Director Diane Paulus Works Her Magic on Pippin

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02 Jan 2013

Diane Paulus
Diane Paulus

The Stephen Schwartz-scored musical fable Pippin, about manhood, identity, love and conflict, gets a fresh and acrobatic approach by Hair and Porgy and Bess director Diane Paulus. American Repertory Theater is hosting the revival.

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"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."

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