In keeping with coronavirus safety protocols and guidelines, including social distancing, the production will be limited to 200 audience members at each performance. Families may sit together in a pod. 

The front lawn is a vast space, including ample areas to the left and right of front center, Portanova explained. The stage will be visible from various vantage points. In the event of rain, the production would move inside as it would remain in compliance with the indoor coronavirus protocol allowances. 

The boys’ school traditionally casts girls from neighboring high schools in its productions. This year, they are expected to include Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale, the Ursuline School in New Rochelle, School of the Holy Child in Rye and John F. Kennedy Catholic Preparatory School in Somers, as well as a number of public high schools.

Portanova, who serves as the school’s assistant principal, is a 1993 alumnus. The producer is Keith Sunderland, director of admissions and a 1994 alumnus.

Details about the cast, showtimes and ticket prices will be announced soon at www.Stepinac.org

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