DIANE PAULUS Director of Theater and Opera

 



REVIEWS


Boston Globe
Rod Gilfry makes Matt Aucoin’s ‘Crossing’ sing
June 1, 2015
by Jeffrey Gantz

At the Shubert, ART artistic director Diane Paulus gives the opera a handsome, energetic staging. Tom Pye’s set begins with a blue-gray panel on which Whitman’s handwriting can be discerned and a clapboard wall with a transom window. Eventually the panel rises to reveal the hospital, a makeshift affair with an American flag and a photograph of President Lincoln, in which demoralized soldiers play cards or comfort one another. Finn Ross’s projections include the flames of war, the “flood-tide” Whitman viewed from the Brooklyn ferry, and his “gorgeous clouds of the sunset.”

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New York Times
Review: Matthew Aucoin’s ‘Crossing’ Is a Taut, Inspired Opera
May 31, 2015
by Anthony Tommasini

The shadowy, sometimes dreamlike production, directed by Diane Paulus, with simple sets by Tom Pye, allowed the urgent music and the outstanding singers to come first.

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Boston Globe
In 'Witness Uganda,' a man on a mission
February 13, 2014
by Sandy MacDonald

The design team convened by director Diane Paulus has done a brilliant job of conjuring, in minimal but sure strokes, the atmosphere of Africa, from hectic markets to hilltop vistas. Best of all, choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie provides, from the very outset, an overflowing supply of ecstatic movement.

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Time Out
Pippin
April 23, 2013
By Adam Feldman

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up to the greatest show of the Broadway season: Diane Paulus’s sensational cirque-noir revival of Pippin. Here, in all its grand and dubious glory, is musical-theater showmanship at its best, a thrilling evening of art and craftiness spiked with ambivalence about the nature of enthrallment.

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Variety
Review: 'Pippin'
January 4, 2013
By Frank Rizzo

The long journey to create a successful revival of the 1970s hit musical “Pippin” seemed as endless as the title character’s meandering search for his life’s purpose in a wicked world. But Diane Paulus’ Cirque du Showbiz production — which preemed at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., prior to its current Broadway run at the Rialto’s Music Box Theater — is sure to create positive buzz. The time for “Pippin” has finally come.

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The Gazette
Review: Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna is poetry in acrobatic motion

April 26, 2012
By Pat Donnelly

Director Diane Paulus has created an isle of enchantment under the Cirque du Soleil big top with her richly theatrical, hauntingly poetic Amaluna. We’re invited us to wonder, like Miranda does in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in’t.”

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National Post
Cirque's Amaluna a Shakespearan classic with a woman's touch
April 19, 2012
By Pat Donnelly

While describing her first Cirque du Soleil show at a recent media event in Montreal, New York theatre director and Harvard professor Diane Paulus said the most beautiful thing about working on it has been collaborating with performers from around the world (15 countries to be exact). “I’ve done a lot of theatre,” she said, “but I’ve never done a show with this many people from this many countries.”

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Time Magazine
Loves you, Porgy
September 26, 2011
By Richard Zoglin

This latest Porgy, from director Diane Paulus (the revival of Hair) and playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog) makes revisions that are respectful, not radical. The story of a doomed love affair between a crippled beggar (Norm Lewis) and the "loose woman" he takes in (Audra McDonald, in the role of her career) has been trimmed to just over two hours and unfolds not on naturalistic sets but in front of an abstract, driftwood-like backdrop. But the opera is all there in spirit. Starting with Nikki Renée Daniels' exquisite opening rendition of "Summertime," the Paulus-Parks Porgy is a streamlined, intimate, musically ravishing show.

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Variety
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
September 1, 2011
By Frank Rizzo

Operatic aspirations are replaced with the accessibility, theatricality and showbiz savvy of a Broadway musical in Diane Paulus' bright, beautiful and tuner-centric re-envisioning of "Porgy and Bess."

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The New York Times
'Capeman' Outdoors, Starring the City
August 17, 2010
by Ben Brantley

But in the park, as staged (and radically streamlined) by Diane Paulus ("Hair"), the show felt like an organic part of a New York tradition of tale-telling, of how accounts of tragic events in an overcrowded city are passed around and passed down until they become urban legends.

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Variety
Johnny Baseball
June 3, 2010
by Frank Rizzo

Clerverly crafted and terrifically performed... Helmer Diane Paulus hits a clean line drive straight into center field with a thoughtful, crowd-pleasing and deftly balanced show.

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Chicago Tribune
COT's dazzling 'robot opera' poses provocative new questions
'Death and the Powers' at its heart is about family connections
April 03, 2011
By John von Rhein

This is a show unlike anything you have ever seen or heard before. "Death and the Powers" is a cautionary tale about the romance and mystery of technology that enlists some of the most complex, sophisticated technology to have been put on the operatic stage. But, for all its computer-generated theatrical dazzle – created by Machover's Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab -- it is at heart a poignant family drama, about how we connect, and how the choices we make in life impact on those we care about and who care about us.

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Variety
Prometheus Bound
March 7, 2011
By Frank Rizzo

It's not been a good year for the world's tyrants. And now, even Zeus is being challenged in a raw and rocking version of "Prometheus Bound," helmed with a fierce rebel spirit by Diane Paulus. Propelled by a lean script and cut-to-the-quick lyrics by Steve Sater and an angst-filled score by Serj Tankian, this world preem hits the zeitgeist jackpot.

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The New York Times
A Novel 'Gatsby': Stamina Required
February 5, 2010
by Ben Brantley

What happens between a novel and a consenting reader is usually a deeply personal activity, occurring behind the closed doors of individual minds. It is arguably more intimate and subjective than sex. And if someone asked you, “Want to watch me read a book for the next six or seven hours?” you would probably — and wisely — decline.

Yet this is the invitation being extended by Elevator Repair Service’s “Gatz,” at the American Repertory Theater here through Sunday. And to turn down the offer would be to miss one of the most exciting and improbable accomplishments in theater in recent years.

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New York Observer
Outer Space Opera
January 19, 2010
by Zachary Woolfe

The production uses the planetarium’s $3.5 million Zeiss Mark IX projector and its library of NASA-produced footage to conjure up the adorably zany central fantasy of the opera, in which two daughters try to get their overprotective father to consent to their marriages by convincing him that he’s traveled to—you guessed it!—the moon.

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New York Times
A Space Opera in a Proper Galaxy
January 14, 2010
by Matthew Gurewitsch

Neal Goren, the founding artistic director of Gotham Chamber Opera, set his sights on “Il Mondo Della Luna” long ago. “We couldn’t do it at our original theater because the pit is too small,” Mr. Goren said during a break in late December at a soaring rehearsal studio in Brooklyn, where daylight and neon mingled in an unearthly glare. “For a while I was looking for an empty warehouse or other raw space. Then I took my nephew to the planetarium one day, and it came to me: Bingo! Why not here?”

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The Boston Globe
Dream in 'Donkey Show' is Shakespearean
September 14, 2009
by Don Aucoin

In less capable hands, it could have been a travesty or a mere stunt. But codirectors Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner, who created “Donkey Show’’ a decade ago in New York, have devised a visual language to express the essence of Shakespeare’s play while not using a word of his text (unless the line “I am your boogie man. You turn me on’’ somehow got left out of my Pelican edition Shakespeare).

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Metro International
Singing joy to the 'Worlds'
December 10, 2009
by Nick Dussault

The American Repertory Theater’s new artistic director has single-handedly made both the Bard and the A.R.T. exciting again. With “Best of Both Worlds,” the final installment in her Shakespeare Exploded! Festival, Paulus offers a stripped-down, contemporized re-imagining of “The Winter’s Tale” that will astound you with its soulful sounds and brilliantly accessible, edge-of-your-seat storytelling.

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The Boston Phoenix
Joyful Noise
December 9, 2009
by Carolyn Clay

From the clamorous arrival of some ghetto hot wheels to a scorching gospel finale, Best of Both Worlds warms up The Winter's Tale. The third entry in American Repertory Theater's Shakespeare Exploded! Festival, this sizzling and soulful gloss on the Bard's late romance (at the Loeb Drama Center through January 3) mines Shakespeare's time- and realm-hopping fairy tale — here rooted in a falling out between rhythm-and-blues kingpins — for all its raging irrationality and redemptive magic, transforming it into a furious and funny funk opera with one foot in R&B, the other in the black church. The show contains only shards of real and faux Shakespeare, but the compelling score by Dierdre Murray, poured over pipes that will bring you alternately to your feet and your knees, packs an eloquence of its own.

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The New York Times
A Frizzy, Fizzy Welcome to the Untamed ’60s
April 1, 2009
by Ben Brantley

That there’s nothing of the museum — or, worse, of the vintage jukebox — about Ms. Paulus’s production isn’t because she’s reinterpreted or even reframed it. She does what Bartlett Sher did for “South Pacific” last year, finding depths of character and feeling in what most people dismissed as dried corn. It’s not so much what Ms. Paulus brings to “Hair”; it’s what she brings out of it, vital elements that were always waiting to be rediscovered.

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The New York Sun
Glimmerglass Times Four (on an Elizabethan Stage)
August 21, 2008
by Nicholas Wapshott

"Diane Paulus's "Kate" moves along at a hectic comic pace, with Lisa Vroman's Lilli/Kate spiritedly played as a man-hating closet dominatrix scorned by her double-dealing ex-husband Fred/Petruchio, a well-turned if rather too stolid Brad Little. The staging is unexpected and ingenious. The sets, fresh and exciting; the chorus direction inventive and involving. If some of the voices are not quite what we might expect from an opera company venturing onto the Great White Way, the gusto more than makes up. And the hilarious handling of the hood duet "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" by Michael Mott and Brad Nacht, tenors posing as Sopranos, stops the show in its tracks. Broadway producers in search of a ready-made production for an empty theater this fall should head to Cooperstown without delay."

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The New York Times
Let the Sunshine In, and the Shadows
August 8, 2008

"Ms. Paulus elicits the shadows amid the starshine without ever imposing the irony of hindsight. Incorporating inspired choreography by Karole Armitage, she creates a show that feels as organic and natural as any upstate commune dweller could wish for. Even the very visible onstage band, under a tie-dyed canopy, feels as it had sprouted there, like so many musical mushrooms."

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TIME Magazine
A New Dawn for Hair
July 31, 2008

"Hair may have its stars in alignment at last. A definitive version of the groundbreaking show has just started a monthlong run in New York City's outdoor Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Expanded from a concert version that ran for a weekend last September, the revival is being produced by the city's Public Theater, Joseph Papp's downtown theater lab that first opened its doors in 1967 with Hair. It is returning on the 40th anniversary of the show's Broadway debut. All the tickets, fittingly, are free. Most folks queue up on the Internet now (for seats chosen by lottery) rather than stand in line all day long, but it's the hottest ticket in New York City."

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The Oneida Daily Dispatch
Glimmerglass Opera opens season with a racy "Kiss Me, Kate"
July 8, 2008
by Wayne Meyers


"The significance of what transpired at the Alice Busch Opera Theater last Saturday night was not lost on me. Glimmerglass Opera launched its Shakespeare-linked 2008 festival season with a musical-the first since the company's founding in 1975. And so on this night Cole Porter joined the likes of Donizetti, Britten and Rossini in having his work staged at this Hugh Hardy-designed countryside opera house on the shore of Otsego Lake. But I didn't dwell on that for too long. I was too busy enjoying Diane Paulus' ribald staging of Porter's 1948 'Kiss Me, Kate.' "

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Chicago Sun-Times
Glover-Paulus team creates a superb 'Don Giovanni' for Chicago Opera Theater
May 2, 2008

"Dark. Very dark. Beautiful. Disturbing. Provocative. Hilarious. Chilling. Engrossing.
Chicago Opera Theater has scored another triumph with its new production of 'Don Giovanni,' the last of the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy to be taken up by the company's superb partnership of conductor Jane Glover and director Diane Paulus."

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The Independent
Lost Highway, Young Vic, London
Tuesday, 8 April 2008

"Director Diane Paulus does a stunning job. Her designers turn the Young Vic into a neon-lit installation: four giant video screens filtering both live and pre-filmed images around a suspended Plexiglas box from which descends a white spiral staircase – the stairway to and from psychosis, mission control for Lynch's weird and wonderful imaginings. "

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NEWSDAY
The Top 10 in Theater by Linda Winer
January 11, 2008

8. "HAIR." The Public Theater produced just three raucous and perfectly heartbreaking performances in Central Park in September. It was a 40th anniversary of what turns out to have been a surprisingly resilient and tragically timely musical. The Public did not want reviews for what turned out to be one of the memorable experiences of the year. The production deserved to live on. So sorry you missed it.


Greenwich Village Gazette
Another Country - Review by Arlene McKanic

November 20, 2007

"...director and adaptor Diane Paulus has managed to put on a splendid, moving show...In Another Country, Paulus brings out the humanity of a group of troubled people in a troubled country. "

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Columbia News
James Baldwin’s Another Country Hits the Riverside Theatre Stage
Nov. 15, 2007

“Another Country is a history lesson of life in America, one that is filled with outrage, brutal honesty and searing passion.”

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THE EAST HAMPTON STAR
Get Ready to Rumble
July 17th, 2007
By Regina Weinreich

“The adrenaline rush at the Bay Street Theatre is as immediate as watching a smackdown on “WrestleMania” in its production of the musical cum tournament, “Turandot: Rumble for the Ring.”  The show features a center stage arena, overhead screens for riveting close-ups, a barking M.C., a pair of comic commentators, and mini-skirt-clad blondes cavorting about and exhorting the crowd. This is an event for sports fans, rock fanatics, multitaskers, the A.D.D. generation, and, yes, lovers of traditional musical theater.  From the start-up sing-along of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to the fight finale, few theater pieces, let alone opera-based, legend-inspired remakes, have worked so hard at engaging an audience and succeeded so well.”

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Chicago Tribune
COT scores a triumph in 'Return of Ulysses'
March 30, 2007
By John von Rhein
Tribune music critic

“Paulus has made the highly stylized conceits of early Italian Baroque opera feel as fresh to modern ears as the tangy, colorful continuity of sounds Glover, working from her own edition of the score, elicits from her fine period-instruments orchestra. Together they inspire a large, mostly young ensemble -- typical of general director Brian Dickie's shrewd casting of singers -- to make the words and notes of this text-driven opera really matter to us. The result is living, breathing drama that speaks with a contemporary voice.”

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Chicago Tribune
'Figaro' set in Miami has steam, sass, dream cast
May 5, 2005
By John von Rhein
Tribune music critic

“It’s our old friend "Figaro," all right, done up in the authentic musical style and delicious theatricality that have marked Chicago Opera Theater's four previous collaborations by conductor Jane Glover and director Diane Paulus…Moving the action from 18th-Century Seville to Clinton-era Florida, Paulus reminds us how contemporary Mozart's serious comedy of Eros really is. As with her witty "Cosi Fan Tutte" for COT in 2002, the director has two couples facing some painful emotional truths and learning that trust, honesty and fidelity never come cheap…Even if you've seen "Figaro" scores of times, COT's dream cast and a delightful production make this a wedding you simply must attend.”

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Chicago Tribune
Chicago Opera Theater debuts with bold 'Coronation' Chicago Opera Theater baptizes new home with flawless 'Coronation'
February 18, 2004
By John von Rhein
Tribune music critic

“With this latest entry in their Monteverdi cycle for Chicago Opera Theater, conductor Jane Glover and director Diane Paulus have given us a bold contemporary perspective on this Baroque masterpiece that leaps across the centuries with astonishing immediacy… …The Monteverdi "Orfeo" Glover and Paulus put together for COT in 2000 was a model of how old operatic wine can be poured into shiny new bottles; so is their "Poppea." Robert Brill's spare sets, David C. Woolard's modern costuming and Allen Hahn's stark lighting draw telling parallels between the sleazy hedonism of Nero's palace and the glitzy vulgarity of a Vegas pleasure dome… as close to flawless as a production can be: admirably sung and acted, imaginatively staged and stylishly performed by a dream ensemble of period instruments under Glover's direction.”

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Chicago Sun-Times
COT opens season with engrossing 'Turn'
March 28, 2003
by Wynne Delacoma Classical Music Critic

“Paulus and Glover are working their magic again…Using minimal sets and retaining the 19th-century English country setting of James' story, COT's "Turn of the Screw'' takes us into a world as familiar as a Jane Austen novel or a Merchant-Ivory film, yet as disorienting as a fog-shrouded Impressionist landscape…Britten's tale of two orphaned children menaced by the ghosts of their dead governess, Miss Jessel, and a mysterious man-servant, Peter Quint, becomes an engrossing swirl of reality and fantasy, unbounded goodness and absolute malevolence.”

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The New Yorker
GOINGS ON ABOUT TOWN
Swimming With Watermelons
April 15th, 2002

"It's a delight, beginning to end."

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TIME Magazine
Playlist of Your Dreams
The music of rock’s greatest generation, long absent from the theater, is finding new life on stage
By Richard Zoglin
May 28, 2001

"Both Joplin and Nyro (who died of cancer in 1997) are back together onstage, after a fasion — each being celebrated in a new off-Broadway show. In Eli’s Comin’ five performers (including golden-voiced Broadway vet Judy Kuhn) wend their way through a bookless compendium of 20 of Nyro’s best-known songs. Though assembled into a very loose narrative (young girl arrives in New York City; by the end she’s sharing confessions with what looks like a therapy group), the show works best ‘ marvelously’ as a showcase for Nyro’s idiosyncratic and influential music, a lush, emotionally vivid, rhythmically complex mixture of folk, rock, gospel and jazz."

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Chicago Tribune
'Orfeo' gamble pays off
by John von Rhein
Tribune Music Critic
October 29th, 2000

"Paulus, in her operatic directing debut, sets the aboveground action in a brilliant all-white drawing room where the passionate lovers (Laurence Dale and Valerie MacCarthy) are surrounded by masked revelers at a high-society ball. After Orfeo travels down to Hades to rescue his dead sife, he finds her at the banquet table of Plutone (Andrew Funk), dressed in a red silk smoking jacket. With the coval ensemble never far from the center of the action, the stage is alive with fluid, stylized movement that takes its dramatic cues from the gut strings and valveless brasses in the pit."

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Chicago Sun-Times
'Orfeo'
by Wynne Delacoma Classical Music Critic
October 19th, 2000

"Stage director Diane Paulus had the brilliant idea of staging "Orfeo" as a chic, contemporary party celebrating the long-delayed wedding of Orfeo, a bad-boy artist, and Euridice, the beautiful daughter of rich, worldly parents. The vision, aided by Scott Pask's airy white set and Michael Chybowski's evocative lighting, worked effortlessly. Costume designer Meg Neville dressed the men in tuxedoes and the women in coolly sophisticated black-and-white gowns. The atmosphere easily combined the high spirits of a bachelor party with the allure of a formal dinner party on Manhattan's Upper East Side."

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The New York Times
Not Your Mother’s Musical, and That’s the Point
By Eric V. Copage
September 6, 1999

“ 'They never just throw something on stage because it looks cool,” [Clancy] said. “They are always asking: ‘What does it mean? How does it add to the story?’ That is how they can take something that seems like it will be campy — Shakespeare retold through disco songs — and make it work. Because these songs really do tell the story, they are not just grafted to the plot line. Project 400 shows a commitment to populist theater that isn’t diluted or watered down. ' ”

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The New York Times
They Be Foolish Mortals Who Love the Nightlife
By Peter Marks
August 27th, 1999

"If music be the food of love, “The Donkey Show” is a bowl of jalapenos. This rollicking hour of sex, drugs and sweaty gyrations marries the 70’s disco craze to, of all things, the work of William Shakespeare."

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The New York Times
A Young Man of Promise Who Has Lost His Way
by Peter Marks
March 5th, 1999

"Based on the moving poetry of Cornelius Eady and the plaintive, sweet-and-sour music of the jazz composer Diedre Murray, "Running Man" occupies a category of theater all its own. Operating at the exotic juncture where chamber musical, jazz session and opera might converge, the piece, performed spectacularly by a cast of six and a five member orchestra, taps a well of feeling so deep at times it seems spiritual. By no means is this a conventional musical — there are no show tunes in this show — but it shares with the successful versions of more mainstream forms an eloquence in structure and storytelling."

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