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.


"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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