Camden theater students meet Broadway actors

Michelle Gustafson

About 50 theater students from Camden Catholic High School got a special treat Wednesday when they were allowed to leave class and meet the Broadway stars of “Pippin,” the Tony-award winning musical which runs now through Sunday at the Academy of Music.

The students are currently in rehearsals for their own high school production of Pippin, and got the chance to meet the Broadway actors and acrobats who play their own characters, but on a national stage.

Jeff Fitzpatrick and Sarah Robbins, both juniors at Camden Catholic High School, play King Charlemagne and the beautiful Fastrada, respectively, in Pippin. They both met their Broadway counterparts and got quite the thrill, they said.

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“It’s pretty cool considering when I’m doing it on stage, it’s hard,” Fitzpatrick said.

“When we were told about this, we were ecstatic. It’s not something you get to do that often,” he said of meeting Broadway actors.

John Rubinstein plays the Broadway version of King Charlemagne in Pippin and offered his younger version some friendly advice.

“If you have trouble breathing, that’s a very important thing. You have to figure out where to breathe and practice it,” he said.

“You have to do it the same way everyday. I’ve done shows where I run out of breath and that’s no good. You have to figure it out. You practice it like a dance move.”

Sabrina Harper plays the role of Fastrada and has been a part of Pippin since it opened on Broadway three years ago.

“It was a dream come true when Pippin was announced to come to Broadway, and I happened to be in the city and auditioned for it. I’m a trained dancer. I grew up dancing, singing and acting. My mom was very well involved in acting. Similarly, my mom was very involved in the theater,” she told Metro.

“I’m so happy to be in Philadelphia and this theater is just one of the most beautiful theaters that I’ve seen all across the country.”

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Robbins admitted than when she first learned her school was putting on the show, she was “scared” and “intimidated.”

“I know I can’t dance. This doesn’t seem like something for me. So when I auditioned, I thought, I’ll just put it all out there. WhenI found out I got Fastrada, I was honestly shocked,” she said.

“I was expecting nothing, and I was just going to have fun and try something different, so its been super amazing, super different and out of my comfort zone. It’s a whole other side of myself.”

Acrobats Nicolas Jelmonu performed on the Cyr Wheel and Nico Maffey wowed students when he handbalanced on canes Wednesday. Both are members of the Montreal-based circus company Les 7 doigts de la main (a/k/a 7 Fingers). Both, along with each actor, gave the students a demonstration and talk about how they performed during every performance, as well as a Q&A.

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