In the News

Here presented in its world premiere and masterfully directed by Diane Paulus, it tells the story of an African-American actor, tired of pounding the pavement in New York, who volunteers to go to Uganda to help build a village school just outside the capital city of Kampala. 
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It's hard to imagine a more achingly personal musical than “Witness Uganda.” And that's what helps to make this world premiere at American Repertory Theater so involving – and, in many ways, so remarkable.
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Few of us would think of turning one of our life experiences into a musical or have the vision and talent to pull it off. But the young Griffin Matthews has done so with the help of co-creator Matt Gould.
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Perhaps because Gould and Matthews don’t play up the pathos — they’re just telling a true story, honestly and artfully — it’s all the more overwhelming when it catches you unawares.
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It is a stirring, humorous and musically brilliant, yet somehow relaxed, narrative of one frustrated young man's journey of personal discovery and understanding.
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Diane Paulus, who is directing American Repertory Theater’s production of “Witness Uganda,” says its music “didn’t sound like anything I had heard before.”
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Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews developed the musical “Witness Uganda” to tell the story of the founding of UgandaProject and inspire others to help.
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“I want to encourage people to come to this,” says Paulus.“It asks hard questions, it’s a piece of tremendous heart, and it is actually really funny.” And to reiterate, with Paulus the audience is in good hands. In Gould’s words, “There is a reason why she is the goddess of the American musical theater.”
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When Griffin Matthews flew off to Uganda in 2005, he had no idea he'd return with a sense of purpose, a love life and a musical.
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For Paulus, the ART’s artistic director, 2013 was a year of snowballing commercial success. In June, she won her first Tony Award as a director, for “Pippin,” which transferred to Broadway from the ART last spring, recouped its $8.5 million capitalization in December, and continues its run. It is Paulus’s third Broadway show, and her third to win the Tony for best revival of a musical.
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