Diane Paulus’s projects – real and fictional
Did the writers of NBC’s “Smash” know more about Diane Paulus than we thought? A May episode of the Broadway-besotted TV show named Paulus as a Tony Award nominee for directing the musical “Oliver.” Ha! Fiction, of course. The American Repertory Theater artistic director, a recent Tony winner for directing “Pippin,” has no plans to stage “Oliver,” right? Well, as Paulus divulged at a Globe Insiders talk on Tuesday, “There are certain musicals I would love to do. ‘Oliver’ is one of my favorite all-time musicals.” As for “Smash,” Paulus laughed. She didn’t watch the show, but “I went to the bus stop the next morning . . . and these parents of the kids at the bus stop were like, ‘So, I hear you’re doing “Oliver,”’ she recalled. “That’s funny! Someone knows.” Paulus has plenty on her plate, without “Oliver.” In addition to directing the musical “Witness Uganda,” which makes its world premiere at the ART in February, she’s kicking off the national tour of her Tony-winning production “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” working on a new musical adaptation of the film “Waitress” with playwright Paula Vogel and singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, and delving into another project she’s passionate about: a tale of the women’s suffrage movement. Paulus said she longs to tell the story of America’s suffragettes, “who went on hunger strikes and were force-fed in prison, and stood outside the White House and had stones thrown at them,” all to get the vote. So she’s working on the creation of a show with writer Eve Ensler. Her dream? “A new great American musical that will tell this history,” Paulus said, one “that could inspire a revolution for people who need the encouragement around the world” in the fight for women’s rights.