World premiere musical ‘The Sting’ releases first production shots

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Production photos giving us a first look at the upcoming Broadway-bound world premiere musical “The Sting,” featuring Harry Connick Jr. at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, were released today.  In previews now and opening Sunday April 8, the Broadway-bound show is based on the 1973 film of the same title (set in 1936 Chicago) with a complicated plot about two professional grifters (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) who con a mob boss (Robert Shaw).

The title refers to the moment when a con artist finishes the “play” and takes the mark’s money. If a con is successful, the mark does not realize he has been “taken” (cheated), at least not until the con men are long gone.

The musical has a book by Bob Martin, music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann & Greg Kotis, with Connick. For those worried the iconic film’s ragtime score would be jettisoned, don’t worry. Scott Joplin’s music, especially the melody “The Entertainer,” remain.

That song, along with others by Joplin, were adapted for the movie by Marvin Hamlisch and “The Entertainer” became a top-10 chart single when released as a single from the film’s soundtrack. The film helped  created renewed interest in Joplin’s work.

Paper Mill Playhouse's 2017-2018 season.
Paper Mill’s 2017-2018 season.

John Rando directs with choreography by Warren Carlyle and music direction by Fred Lassen. The limited engagement continues through Sunday, April 29. Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays. The performance schedule is Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 1:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

Connick plays Henry Gondorff, the character played by Paul Newman in the film. J. Harrison Ghee plays Johnny Hooker, the Robert Redford role. And Tom Hewitt is Doyle Lonnegan, the Robert Shaw role.

The principal cast also includes Peter Benson as The Erie Kid, Janet Dacal as Loretta, Christopher Gurr as J.J. Singleton, Richard Kline as Kid Twist, Kevyn Morrow as Luther, Kate Shindle as Billie, and Robert Wuhl as Snyder.

Rounding out the cast are Lucien Barbarin, Darius Barnes, Keely Beirne, Michael Fatica, Luke Hawkins, Tyler Huckstep, Matt Loehr, Erica Mansfield, Drew McVety, Ramone Owens, Tyler Roberts, Angie Schworer, Christine Shepard, Britton Smith, Sherisse Springer, Diana Vaden, Kevin Worley and Lara Seibert Young.

The production team includes set design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Japhy Weideman, sound design by Randy Hansen, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, make up design by Cookie Jordan, vocal arrangements by Fred Lassen, dance arrangements by David Chase, orchestrations by Doug Besterman, and fight coordinator Robert Westley. The production stage manager is Bonnie L. Becker. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting, Tara Rubin, CSA.

Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2017-18 season, which includes two potential Broadway transfers.
Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2017-18 season includes at least two potential Broadway transfers.

Tickets, starting at $34, are on sale at 973-376-4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse box office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Discounts available. Students rush tickets over the phone or in person are $23 on the day of the performance.