Diane Paulus-Helmed PIPPIN Finds Backers for Broadway Run?
According to the New York Times, Diane Paulus' upcoming production of Pippin might be heading to Broadway after it plays Cambridge's American Repertory Theater in December. Patrick Healy writes that producers Barry and Fran Weissler are looking into backing the show for a Broadway run. A spokesman told NYT: "It's a project that Barry and Fran are very interested in. They're huge fans of Diane. Right now they're just supporting the project."
Broadway buzz has surrounded the production since 2010, when a pre-Broadway stop at A.R.T. was anticipated. The production most recently had a workshop last summer starring Gavin Creel, Katie Finneran, Michael Cumsty and Tracie Thoms as the Leading Player, a role traditionally played by a man. (The original reading in 2010 also starred Gavin Creel and Tracie Thoms, alongside Natalie Cortez and Jayne Houdyshell. Momentum on the production waned when Schwartz decided to instead work on an "experimental" production of the show at the Menier Chocolate Factory in the UK).
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The original production of Pippin, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson, premiered on Broadway in 1972. It was directed by Bob Fosse, won nine Tony Awards and four Drama Desk Awards, and ran for close to 2000 performances before closing in 1977. Pippinhas become a staple of the American Musical cannon, noted for many memorable songs including Corner of the Sky, Magic To Do, l Guess I'll Miss The Man, Glory, No Time at All, Morning Glow,and Love Song.
Stephen Schwartz has contributed music and/or lyrics to Godspell, The Magic Show, The Baker's Wife, Working (which he also adapted and directed), Rags, Children of Eden, My Fairytale, and the current Broadway hit, Wicked. He collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on the English texts for Bernstein's Mass and wrote the title song for the play and movie Butterflies are Free. For children, he has written songs for two musicals, Captain Louie and My Son Pinocchio. For films, he collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's Enchanted, as well as the animated features Pocahantas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt. He has released two CDs of new songs entitled "Reluctant Pilgrim" and "Uncharted Territory." His first opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, premiered with Opera Santa Barbara in the fall of 2009 and was recently produced by New York City Opera. A book about his career, "Defying Gravity," has recently been released by Applause Books. Under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation, he runs Musical Theatre Workshops in New York and Los Angeles, and is currently thePresident of the Dramatists' Guild. Mr. Schwartz has recently been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Other awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and a tiny handful of tennis trophies.
Diane Paulus is the Artistic Director at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, where her recent work includes The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, a new production adapted by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and OBIE-winning composer Diedre Murray (now running on Broadway), Prometheus Bound, a new musical inspired by Aeschylus's ancient Greek tragedy, written by Tony and Grammy Award-winner Steven Sater (Spring Awakening) with music composed by Grammy Award-winning System of a Down lead singer Serj Tankian; Death and The Powers: The Robots' Opera a new opera by Tod Machover, in collaboration with MIT Media Lab and Chicago Opera Theater; The Donkey Show a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which ran for six years Off-Broadway and toured internationally; Best of Both Worlds, and Johnny Baseball. Her other recent theater credits include The Public Theater's Tony-Award winning revival of HAIR on Broadway, and London's West End. Other recent work includes Kiss Me, Kate (Glimmerglass Opera) and Lost Highway (ENO co-production with the Young Vic.) As an opera director, her credits include The Magic Flute (Canadian Opera Company), Il mondo della luna at the Hayden Planetarium in New York; Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Turn Of The Screw, Cosi fan tutte, and the Monteverdi trilogy Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Orfeo at the Chicago Opera Theater. Diane is a Professor of the Practice of Theater in Harvard University's English Department and was recently named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Boston by Boston Magazine, is a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Boston Conservatory, and will be honored with The Drama League's 2012 Founders Award for Excellence in Directing on May 18 of this year.