Audra McDonald Pens Diane Paulus Tribute for TIME's 100 Most Influential People Issue; Read It in Full!
The full list and related tributes will appear in the May 5 issue of TIME, available on newsstands and tablets on Friday, April 25, and now at time.com/time100.
In the special issue, 5-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, who worked with Paulus on the recent Broadway revival of Porgy & Bess, pens a loving tribute to the director. The full entry follows:
When you talk to Diane Paulus, her bright, sparkly blue eyes always look like she has just discovered something, whether you're talking about No. 2 pencils or the cosmos. She is that passionate about everything. That's why she has such good radar - she's open to the whole experience that is theater. She'll take a good idea from anyone, and she's willing to try anything. It can be as wild and imaginative as possible - as long as it's authentic.
When my husband Will Swenson and I were dating, he was working on Diane's revival of the musical Hair. He kept talking about her spirit and her wildly creative ideas. He was so fulfilled by Diane's process that I became curious about working with her and we got to know each other. On Hair's opening night in London, she asked me, "What do you think about working with me on Porgy and Bess?" Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity.
Diane won a Tony Award for her revival of the musical Pippin. So many people think they know the piece, but she made it refreshingly new by staging it in a circus atmosphere. It comes from her sense of play - nothing is sacred and everything is sacred. I can't wait to see what she does next.
Photo: Jason Grow