Diane Paulus

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Diane Paulus
Born 1966 (age 49–50)
New York City, New York, United States
Nationality United States
Alma mater Harvard University
Columbia University
Occupation Director
Spouse(s) Randy Weiner (m. 1995; 2 children)
Website www.dianepaulus.net

Diane Marie Paulus (born 1966 in New York City, USA) is an American director of theater and opera[1] who became Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (ART) at Harvard University in 2009.[1] Paulus was nominated for the Best Director Tony Award for her revival of Hair, and won the award in 2013 for her revival of Pippin. She has received the 2009 Harvard College Women’s Leadership Award and the Columbia University IAL Diamond Award.[2]


Paulus attended the Brearley School, studied dance at New York City Ballet and trained in classical piano.[1] In 1988, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University/Radcliffe College with a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.[3] She earned a Master's degree from the Columbia University School of the Arts.[1]


Paulus and her husband, Randy Weiner, along with a few other theater school graduates established a small theater troupe in New York City called Project 400 Theatre Group.[1][4] With Project 400, Paulus and Weiner specialized in creating avant-garde musical productions which married classic theater and modern music.[5] Paulus' first production with the group was a rock version of The Tempest.[5] Other productions included an R&B Phaedra and a hip-hop Lohengrin.[5]

In collaboration with Weiner, Paulus co-created The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which ran off-Broadway from 1999 to 2005.[6] Critics cited the production as an exemplary of a trend in which edgy avant-garde theater had become fashionably mainstream.[7]

American Repertory Theater[edit]

In May 2008, Paulus was named the artistic director of the American Repertory Theater (affiliated with Harvard University). The American Repertory Theater chose Paulus after a 16-month search to replace Robert Woodruff in an effort to revitalize the program.[8] Paulus' first production was a revival of The Donkey Show.[6] Paulus previously taught courses at Columbia University and Yale University.[8]

Paulus was selected by the magazine American Theatre as one of the 25 theatre artists who were asked to share their vision of coming developments in the next 25 years in the theatre world.[9] In her comments she talks about her goal to "revolutionize" the theatre experience by making it more interactive, letting the audience participate and making theatre content more "open source."

In 2010, Paulus directed Il mondo della luna (The World on the Moon), an opera by Joseph Haydn, in the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. A Gotham Chamber Opera, in partnership with the Museum and in association with American Repertory Theater, Paulus' production fused live opera and stargazing using the 180-degree dome with projections courtesy of NASA.[10]

Paulus was slated to direct Paul Simon's The Capeman at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park for the Public Theater in August 2010.[11]

In 2011 she staged a production of the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess at the American Repertory Theater, which moved to Broadway in 2012. The production was nominated for 10 awards in the 2012 Tony Awards, winning Best Revival of a Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for McDonald. The production ran through September 23, 2012.[12] It played 322 performances, 17 more than the 1953 revival, making it the longest-running production of Porgy and Bess on Broadway.[13]

In 2012, Paulus directed a production of Pippin for the American Repertory Theater. She cast a woman, Patina Miller, in the part of Leading Player, originated by Ben Vereen. The production opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, on April 25, 2013.[14] Paulus won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, becoming the third woman to win the award after Julie Taymor in 1998 and Susan Stroman in 2001.[15]


Paulus was born in New York City in 1966, the daughter of a New York television producer. On October 1, 1995, she married fellow Harvard graduate Randy Weiner.[3] They have two daughters.

Selected works directed[edit]

  • The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which ran off-Broadway from 1999 to 2005. It was revived in 2009 for Paulus' first production as director of the ART.[6]
  • The 40th Anniversary Concert Production of Hair at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park for the Public Theater as well as the subsequent production of Hair on Broadway which won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical and for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Director.
  • Another Country by James Baldwin at Riverside Church
  • Turandot: Rumble for the Ring at the Bay Street Theatre.
  • The Golden Mickeys for Disney Creative Entertainment.
  • Best of Both Worlds, a gospel/R&B adaptation of A Winter’s Tale produced by Music-Theatre Group and The Women’s Project. Co-written by Diedre Murray. It was revived in 2010 at the ART.
  • The Karaoke Show, an adaptation of Comedy of Errors set in a karaoke bar, produced by Jordan Roth Productions.
  • Running Man by jazz composer and frequent collaborator Diedre Murray and poet Cornelius Eady.
  • Swimming with Watermelons, created in association with Project 400, the theater company she co-founded with her husband Randy Weiner.
  • Brutal Imagination.
  • The Obie-award winning Eli's Comin, featuring the music and lyrics of Laura Nyro.
  • At Chicago Opera Theater: Le Nozze Di Figaro, Turn Of The Screw, Cosi Fan Tutte, and all three Monteverdi opera, Il Ritorno D’Ulisse In Patria, L’Incoronazione Di Poppea, and Orfeo.[16]
  • Johnny Baseball 2010 Play at the ART.[17]
  • Amaluna The 2012 Cirque Du Soleil touring show.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e Colleen Walsh, "Paulus reaches beyond boards", Harvard Gazette, 23 April 2009
  2. ^ "HAIR Director Diane Paulus Receives I.A.L Diamond Award 5/2 At Varsity Show", Broadway.com, 1 May 2009
  3. ^ a b "Weddings; Diane M. Paulus, Randy Weiner", New York Times, October 1, 1995
  4. ^ Ricky Spears, "Quick Wit: Anna Wilson ", TheaterMania, 7 July 2000
  5. ^ a b c Eric V. Copage, "Not Your Mother's Musical, and That's the Point", New York Times, 6 September 1999
  6. ^ a b c Megan Tench, "Disco inferno", The Boston Globe, August 23, 2009
  7. ^ Arnold Aronson, American Avant-garde Theatre: A History, Routledge; 1 ed. (2000), p.207
  8. ^ a b Celia McGee, "Harvard’s Not-So-Square New Director", New York Times, August 13, 2008
  9. ^ "An Eye on the Future" American Theatre magazine, April 2009
  10. ^ Video of Il mondo della luna simsscoop.com
  11. ^ Shakespeare in the Park web site, retrieved 7/12/2010
  12. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Tony-Winning 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess' Will Conclude Broadway Run Sept. 23", Playbill.com, July 18, 2012
  13. ^ "Breaking News: The Gershwin's PORGY & BESS Moves Broadway Closing Up to September 23, 2012". Broadway World. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ Gioia, Michael.'Pippin' Finds "Glory" in Diane Paulus' Cirque-Inspired Broadway Revival, Opening April 25 playbill.com, April 25, 2013
  15. ^ Gans, Andrew. Nominations Announced for 67th Annual Tony Awards; Kinky Boots Earns 13 Nominations playbill.com, April 30, 2013
  16. ^ DIANE PAULUS - Biography
  17. ^ Rizzo, Frank (2009-04-15). "Paulus gives A.R.T. a makeover - Entertainment News, Gotham, Media". Variety. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  18. ^ "Concepteurs". Cirque Du Soleil. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 

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