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American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus won her first Tony Award on June 9 for her direction of "Pippin". WGBH arts editor Jared Bowen spoke with Paulus about her revival of the classic musical in December 2012 when it premiered at the A.R.T. in Cambridge.


Just months after shepherding "Porgy and Bess" to a Tony-winning revival on Broadway, American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus has turned her attention to another classic musical—"Pippin".  For Paulus and her stars, "Pippin" is personal.

“I remember seeing 'Pippin' when I was about 9-years-old. And I saw the original Broadway production," said Paulus. "It was visceral. That is my primary memory of it.  It was the theatricality. It was the Fosse that was so striking and powerful. And unusual. And the score.”

On the 40th anniversary of "Pippin’s" Broadway debut, director Diane Paulus is conjuring him on the stage once again, calling up the wide-eyed, young man embarking on a quest to fill his life with meaning.

“You see this young hero wrestle with his sense of self.  So in that sense "Pippin" is extremely deep. I think it gets done at colleges and camps and everyone remembers it as this kind of kumbaya musical. But it’s so much more than that," Paulus said.


It is existential.  As this new production at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. presents—Pippin tests himself in a journey that takes him through the stations of life—through love, loss and war.  It’s through the prism of a circus which then lures him to the ultimate test: How far must one go to be extraordinary?

“We’re building to the finale.  We can always think about what will be the finale in your life...?" said Paulus.
"What will be my finale? Who knows what our finale will be?”