By Alicia Anstead
DIANE PAULUS MUSES ON THE CONFLUENCE OF DIRECTOR, ARTIST AND PRODUCER AND OFFERS A VISION OF THEATER AS COMMUNITY CATALYST.
few years back, director Diane Paulus and composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz were discussing musicals during a public event at Harvard University, where Paulus is artistic and producing director at American Repertory Theater. They were talking about a musical project that was opening at A.R.T. — this was before Paulus’ revival of Schwartz’s Pippin — and I remember noting the ease with which they interacted, the respect in his eyes for her, the reverence in hers for him. She’s a force. He’s a legend. It was a true power moment. They both have had several power moments since then. Paulus has racked up three more Tony Awards — one for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and one each for the revival and direction of Pippin (to go with the one she previously garnered for the revival of HAIR). Schwartz has three Oscars, four Grammys, four Drama Desks, a Golden Globe and two Broadcast Film Critics Awards. Among his creations: Godspell, Pippin, Wicked and, my obscure favorite, the title song to the stage play and movie Butterflies Are Free. (Who can forget a big-haired Goldie Hawn fawning over Edward Albert’s guitar version in the film?) At the opening plenary session of APAP|NYC, Paulus and Schwartz will be in conversation again, this time joined by Zachary Quinto, who plays Tom Wingfield in the A.R.T. production of The Glass Menagerie that moved to Broadway in 2013. (Others may recognize him as Spock in the more recent Star Trek movies.) Michael Kerker, director of musical theater at ASCAP, will moderate the conversation. I met with Paulus in her Cambridge office last fall to talk about theater, her work in the field, the philosophy that drives her commitment audience and her newest directorial project Witness Uganda, opening Feb. 4 at A.R.T. The following is a condensed version of our conversation.
CONFERENCE 2014 INSIDE ARTS 55
Inside Arts is the official magazine of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.