Neon swords stabbed the darkness during the battle scene of the musical “Pippin” as Nando Rivera sang “Glory,” which was first performed by Ben Vereen in 1972. Ormond Beach resident Robin Bassett takes the helm as the director of the musical at the Daytona Playhouse this September.
Bassett describes it as a “crazy, neon, find-your-way-in-the-world” show.
“It is about a young man who finishes college and he wants an extraordinary life,” she said. “He spends the entire show trying to find that life. He realizes at the end that magic and extraordinariness is in the ordinary.”
Performing has always been a part of Bassett’s childhood. She never felt like she fit in as a self-described “gangly kid.”
“Theater is a place for those kinds of people, because everybody’s individual talents are respected, and, more importantly, appreciated,” she said. “You’ll see in our cast that we have a huge variety of people that are truly trying to share something amazing.”
“I feel like people are going to come because they know the Daytona Playhouse puts on quality shows period. The cast level has been really high—really good quality vocals and that is what you need to carry a musical. I think it’s going to be great.”
MARIAH SNOW, Queen Fastrada in 'Pippin'
In 2016, she moved to Ormond Beach from Alaska. The following year, she performed in the musical “Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother” at the playhouse and became enmeshed in the productions every year. She has been an usher, house manager, part of the show selection committee and is currently the vice president of production. She even married her childhood sweetheart, former professional baseball player Mike Mitchener, and convinced him to become an actor.
Pippin is played by Nick Rodriguez, who, as the protagonist, seeks a meaningful and purposeful life. But he is being guided by three persuasive lead players who also are the ring leaders of the show. Lead Player No. 1 is played by Rivera, Lead Player No. 2 is played by his wife, Kelly Rivera, and Lead Player No. 3 is performed by Izzy Bethae.
Bronx-born Rivera, who has spent most his life in Palm Coast, never thought he could sing until he belted out a Backstreet Boys song while his friend beatboxed. People were shocked, which surprised him. After he met his wife singing karaoke, she talked him into performing. This is the seventh, or eighth, show that they have performed in together. He loves it.
“Even if I’m in a wheel chair, I’m still going to be performing,” he said.
Ormond Beach resident Mariah Snow plays Pippin’s beautiful and conniving stepmother, Fastrada. She spends the show controlling King Charles of Charlemagne and plotting her son Lewis’ ascent to the throne.
Snow has been performing since the age of 4, was awarded a voice scholarship to Seminole College, and has been a voice coach for 13 years. She owns Mariah’s Music and Arts in Ormond Beach. Several of her students are in “Pippin”.
“I feel like people are going to come because they know the Daytona Playhouse puts on quality shows, period,” she said. “The cast level has been really high — really good quality vocals, and that is what you need to carry a musical. I think it’s going to be great.”