05-20-2018  8:39 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 high school seniors die in crash weeks before graduation

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — School officials say three senior girls were killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in western Oregon, just weeks before graduation.Eagle Point High School said on its Facebook page that Luciana Tellez, Giselle Montano and Esmeralda Nava died Saturday night after their...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Janet Jackson honored at Billboard Awards

The Latest on the Billboard Music Awards (all times local):7:18 p.m.The youngest of the legendary Jackson musical family, Janet Jackson gave her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards.She was honored as the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award on...

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

ENTERTAINMENT

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in Texas and Florida, while the night also featured show-stopping performances by iconic singer Janet Jackson and K-pop group BTS.A tearful and emotional Kelly Clarkson, who hosted the...

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend now have a baby boy to go with their toddler girl.The 32-year-old model and 39-year-old singer, whose real name is John Roger Stephens, introduced Miles Theodore Stephens to the world on Sunday.Teigen had been hinting to her millions of...

'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers.Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in 5 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers:...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting...

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in...

In North Korea nuke site closing, spectacle trumps substance

TOKYO (AP) — Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Kerry says civil discourse is under threat around the world

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned that...

By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

The 2015 season of Broadway in Portland brings the circus to town with the revival of the Broadway classic, Pippin, which opens at Keller Auditorium Sept. 22 and runs through Sept. 27. The Tony-winning musical tells the tale of a young man searching for the meaning of life. He soon falls in with a circus troupe who guide him on a surreal journey.

The Skanner News spoke with Gabrielle McClinton, who plays the master of ceremonies, the Leading Player. She pushes Pippin to be a player in her show and exacts punishment when he veers away from her.

 McClinton spoke about the show, her role and what it means for her to be a performer. Here are excerpts of that interview, edited for space and clarity.

The Skanner News: How is the tour going?

Gabrielle McClinton: It's going great. We just started, this is our third week. We've gone to some really awesome cities; Chicago, Seattle, now San Diego. We've been in really beautiful places with great weather, it’s been really nice. 

TSN: You sing, you act and you dance. Which one of these arts do you feel closest to?

GM: I love them all equally, but I started as a dancer. I feel I am a very physical person, I feel very at home in my own body. Dancing came naturally to me. As I grew up and started taking lessons, I got more into singing and acting. There's a lot of acrobatics in the show. We got the opportunity to learn acrobatics and the acrobats had to learn singing and dancing.

TSN: Do you see a connection between his Pippin’s search for an exceptional life and those who perform in the theatre?

GM: He's searching for his meaning in life and what it means to be extraordinary. I honestly feel that we are all Pippin ‑- not just people in theater but everybody in general. Everybody who comes to the show is going to see themselves in the different journeys that Pippin goes on.

My character, the Leading Player, it’s her job to guide Pippin through all these different aspects of life war and love and lust and sex and politics. I think that every person can look at all these different parts of life and see parts of themselves in it. It makes you question things in your life and about yourself.

TSN: Some productions of Pippin have been criticized for being sanitized, compared to Bob Fosse's original direction. Is this revival closer to that production?

GM: We stay very true to what Bob Fosse created, but it is definitely a completely different production because of the added an element of circus. Actually, Bob Fosse was really interested in the circus, as well.

Director Diane Paulus and Gypsy Snider, who is in charge of the Seven Fingers Circus Troupe, put this together. They added the circus with the dancing and the singing and acting. It makes it more heightened and adds this edginess and darkness to Pippin. It brings it more to life and makes it really thrilling and exciting.

TSN: You play the mysterious and powerful Leading Player. She seems to have many roles, Pippin’s counselor,  the chorus, even a devil's advocate. What is your interpretation of the Leading Player?

GM: She's the leader of this troupe and she wants an extraordinary show. She wants Pippin to be extraordinary and she wants to entertain the audience make them all feel extraordinary. But she's very manipulative and seductive with the way she goes about getting what she wants and she will stop at nothing to be extraordinary.

Things get twisted when Pippin starts to take different road which doesn't go along with her plans. She's the master of ceremonies and used to controlling everything. It’s her goal to keep everybody entertained and to seduce the audience to keep this ship intact.

TSN: It sounds like a fun role to play.

GM: It is definitely the most challenging role I have ever had to play. There are so many layers to all the characters, especially her. She's dark and twisted and maniacal. But there is all of this inner stuff that's going on with her too. She’s a very multifaceted character. With the dancing and the singing and the acting, it just takes a lot out of you. It's a very energizing role and it requires a lot to lead this through and tell the story every night.

TSN: What made you want to be a performer?

GM: I've always performed since I was really little. My parents said I was always performing, I was always putting on skits with my cousins, I was always writing shows. I always wanted to entertain people and inspire people and I've always been a very energetic child. I think it’s been an outlet for me to really express myself, which is very important to me to do that creatively. I feel most at home when I am performing.

TSN: What can Portland audiences look forward to in Pippin?

GM: It’s definitely going to be a really thrilling journey. There's so much to look at, with the sets and the colors and all the circus tricks and the dancing and the big choral numbers. It's definitely going to take you on your own personal journey. It's an exciting piece of theatre that isn't just entertaining because  you're seeing great dancing and singing and acrobatic tricks, it also has a very deep meaning, there's a lot of depth to the story that people are going to be surprised by.

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