Category Archives: Paper Mill Playhouse

Andrew lloyd Webber out, Alice Walker is in for Paper Mill’s season opener

Adrianna Hicks (Celie), N'Jameh Camara (Nettie) and the North American tour cast of "The Color Purple." (PHOTO: Matthew Murphy)
Adrianna Hicks (Celie), N’Jameh Camara (Nettie) and the North American tour cast of “The Color Purple.” (PHOTO: Matthew Murphy)

John Doyle’s production of “The Color Purple” will open the 2018-2019 Paper Mill Playhouse season, replacing Andrew lloyd Webber’s previously announced world premiere “Unmasked.”

“We received news last week from our producing partners in London that due to unforeseen scheduling issues, “Unmasked” can no longer be presented as part of our 2018-2019 Paper Mill Playhouse season,” said Mark S. Hoebee, producing artistic director,  in a prepared statement. “We look forward to presenting it in a future season.”

Scheduled to run from Sept. 26 to Oct. 21, the musical features a Grammy-winning score infused with jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, . It’s based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award-nominated feature film. Casting will be announced at a later date.  Continue reading Andrew lloyd Webber out, Alice Walker is in for Paper Mill’s season opener

Harry Connick Jr signs to perform, co-write ‘Sting’ musical at Paper Mill

Harry Connick Jr. (PHOTO: Music Theatre International)
Harry Connick Jr. (PHOTO: Music Theatre International)

Harry Connick Jr. will play Paul Newman in the world-premiere musical production of “The Sting” at the Paper Mill Playhouse (March 29-April 29). Once again, this Tony Award-winning theater is  serving as an out-of-town launch pad for Broadway.

Since the 2004-’05 season, Paper Mill has staged the world premiere of nine productions. Four moved to the Great White Way: NewsiesHoneymoon in VegasThe Bandstand and A Bronx Tale.  These two , “Harold and Maude” and “A Wonderful Life”   did not.

The Bodyguard (2016) made its U.S. premiere here and is on a list of Upcoming and Announced Broadway Shows compiled by Playbill.com and last updated Feb. 12,

Besides “The Sting” (March 29-April 29, 2018), the current season began with the world premiere of “The Honeymooners”  (Sept. 28–Oct. 29). Currently running through Sunday is the East Coast premieres of both the hysterical comedy “The Outsider” (Jan. 24-Feb. 18) and the musical “Half Time,” formerly called “Gotta Dance,” (May 31-July 1, 2018).  Continue reading Harry Connick Jr signs to perform, co-write ‘Sting’ musical at Paper Mill

Paper Mill Playhouse gets 8 NJ governors to agree

NJ Governors, past, present and future tell it like it is in new campaign ad: Chris Christie, Phil Murphy, Christie Todd Whitman, Jim McGreevey, Tom Kean, Jon Corzine, Don Difrancesco and Richard Codey

“The Outsider” is a timely comedy and send-up of modern American politics. In the midst of a political scandal, Ned Newley, the ultimate policy wonk, is unexpectedly thrust into the position of Governor.

A complete unknown, with no political instincts and a paralyzing fear of public speaking, Ned seems destined to fail. But his political consultants see things a little differently: Ned might be the worst candidate to ever run for office. Unless the public is looking for… the worst candidate to ever run for office! Continue reading Paper Mill Playhouse gets 8 NJ governors to agree

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.

 

‘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).

Continue reading ‘Honeymooners’ musical begins world premiere tonite at Paper Mill

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.”

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

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.

Continue reading ‘Producers’ at Paper Mill great start to new season

‘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.”

Continue reading ‘The Producers’ opens next week at Paper Mill