Speaking out against LGBTQ bullying #SpiritDay

stand up to bullying

Paper Mill Playhouse and the company of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz support “Spirit Day 2019” in the attached image.  This year’s Spirit Day (Thursday, October 17) is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to “go purple” on Spirit Day is a way for everyone to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.  Feel to use this image on your websites, social media and broadcast. Photo by Emma Rhyner.

Paper Mill Playhouse, recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, presents the New Jersey premiere of Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz with a book by Marc Acito, musical adaptation & additional music by David Libby and conceived by and additional lyrics by Tina Marie Casamento. Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz  will run through Sunday, October 27, 2019, at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ). Directed and choreographed by Tony award nominee Denis Jones, Orchestrations by Larry Blank and David Libby with music direction by Lawrence Yurman, the principal cast features Ruby Rakos (Billy Elliot) as Judy Garland/Frances Gumm, Tony Award nominee Max Von Essen (An American in Paris, Paper Mill’s The Baker’s Wife) as Frank Gumm, Olivier Award-winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea) as Ethel Gumm, Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!, And the World Goes ‘Round) as Ma Lawlor/Kay Koverman, Stephen DeRosa (Into the Woods, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) as Louis B. Mayer, Michael Wartella (Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryTuck Everlasting) as Mickey Rooney, and Colin Hanlon (ABC’s Modern Family, Paper Mill’s Benny & Joon) as Roger Edens.

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“Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz” at Paper Mill Playhouse

papermill playhouse

We just saw the new play,”Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz”, at Paper Mill Playhouse. Continuing until October 27, this world premiere focuses on the early life of Francis Gumm, who became Judy Garland. Best known for her breakout performance as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, her life and family are brought to life in a musical.

Honestly, I thought it was a bit….well, lets say “light hearted” in it’s presentation. Her mother, well documented as a nightmare stage parent, was portrayed as a little rough but doting. Her father, whom she adored, was also a bit much. His homosexuality was really hammered on, with long, dramatic songs, and quite a few scenes that a fellow theater-goer described as “over the top and self indulgent”- to which I agree. Over indulgent and almost mocking, so light hearted (and even joking) was made of her theater experiences with her mother and different people in the business, such as directors, owner, and other cast members. She had such a rough go in reality, and to present it in this way really seemed to belittle her life and to mock her life and experiences. It seemed very unfair to her, in my opinion. Abuse should not be downplayed as bumbling or nonsensical, her body shaming and resulting dysmorphia and eating disorders barely touched upon and again, very light, drug abuse (which killed her) pushed upon her and encouraged by those that should have been there for her, never mentioned.

NJ theater

The songs were odd and disjointed, nothing really played all the way through or presented in any sort of logical way, with the exception of “All Ma’s Children”, which was both fun and lively, as well as made sense in it’s placement (and was the entire song in one go). In my opinion, it was the best part of the show. Some songs, such as “You Made Me Love You” were done over and over, in bits and pieces, some of which were weird- such as between Judy and her father. Love songs between parent and child, not great.  The music was all over the place and jumbled, we really would have loved some consistency. As well, some more upbeat numbers to fill the 3 hour show.
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PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE 2019-2020 WEEKEND CHILDREN’S THEATER SERIES

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE 2019-2020 WEEKEND CHILDREN’S THEATER SERIES

A MORE PERFECT UNION

Sat., October 26, 2019 at 10:00 am

Pushcart Players

Ages 5 & up

The story of “A More Perfect Union” begins in Boston, 1773 and ends at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, 1787. The play covers the critical and tempestuous time in our nation’s history in which revolution, war, and a failed attempt at self-governing finally led to the writing of the U.S. Constitution and the birth of our country as we know it today.

           

LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD EARNS HER WHISTLE

Sat., November 30, 2019 at 10:00 am

ArtsPower National Touring Theatre

Ages 4 & up

Little Blue Engine dreams of someday leaving the train yard to pull the big cars on the main line track. But can she convince Big Silver that she is worthy of being a main line engine? ArtsPower’s dynamic, song-filled adventure portrays Watty Piper’s timeless tale about hard work, determination, and loyalty.

 

THE MONSTER WHO ATE MY PEAS

Sun., December 01, 2019 at 10:00 am

ArtsPower National Touring Theatre

Ages 4 & up

The funny and poignant story of a young boy who doesn’t want to eat his peas. When a crafty monster appears underneath his kitchen table, the boy is ready to make a deal with the monster. But, when the monster raises the stakes, will the boy refuse the monster and make the difficult decision to face his own fears? Children and adults alike will be entertained and engaged by this wonderfully written tale about the value of will power.

DOG MAN: THE MUSICAL

Sat., December 07, 2019 at 10:00 am

TheaterWorksUSA

Ages 6 & up

Dog Man: The Musical is a hilarious new production based on the worldwide bestselling series from Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants. Best buds George and Harold have been creating comics for years, but now that they’re in 5th grade, they figure it’s time to level up and write a musical based on their favorite character, Dog Man, the crime-biting sensation who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO!!

AUTISM FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE

Sun., December 08, 2019 at 10:00 am

TheaterWorksUSA

Ages 6 & up

Dog Man: The Musical is a hilarious new production based on the worldwide bestselling series from Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants. Best buds George and Harold have been creating comics for years, but now that they’re in 5th grade, they figure it’s time to level up and write a musical based on their favorite character, Dog Man, the crime-biting sensation who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO!!             

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Tickets for the New Season at Millburn’s Paper Mill Playhouse On Sale Monday, August 19

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stotts-Managing Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, is proud to announce that tickets for individual shows for the 2019-2020 season will be available to the public on Monday, August 19, 2019. Season subscriptions are on sale now and subscribers can already purchase additional show tickets.  Tickets and subscriptions may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, or at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.papermill.org.  With three premieres and a total of five musicals, Paper Mill continues to fulfill its mission to enrich, entertain, and inspire audiences and students as the nation’s premier musical theater. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2019-2020 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank. Paper Mill Playhouse education and outreach programs are proudly sponsored by The Goren Family & the Harmony Helper app.

Paper Mill Playhouse will open its 2019-2020 season with a highly anticipated new musical about one of the world’s most beloved entertainment icons. Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz (September 26-October 27)  is the story of how five-year-old Frances Gumm became Judy Garland, chronicling her early career from vaudeville to her rise at MGM, where she wins the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Next, a dash of fairytale romance, magical onstage transformations, and of course, glass slippers in this family musical just in time for the holidays, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (November 20-December 29). This enchanting, Tony-nominated Broadway adaptation of the beloved musical will put a spell on audiences of all ages. Next winter, Paper Mill Playhouse presents the world-premiere musical Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (January 30-March 1), about the remarkable life and celebrated work of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Unmasked will feature new material and rediscovered gems, along with the history of their creation intertwined with Andrew’s extraordinary personal story. In the spring, Paper Mill Playhouse welcomes back our good friend and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken with his Tony-nominated musical Sister Act (April 1-April 26). Based on the 1992 hit film, this feel-good musical follows Deloris Van Cartier as she goes into hiding in a convent—where she clashes, hilariously, with cloistered life. Deloris inspires the sisters with her soulful style, but the church choir’s newfound fame attracts some unwanted attention. Paper Mill Playhouse closes its 81stseason with the world-premiere musical The Wanderer  (May 28-June 28), the story of  Dion DiMucci and how he skyrocketed to fame as a teenage heartthrob in the 1950s and early ’60s with hits like “Runaround Sue,” “Teenager in Love,” and “I Wonder Why.” Now, his extraordinary journey comes to the stage in a moving and intimate new musical.

“Paper Mill Playhouse is thrilled to produce two world premieres and a New Jersey premiere as part of our all-musical lineup,” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director of the Millburn theater. “Producing new works is central to our vision of becoming recognized as one of the most important incubators of new musical projects. We’re opening our doors to collaborate with and host the top talents of musical theater, both established artists like Andrew Lloyd Webber and up-and-coming playwrights and composers.

“Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2019-2020 season is one of the most exciting lineups in our theater’s history,” said Managing Director Michael Stotts, “and that’s thanks in large part to the support of our loyal subscribers, who take this journey with us every year. We hope even more people will join us next season and enjoy such benefits as access to the best seats in the house, at the best prices, before we sell out. With the support of our subscribers and donors, Paper Mill Playhouse can continue to be a leader in creating and producing world class musical theater.”

“Paper Mill Playhouse delivers high-quality, engaging performances to broad audiences. By making good theater accessible, Paper Mill enriches our local communities,” said Investors Bank Chairman and CEO Kevin Cummings. “But most importantly, it provides unique educational opportunities to more than 40,000 students each year and continues to offer invaluable experiences that would not otherwise be available to them.  Arts education is key to the development of our children and young adults.”

Paper Mill Playhouse will produce eight performances a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Three, four and five-show subscription packages are available now starting at just $111. Each subscription package includes a different level of special benefits (see www.PaperMill.org for details). Youth subscriptions are available for children ages 4-18 with the purchase of an adult subscription with accessible discount pricing. Single tickets will go on sale on August 19 starting at just $35. Tickets and subscriptions may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, or at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.PaperMill.org.  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. Titles, casting and dates subject to change.

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Paper Mill’s “Half Time” Announces Cast Recording and Pre Order

FEATURING PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE’S STAR-STUDDED LINEUP OF BROADWAY LEGENDS INCLUDING NEW TONY AWARD WINNER ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS, TONY AWARD WINNERS LILLIAS WHITE & DONNA MCKECHNIE PLUS A FINAL PERFORMANCE FROM THE LATE GEORGIA ENGEL.

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stotts- Managing Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, along with Sony Masterworks Broadway announces the July 19th release of HALF TIME (ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING), with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Nell Benjamin and additional music by Marvin Hamlisch and Ester Dean.  Available for preorder now, the album features music from the Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin-written musical, which made its 2018 debut at Paper Mill Playhouse and tells the uplifting true story of ten New Jersey seniors with extraordinary dreams.

The Half-Time (Original Cast Recording) features some of the last songs written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away during the show’s early gestation.  The album also features a who’s who of Broadway talent, including five-time Emmy Award-nominated actress Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Everybody Loves Raymond), Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White (The Life, Sesame Street), Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Donna McKechnie (A Chorus Line) and Emmy Award winner André De Sheilds (The Wiz), who most recently won a Tony for his role in Hadestown.  The Original Cast Recording is dedicated to the memory of Georgia Engel.

Based on the motion picture Gotta Dance, directed, written and produced by Dori Bernstein, Half Time tells the incredible true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major basketball team., inspired by the true story of the Brooklyn Nets NETSational dance team. They have three things in common: they love to dance, they have something to prove, and they are all over 60. Only after making the cut do they learn they won’t be dancing tap, salsa or swing—instead, they will bring down the house with a style that is entirely new to them: hip-hop. Take the uplifting journey with these dreamers—and the young coaches who inspire them along the way—as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Together they remind us that in life, when the odds are stacked against you and the challenges seem too great to overcome, it’s not the end of the game—it’s Half Time.

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NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY Announce Guest Artist Line-Up for the Year of the Pig Celebration at NJPAC #Theater

NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY
Announce Guest Artist Line-Up
for the Year of the Pig
Celebration at NJPAC
Sat February 2 and Sun February 3, 2019 at 2pm

NJ dance

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will celebrate the end of the Chinese Zodiac cycle with a special program steeped in symbolism and virtue, expressing the Company’s commitment to the art and the culture of the community. For the occasion, the company has invited several world-renowned artists to join its program.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company announces a colorful and vibrant special Chinese New Year Celebration at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102, on Saturday and Sunday, February 2 and 3, 2019 at 2pm. Tickets are $17-35 and are available by phone at (888) GO-NJPAC or online at https://www.njpac.org/events/detail/year-of-the-pignai-ni-chen-dance-company.

This year, Nai-Ni Chen bring a new Bamboo themed production aimed to take audiences beyond cultural boundaries. Nai-Ni Chen chose bamboo as a theme to celebrate the Year of the Pig.

Why Bamboo? First, the Chinese phonetic sound for Bamboo is Zu, is similar to the sound for pig (Zu). Second, and perhaps more important, is because Bamboo is the most celebrated plant in Chinese culture. As far as 1000 years ago, during the Sung Dynasty (960-1269), noted for art and literature and philosophy, scholars have used bamboo as a symbol for the resiliency, humility, and honesty to inspire each other. The great poet and Literati, Su Dong Po said “I cannot live a day without bamboo”.

According to Nai-Ni Chen; in the current social and political climate, artists, like the scholar of the past generations, needs encourage their fellows and communities that moral character of humility, honesty and resiliency needs to be held at the highest no matter which way the wind blows. Art is what defines us as a society and civilization, and these traditional and contemporary dances she has created and choreographed, advocates for the cultural values and morality that she, as a female Chinese immigrant artist, brings to the United States. In this wonderful time of celebration of the end of the Zodiac cycle, she has prepared a festive and colorful experience that everyone can enjoy and yet carries the message of culture and value that we all share in common.

The Year of the Pig is expected to be a festival year of great abundance and prosperity. To celebrate the Year of the Pig, the Company has developed a rich and fantastic program that incorporates many positive aspects of Chinese and Chinese American immigrant culture in the program. Beside the remarkably acrobatic and beautiful dances, the Company has also invited special guest artists: Bamboo Flute master Tao Chen, Peking Opera artist Yun-Hong Jia, and paper cut master Hotien Cheng.

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Holiday Inn is now playing at NJ’s Papermill Playhouse

I’m excited to tell you, if you don’t already know, that “Holiday Inn” is now playing at NJ’s Papermill Playhouse in Millburn. A classic film that features quite a few all time favorite songs by the beloved Irving Berlin is now on stage, and it is a delight. I’ve loved this movie since I was a child, I’ve watched it many times, with my grandparents, now with my kids. I had been looking forward to seeing it since it came out on the season’s list, and it didn’t disappoint.

holiday inn

Papermill Playhouse always has fantastic shows. I love that we can go see such quality productions without having to go into the city or fight for parking, a night at Papermill Playhouse is always one of my favorites, and I look forward to them always.

Next up will be “My Very Own British Invasion”, “Benny and Joon”, and “Beauty and the Beast”. There are quite a few children’s shows that rotate as well, take a look. They are wonderful productions, we have seen quite a few with my little ones.

In this musical based on the beloved Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film, Jim Hardy leaves behind the hustle and bustle of showbiz for a quiet life on a Connecticut farm. Jim’s agrarian efforts are a flop, but things start looking up when he falls for a talented schoolteacher, and together they infuse their sleepy rural setting with some Broadway razzle-dazzle. Fresh from a Broadway run, this heartwarming, toe-tapping production features more than 20 classic songs from the Berlin catalog, including “Easter Parade,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Steppin’ Out with My Baby,” and “White Christmas.”
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Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn at the PaperMill Playhouse

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, presents Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, based on the film from Universal Pictures, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, and book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge.  Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn begins performances TOMORROW, Wednesday, November 21, 2018, and will continue through Sunday, December 30, 2018, at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ). Bank of America is the Major Sponsor of Irving Berlin’s Holiday. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2018-2019 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

holiday inn

Directed by Mr. Greenberg (The Baker’s Wife1776 – Paper Mill), and with choreography by Denis Jones (Mary Poppins – Paper Mill,Holiday Inn – Broadway, Tony nomination), music direction by Shawn Gough (Annie, Paper Mill), the principal cast features Paige Faure(Honeymoon in Vegas – Paper Mill) as Lila Dixon, Jordon Gelber (Avenue Q) as Danny, Ann Harada (Avenue Q) as Louise,  Jeff Kready(Thoroughly Modern Millie – Paper Millas Ted Hanover, Hayley Podschun (Peter Pan – Paper Mill) as Linda Mason, Nicholas Rodriguez(Tarzan) as Jim Hardy with Jian Harrell and Aidan Alberto alternating in the role of Charlie Winslow.

They are joined by Jordan Beall, Gene Biscontini, Colin Bradbury, Tricia DeSario, Taylor Fields, Kelly Gleason, Juliane Godfrey, Berklea GoingJoshua Israel, Julie Kavanagh, Mallory Nolting, Clifton Samuels, JT Teeling, Karl Skylar Urban, Amy Van Norstrand,Scarlett Walker, Travis Ward-Osborne, and John T. Wolfe.

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