"I've wanted to work on this show for years," Diane Paulus says. "I saw the Broadway original three times as a kid. It made such an impression. And the music — I listened to the album through high school and college. I know it by heart."
The show is Pippin, and Paulus, artistic director for American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, is now getting her chance. At her theatre she is directing a revival of the 1972 musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell) and book by Roger Hirson. The revival stars Patina Miller, a 2011 Tony nominee for Sister Act, as the Leading Player, a role that garnered the Best Actor Tony for Ben Vereen. Other Cambridge players include Matthew James Thomas (Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark) as Pippin and Terrence Mann and Charlotte d'Amboise — spouses in real life — as Pippin's dad, Charlemagne, a.k.a. King Charles, and his evil stepmother, Fastrada.
The tale, set in early medieval days, concerns the princely Pippin, who returns after university and tries to give himself a special life. The Broadway original lasted 1,944 performances, winning five Tonys — including for Direction and Choreography by Bob Fosse. Its score features "Corner of the Sky," "I Guess I'll Miss the Man" and "Magic to Do."