Category Archives: Paper Mill Playhouse

Paper Mill releases video of its world premiere ‘Honeymooners’ musical

The Paper Mill Playhouse has released a video of its world premiere of “The Honeymooners,” now in previews, opening Sunday (Oct. 8) in Millburn, NJ. Michael McGrath as Ralph Kramden, Michael Mastro as Ed Norton,  Leslie Kritzer as Alice Kramden, and Tony Award-nominee Laura Bell Bundy as Trixie Norton. Lewis J. Stadlen plays Old Man Faciamatta, Lewis Cleale is Bryce Bennett, and David Wohl is Allen Upshaw. 

For more info, bios, tech crew, etc, click here.

 

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‘Honeymooners’ musical begins world premiere tonite at Paper Mill

Not many Americans are alive today who watched the original broadcast of “The Honeymooners,” the iconic TV show created by Jackie Gleason that has morphed into a limited run world premiere musical  (after two previous attempts) that begins performances today (Sept. 28) at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey and probably is Broadway bound.

It’s based on the 1950s CBS television series that featured Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden;  Audrey Meadows his as faithful but sharp-tongued wife Alice,  Art Carney as his best friend Ed Norton, a sewer worker, and his wife Joyce Randolph and best friend to Alice.

Publicity shot of Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden with Audrey Meadows as Alice, circa 1955
Publicity shot of Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden with Audrey Meadows as Alice, circa 1955

Coming full circle, Gleason’s skits about working-class married couples in a gritty Brooklyn apartment originally  were broadcast live in front of a theater audience on the DuMont network’s variety series “Cavalcade of Stars,” which Gleason hosted, and subsequently on the CBS network’s “The Jackie Gleason Show” (1951–55).

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Reel 13 host Peña credits Paper Mill’s ‘Show Boat’ with verisimilitude

Nice, big, fat shout-out to Paper Mill Playhouse Saturday night during the Channel 13 screening of the 1951 version of “Show Boat” as part of its weekly Reel 13 classic movie feature.

At the end of “Show Boat” Prof. Richard Peña, currently the director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, talked about all the changes made to musical over the years including  downplaying the African-American characters, changing offensive lyrics, eliminating songs.

Eddie Bracken as Cap'n Andy Hawks and Rebecca Baxter as Magnolia in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of "Show Boat." It was featured on PBS' "Great Performances" series in 1989.
Eddie Bracken as Cap’n Andy Hawks and Rebecca Baxter as Magnolia in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of “Show Boat.” It was featured on PBS’ “Great Performances” series..

He noted that a live performance by the Paper Mill Playhouse was videotaped for television and shown on Great Performances on PBS  contains more of the songs (and fewer cuts) than any of the film versions. It also restored not only the original book of the 1927 Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein but other songs and dance numbers thrown away over the years, he said.

Continue reading Reel 13 host Peña credits Paper Mill’s ‘Show Boat’ with verisimilitude

‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at Paper Mill Playhouse shakes up the house

Let’s just cut to the chase.  Nat Zegree practically steals the show at Paper Mill Playhouse playing the brash — let’s make that audacious — Jerry Lee Lewis  in “Million Dollar Quartet.” He ought to know what he’s doing by now as it’s the fifth time he’s played that part in the many productions of this jukebox musical about an unplanned event some say is a seminal moment in rock ‘n’ roll history.

The 2 1/2 musical features more than 20 classic hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Memories Are Made of This,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Hound Dog,” “(Ghost Riders in the Sky” and  “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

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Paper Mill Playhouse reveals next season has 2 world premiere musicals

Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2017-18 season, which includes two potential Broadway transfers.
Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2017-18 season,  including two potential Broadway transfers.

Give a playhouse the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2016 and watch it turn its 2017-2018 season into one featuring two world premieres — which have all the earmarks of potential Broadway transfers — and two East Coast premieres.

Announced today, the season includes: the world-premiere musical “The Honeymooners” (Sept. 28-Oct. 29), ” Annie” (Nov. 22-Dec. 31),  East Coast premiere of “The Outsider” (Jan. 24-Feb. 18), the world premiere of “The Sting” (March 29-April 29) in a new musical stage adaptation,  and the East Coast premiere of the comedy “Half Time” (May 31-July 1). Continue reading Paper Mill Playhouse reveals next season has 2 world premiere musicals

‘Producers’ at Paper Mill great start to new season

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Paper Mill Playhouse has launched its 2016-17 season with “The Producers” and will follow it with the U.S. premiere of “The Bodyguard.”

First, a hit Broadway musical winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and ran for six years. (“Hamilton” had the most Tony Award nominations-16.)

Second, a musical based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 movie that first was staged in London (2012-14), launches its national tour in Millburn (Nov. 25 to Jan. 1) starring Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer Deborah Cox and, one assumes, eventually will make its way to Broadway.

What a great way for the 77-year-old theater — the recipient of the 2016  Regional Theatre Tony Award — to start the season.

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‘The Producers’ opens next week at Paper Mill

Paper Mill Playhouse starts its season next week with “The Producers” (Sept. 28, opening night Oct. 2). If you missed the original that ran for 2,502 Broadway performances, got a record 12  Tony Awards nominations, and became a 2005 film … don’t let that stop you seeing it again at this theater that keeps sending shows to Broadway. (Look for “A Bronx Tale” at the Longacre Theatre in November.)

“It’s a thrill to revisit this hilarious show as a director, having played the part of Leo on tour and on Broadway,” commented director Don Stephenson. “To build ‘The Producers’ at Paper Mill Playhouse is ideal. The facilities and the support that artists receive make for an enjoyable and seamless creative process.”

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Paper Mill’s production of ‘West Side Story’ is sheer perfection on stage

The only thing wrong with “West Side Story” at Paper Mill Playhouse is that it ends on June 26. It’s the first time its been done here in 25 years so grab it while you can.

Helmed by Producing Artistic Director Mark Hoebee, the timing couldn’t be better for the theater (just finishing its 78 season) that recently was awarded the Regional Theatre Tony award. It also sent both “Newsies” and “Honeymoon in Vegas” to Broadway and will host the American premiere of “Bodyguard” next season. It’s firing on all cylinders with no end in sight.

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Paper Mill Playhouse selling ‘West Side Story’ like there’s no tomorrow

“West Side Story,” now in previews at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, opens on Sunday and even before the reviews are in, it is almost sold out, according to its website.

And why not? It’s a professional production at a theater that not only will receive the 2016 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre on June 12, it has produced five world premieres in the past five years — two this season alone.

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Paper Mill Playhouse wins the 2016 Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre

Image of the marquee for "Honeymoon in Vegas" played the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, before moving to Broadway.
“Honeymoon in Vegas” was one of the musicals it recently sent to Broadway.

Paper Mill Playhouse, which in the past few years has sent several shows to Broadway including “A Bronx Tale” and “The Bandstand”planned for next season, has won the 2016 Best Regional Theatre Tony Award , it was announced today.

The award will be presented at the 2016 Tony Awards on Sunday, June 12th. They are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

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