Campus & Community

Lights! Camera! Doctors!

3 min read

Does your doctor sing? Does your dentist tap dance?

The answer to these questions might be yes if the health professional in question is or has been a member of the Longwood Players, a group of students from the Medical School, Dental School, and School of Public Health who, along with others from the Greater Boston area, stage an annual production of one of the classics of the musical theater.

This year’s choice is “Pippin,” a fanciful fable about Charlemagne’s son and heir and his efforts to find meaning and happiness in eighth century France. “Pippin” (music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Roger O. Hirson) premiered on Broadway in 1972. It was choreographed and directed by Bob Fosse and ran for 1,944 performances. One of its stars, Ben Vereen, won a Tony Award for best actor in a musical.

The Longwood Players will present their version of “Pippin” on Friday (April 26) and Saturday (April 27) and May 3 and 4 at the Massachusetts College of Art Tower Auditorium. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through the Harvard Box Office at (617) 496-2222.

This is the Longwood Players’ fourth year. Previous productions have been “Hair,” “West Side Story,” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” Each has played to full houses and won unanimous acclaim, and this year’s production promises to live up to those high standards.

“I am constantly amazed at how talented people are,” said Kirstin Newby who founded the Longwood Players in 1999 while studying nutrition at the School of Public Health (she earned her Ph.D. in 2001).

Others may be amazed not only by the talent of those involved but that such proverbially overworked individuals can find the time to put on a show.

“Everyone asks me where we find the time,” said Newby. “It’s a matter of priorities. If people are inclined to fulfill an artistic need, they just make the time. You do it because you’re inspired and you find it fulfilling.”

Newby, who began her musical-theater career in elementary school, started the group because she believed that there were others like herself who were headed for careers in science and medicine but who also longed for the thrill and satisfaction of artistic performance.

The Longwood Players have lived up to Newby’s expectations and then some. This year’s production has attracted not only students from the Longwood campus, but increasing numbers of staff, people from other schools, and members of the larger community.

“We’re making a transition from a student group to a full-fledged, nonprofit community group,” said Newby. “It’s exciting because it’s helping us build bridges between Harvard and the rest of the community.”

Call the Harvard Box Office at (617) 496-2222 for tickets.