DENVER (CBS4) – There have been a lot of changes in the world since “Pippin” first premiered on Broadway in 1972. And those changes are now reflected in the show itself.

For instance, the character of “Bertha” in the 1970s was wheelchair-bound, frail, old and regretting lost chances.

Not now. In the new revival of “Pippin” — the grandmother is now swinging on a trampoline with one of the most high-energy songs in the show.

On the national tour — Broadway vet Lucie Arnaz will take on the role — and is already preparing for a part that is both physical and character comedy.

“It is physical. I’m trying to make it even more physical that it originally was because we are a troupe. It’s a circus troupe, which is a little bit different from the original Irene Ryan version of the grannie that came out and sang a song,” Arnaz said.

Some of the acrobatic training (credit: CBS)

Some of the acrobatic training (credit: CBS)

She said it’s fun, too.

“It’s fun because when you really look at the script, there is a lot funny stuff to play against,” she said.

And it’s very physical.

Lucie Arnaz (credit: CBS)

Lucie Arnaz (credit: CBS)

“Especially what I’m doing,” she notes, “because in every scene we have acrobats, but I’m actually on a trapeze through half my numbers.”

It is a role to embrace and easily one of the many high points of the show — a show where every number is a show-stopper — and every moment of comedy dance and acrobatics — are played to the back of the house.

“Pippin” runs Sept. 6 through Sept. 20 at the Buell Theater in the Denver Performing Arts Complex downtown.

For tickets and information visit



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