DID YOU KNOW: Pippin the Musical was the first ever Broadway show to produce a promotional TV commercial in the 1970's.
The original production of Stephen Schwartz's legendary musical made its Broadway Debut in the Fall of 1972 at the Imperial Theatre. Theatergoers loved the production. However, the earliest reviews were mixed to negative from critics considering the show to be a huge flop. At the time lot of businesses were not doing so well (including the show having gone on to receive low ticket sales). Luckily, the show's original director and choreographer himself Bob Fosse had an idea to the show's main producer Stuart Ostrow….. creating a TV commercial to help promote the show.
At the time, there was NEVER a real live action Live TV commercial for Broadway. Being unsure at first in reality, Fosse gave it a shot. From there, he began hard at work on making the commercial featuring members of the PIPPIN cast. Filmed on the Imperial Theatre stage, we have the legendary commercial right below.
The famous debut commercial featured Ben Vereen (who would win the Tony for this show) as "The Leading Player" along with Ensemble dancers Candy Brown and Pamela Sousa performing 60 seconds of the dance break portion from the song GLORY.
Later on, another commercial was made featuring later replacement Tony Award winner Michael Rupert as the title role along with Ensemble dancers Sandahl Bergman & Kathrynann Wright dancing during the ballet portion of the song WITH YOU.
The original production of PIPPIN alone went on to run for 5 years and 1,944 performances.
The commercial was well received that it began a tradition of having all the Broadway shows now today do promotional commercials. It also got more tourists to come to New York and experience the magic of Live Theater.
Who remembers this commercial?
How cool is that PIPPIN starting the tradition of B-Roll proshots?!