'No time at all'
AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS Joan Kennedy of Summit Hill holds her original Pippin cast album, right; and the play's revival cast album. Kennedy was one of just over 200 people nationwide to be selected to sing in the recording of "No Time At All" for the album.
Joan Kennedy always loved the music from the hit Broadway musical production, Pippin.
Since discovering the play over three decades ago as a college freshman, she has tickled the ivories and sang the play's songs a countless number of times for friends and family.
But now, the Summit Hill resident can also say she was part of the cast album and can be seen in the CD booklet for the revival of Pippin, which opened on Broadway this past May.
Kennedy explained that the opportunity to sing as part of the audience for the cast album arose when her daughter, Laura, saw a message on Facebook, asking for people to sing in the recording of the song "No Time At All" for the revival's album.
"Laura sent me a message because she knew how much I loved Pippin and I like to sing," she explained. "She said 'Mom, you have to do this.' So I said OK, what the heck and submitted my information."
Kennedy sent the information on Thursday, May 2; and received word on Friday, May 3, that she was selected as one of just over 200 people nationwide to join the star, Andrea Martin, and the show's musical composer Stephen Schwartz, in the recording of "No Time At All."
"In the play, this song's chorus is audience participation so in the cast recording they needed an audience to do it so they simulated an audience," she said.
Kennedy traveled to New York City that following Tuesday, May 7, to join the other lucky singers at the New York Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall.
"It was interesting to see such a variety of people," she said, noting that she met a number of interesting people, including a young man who is currently employed by the government as an actor who portrays a child who was the victim of a crime for training purposes; as well as a woman from Bethlehem, Pa.
After being seated, the musical conductor and staff talked to the group about what they would be doing. Stephen Schwartz then came out and taught the parts that the audience would be singing.
"Just to see Steven Schwartz in action was amazing," Kennedy said of her experience, adding that after the group practiced the chorus a number of times, Andrea Martin, who plays Berthe, Pippin's grandmother, came out on stage for the recording.
"It all fell together so fast," she added. "It took us a half hour less than they thought it would with that number of people. It was like everyone knew what they were doing. At the end Stephen composed extra harmony for the last part because he was amazed with how well the group was singing. He said 'This group can handle a lot more than I ever expected.'"
The song that Kennedy took part in was based on Pippin's grandmother telling Pippin to grasp life's opportunities before it is too late.
Kennedy said those lyrics helped push her to do this.
"When Laura sent that email I was like 'you know what, with the way the song goes I think I better take this chance because you never know,'" she said.
Kennedy's experiences with the music of Pippin began in the mid-1970s.
She purchased the original cast album, which was a vinyl record, and listened to it over and over. She also sang "With You" at several weddings and attended a number of performances of the play at traveling community theaters in the area.
After she had her daughter in 1984, Kennedy introduced Laura to the sounds of Pippin and the love of theater.
At the age of 7, Laura was using the song "Magic To Do" for her gymnastics routine.
On April 27, Joan finally had the opportunity to see Pippin on the Broadway stage and meet the original Pippin at the same time.
"The original Pippin (John Rubinstein) was there to see the performance," Kennedy said. "He was in our row about four people away from me and people around us recognized him. He ended up walking out behind me and I talked to him and told him how much I loved the music and how I have the original cast album. He was so pleasant and so nice."
Kennedy can also be seen on Pippin's Facebook page in the cast recording photos; as well as the behind the scenes of the cast recording video.
Most recently, her Pippin experience through the years was chosen as one of 100 stories to be showcased on the Pippin the Musical website in honor of the revival's 100th performance on July 20.
Would she do another cast recording if the opportunity arose again?
"Yes. I loved it," she said. "It was awesome to see the whole process and singing with people that loved theater and music like I do. It was something I never thought I would do.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Kennedy, wearing red the day of the recording, can be seen in the second row on the left side of the cast photo in the back of the cast album CD booklet.
For more information on Pippin, go to www.pippinthemusical.com.