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Ambitious Theatre At Paper Mill

By Gary Wien

originally published: 04/26/2017

Ambitious Theatre At Paper Mill

Long before Paper Mill Playhouse received the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the theatre was already recognized as a place where shows heading to Broadway could be found first.  The 2017-2018 season continues that trend in a big way with 2 World Premieres and 2 East Coast Premieres on the schedule.  While much of the buzz deals with Half Time, I’m excited to see what they do with The Honeymooners as a musical comedy.

The season contains World Premieres of The Honeymooners and The Sting (based on the classic movie).  The East Coast premieres include The Outsider and Half Time.  Fan favorite Annie comes to the theatre for the holidays.

The Honeymooners opens the season on September 28. As a late night tv junkie raised on WPIX 11, The classic show following the exploits of the Kramdens and the Nortons has been a favorite of insomniacs like me for generations.

The Honeymooners is a brand new musical comedy inspired by the classic television series.  Ralph Kramden and his buddy Ed Norton are back and still shooting for the moon in this world-premiere musical.  After shocking their wives by winning a high-profile jingle contest, they are catapulted out of Brooklyn and into the cutthroat world of Madison Avenue advertising, where they discover that their quest for the American Dream might cost them their friendship. Filled with big laughs and an infectious score, The Honeymooners is bound to be a hit.

“We are excited to launch Paper Mill Playhouse’s new season with the world premiere of The Honeymooners, said John Rando, the show’s Tony Award-winning director. “This new American musical comedy celebrates the universal story of two underdogs striving to achieve their dreams, and the compromises of their married lives.  I believe this hilarious and touching show will strongly resonate with Paper Mill audiences.”



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The Honeymooners features Book by Dusty Kay and Bill Nuss; Music by Stephen Weiner; Lyrics by Peter Mills; and is Choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.

Ambitious Theatre At Paper Mill

Based on legendary Oscar-winning film starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman, The Sting arrives at Paper Mill on March 29.

Taking place in Chicago circa 1936, The Sting brings the audience into a smoke-filled world of cons and capers, where nothing is what it seems and no one is who they appear to be.

The musical tells the tale of a pair of con men, small town grifter Johnny Hooker and big time hustler Henry Gondorff, who plot to bring down the city’s most corrupt racketeer. The Tony Award-winning creative team includes director John Rando (On The Town), choreographer Warren Carlyle (Hello Dolly!), bookwriter Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), and an original score by composer/lyricist team Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis (Urinetown). The Sting takes you back to an era where the blues reigns, the stakes are high, and the dice are always loaded.

“We are very excited to bring The Sting to Paper Mill; an American classic reinvented for the stage,” said the show’s Tony award-winning book writer Bob Martin. “It retains all of the wit and depression era charm of the original, the complex characters, the sophisticated story, the twists and surprises, and adds a sly self-awareness that keeps it relevant. The Sting is a rollicking musical comedy confidence game that we are eager to play with the Paper Mill audiences.”

Ambitious Theatre At Paper Mill

Buzz-wise, things don’t get much hotter than the buzz surrounding Half Time.  From the director/choreographer of Kinky Boots comes the incredible true story of ten ordinary seniors with extraordinary dreams who audition to dance at halftime for a major basketball team. 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, which opens at Paper Mill on May 31.

“I am thrilled our new musical Half Time will be a part of the very exciting 2017-2018 Paper Mill season,” stated Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell. “Half Time celebrates the singular power of music and dance to unleash big emotions and bring people together.  We can’t wait to share it with the amazing audiences at Paper Mill.”

Ambitious Theatre At Paper Mill

The Outsider makes its East Coast Premiere in January. At once a razor-sharp comedy and a sincere tribute to democracy, The Outsider by Paul Slade Smith is a timely and hilarious take on modern American politics. Ned Newley doesn’t even want to be governor. He is terrified of public speaking; his poll numbers are impressively bad. To his ever-supportive chief of staff, Ned seems destined to fail. But a political guru named Arthur Vance sees 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.

“With two of our recent productions currently playing on Broadway (A Bronx Tale and Bandstand), Paper Mill Playhouse has become one of the nation’s leading theater incubators, nurturing shows in multiple stages of development,” Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director. “This season we’re honored to collaborate with some of the finest creative talent in the industry including Tony Award winners Jerry Mitchell and John Rando.”

“Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2017-2018 season is one of the most exciting lineups in our theater’s history,” added Managing Director Todd Schmidt.





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Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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