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Paper Mill Playhouse is a regional theater with approximately 1200 seats, located in Millburn, New Jersey. Due to its relatively close location to Manhattan, it draws from the pool of actors (and audience members) who live in New York City. Paper Mill was officially designated as the "State Theater of New Jersey".[2] From 1971 to 2008, Paper Mill held the New Jersey Ballet as its resident ballet company, with the annual production of Nutcracker until the premiere 25th Anniversary tour of Les Misérables took up the ballet's performance slot.[3] Mark S. Hoebee serves as the Artistic Director and Todd Schmidt serves as the Managing Director. In 2016, the playhouse received the Regional Theatre Tony Award.[4]

Paper Mill Playhouse
Paper Mill Playhouse entrance.jpg
Entrance to the Paper Mill Playhouse.
Address22 Brookside Drive
Millburn, New Jersey
United States
Coordinates40°43′40″N 74°18′33″W / 40.72778°N 74.30917°W / 40.72778; -74.30917Coordinates: 40°43′40″N 74°18′33″W / 40.72778°N 74.30917°W / 40.72778; -74.30917
OperatorMark S. Hoebee
TypeRegional theater
Years active77




In March 1795, Sam Campbell built The Thistle Paper Mill[5] on land along a brook in the town of Millville, later renamed Millburn. Campbell ran his business for about 20 years until he was forced to close down due to a fire. The building remained vacant for several years and ownership changed several times. In the late 1870s, Diamond Mill Paper Company took over the property and used it for their paper making business until 1928.[6]

Writer and performer Antoinette Scudder, along with actor and director Frank Carrington formed a partnership in the late 1920s to create their own theater. The eventually found the vacant mill, and spent many years working on it, turning it into a theater.[7]

Another fire in 1980 changed the course of the theater, and it closed for rebuilding.[8] On October 30, 1982, the Paper Mill reopened for their first theatrical production since the fire.[9] This period of time became the focal point of a lawsuit between the theater and Millburn on whether or not they would be exempt from property taxes during the time the property was not in use.[10]


Founded in 1934, Paper Mill Playhouse raised the curtain on its first performance[1] with Gregorio Martinez Sierra’s The Kingdom of God on November 14, 1938. By the end of the first year, Carrington had coaxed entertainer Irene Castle out of retirement to make her dramatic debut in Noël Coward’s Shadow Play. The first few years featured a variety of classical and modern plays. By 1941, the Playhouse had begun to specialize in operettas, which it continued until the early 1950s.

Change marked this period in Paper Mill’s history, especially with Miss Scudder’s death in 1958.[clarification needed] Angelo Del Rossi joined as Associate Producer in 1964, working closely with Carrington until his death in 1975.[11] Del Rossi became Executive Producer and remained in that role for nearly 40 years until their death in August 2014.[12]

In 1971, the New Jersey Ballet staged its first production of The Nutcracker at Paper Mill with world-renowned dancer Edward Villella in the role of the Cavalier. The Nutcracker production has been produced annually at Paper Mill since then.[13]

In 1972, Governor of New Jersey William Cahill proclaimed Paper Mill the "Official State Theater of New Jersey."[1] The theater has been cited as a State Center of Artistic Excellence and as a Major Impact and Distinguished Arts Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.[1]

Through the years, Paper Mill Playhouse has welcomed such talent as Christopher Patterson, Gloria Stuart, Alice Ripley, Eddie Bracken, Laura Benanti (Rising Star Award winner), Orson Bean, Betty Buckley, Carol Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Christine Ebersole, George S. Irving, Laurence Guittard, Anne Hathaway (Paper Mill Conservatory alumna and Rising Star Award nominee), Shanice Williams (Paper Mill Conservatory alumna, Rising Star Award nominee, and Adopt-A-School participant), Dee Hoty, John Mahoney, Dorothy Louden, Donna McKechnie, Ann Miller, Stephanie Mills, Liza Minnelli, Estelle Parsons, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Tony Roberts, Patrick Swayze, Karen Ziemba, Adrian Zmed, Nick Jonas (actor, singer and former member of the band the Jonas Brothers), Bailey Hanks (the winner of Legally Blonde: The Musical – The Search for Elle Woods), Lynn Redgrave, Lorna Luft, and David Garrison.[citation needed]

In April 2003, Michael Gennaro, former Executive Director of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater, joined Paper Mill as President and CEO.[14] Paper Mill Playhouse was one of the first theaters to begin the regional theater movement in the United States. It has grown to be one of the most acclaimed not-for-profit professional theaters in the country, and attracts more than 450,000 people annually, and has one of the largest subscription based audiences.[1]

Financial issuesEdit

On April 3, 2007, Paper Mill announced that it would need $1.5 million to open its season and an equal amount to complete its season, or it would be forced to close its doors.[15] On April 6, 2007, Paper Mill announced that it had received $300,000, enough to cover costs of rehearsals and preview performances for its production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.[16]

Paper Mill announced that it would have to do more well-known shows to stay in business.[citation needed] On June 17, 2008, the Township of Millburn voted to purchase building and four acres of land the Paper Mill sits on for $9 million.[17] They have entered into a 75-year lease with the theater; and its operations will remain independent.[18] Prior to this deal the Paper Mill had accumulated $4.5 million in debt.[19] Based on the terms of the lease, the Paper Mill would pay $1 for the first two years. After 2 years the rent would grow to equal 1% of the theater's annual operation income.[20] The Paper Mill maintained an option to repurchase the property from the town after 11 years of the lease.[21] The Artistic Director at the time, Mark S. Hoebee, is attributed with saving the Paper Mill.


World premiere US premiere East coast premiere
Season Show 1 Show 2 Show 3 Show 4 Show 5 Show 6 Show 7 Ref
1992–1993 The Wizard of Oz Sweeney Todd My Fair Lady Phantom
1993–1994 Paper Moon Animal Crackers South Pacific Singin' in the Rain Peter Pan
1994–1995 Forever Plaid Oliver! Brigadoon The Secret Garden
1995–1996 Nine Dreamgirls You Never Know Comfortable Shoes Call Me Madam Evita
1996–1997 Applause Gigi No, No Nanette Man of La Mancha
1997–1998 Big River Children of Eden The Mask of Moriarty Death of a Salesman Follies The Will Rogers Follies [22]
1998–1999 Gypsy Jekyll & Hyde Up, Up, and Away Wuthering Heights Crazy for You Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat [22]
1999–2000 Mame Rags Noises Off Deathtrap The Student Prince Pippin [22]
2000–2001 Anything Goes Victor/Victoria Art An Ideal Husband Funny Girl Carousel [22]
2001–2002 A Chorus Line Red, Hot and Blue The Dinner Party I'm Not Rappaport The King and I My Fair Lady [1][23]
2002–2003 Miss Saigon Annie Blue Romeo and Bernadette Camelot Grease [22]
2003–2004 Ain't Misbehavin' The Sound of Music The Tale of the Allergist's Wife The Chosen Baby Guys and Dolls Of Thee I Sing [22]
2004–2005 The Shop Around the Corner The Drawer Boy Harold and Maude The Baker's Wife Ragtime [22]
2005–2006 Cinderella The Diary of Anne Frank Carnival! A Midsummer Night's Dream Hello Dolly! [24]
2006–2007 Godspell A Wonderful Life Summer and Smoke Romance/Romance Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Pirates! [22]
2007–2008 Happy Days: The Musical Meet Me In St. Louis The Miracle Worker Steel Magnolias Kiss Me, Kate Little Shop of Horrors [25]
2008–2009 Oklahoma! Disney's High School Musical The Importance of Being Earnest Master Class 1776 The Full Monty [26]
2009–2010 Little House on the Prairie On The Town Lost In Yonkers Smokey Joe's Cafe Peter Pan [27]
2010–2011 Hairspray Les Misérables The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Curtains [28]
2011–2012 Newsies White Christmas Boeing-Boeing Damn Yankees Once on This Island [29]
2012–2013 A Chorus Line The Sound of Music Lend Me a Tenor Thoroughly Modern Millie The Little Mermaid [30]
2013–2014 Honeymoon in Vegas Oliver! The Other Josh Cohen South Pacific Grease [31]
2014–2015 Can-Can Elf: The Musical Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike The Hunchback of Notre Dame Ever After [32]
2015–2016 The Bandstand A Christmas Story: The Musical A Bronx Tale Pump Boys and Dinettes West Side Story [33]
2016–2017 The Producers The Bodyguard A Comedy of Tenors Million Dollar Quartet Mary Poppins [34]
2017–2018 The Honeymooners Annie The Outsider The Sting Half Time [35]
2018–2019 The Color Purple Holiday Inn My Very Own British Invasion Benny & Joon Beauty and the Beast [36]
2019–2020 Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz Cinderella Unmasked Sister Act The Wanderer [37]


Paper Mill is a member of the Council of Stock Theatres (COST), a group of theaters who join together to negotiate with the various unions that are involved in stage productions. COST's contract with Actors' Equity allows for a minimum weekly salary which is smaller than what Broadway productions must pay their actors; Paper Mill is also allowed to cast a minimal amount of non-union actors, which is forbidden for Broadway shows. This gives Paper Mill the ability to produce shows on a larger scale than most Broadway productions (and in a shorter amount of time).[38]

Educational programsEdit

Paper Mill also has a large theater school providing classes for all ages, with various programs tailored especially for children, teenagers, adults, and seniors. Some children's and teens' classes are by audition only, though a great many are open to anyone of any skill level; classes for adults and seniors do not require auditions. Paper Mill Playhouse also runs more intensive summer training programs for young performers ages 10 and up.

In addition, the Paper Mill holds annual Rising Star Awards (modeled after the Tony Awards) every spring, honoring excellence in high school theater performances across the state of New Jersey. Students who are nominated in lead and supporting acting categories receive scholarships to Paper Mill's Summer Musical Theater Conservatory and may perform in their annual finale concert.

Rising Star Award RecipientsEdit

The 2016 Rising Star Awards were held on June 7, 2016 in the Paper Mill Playhouse theater. The awards show was broadcast and streamed live on HomeTowne Television. The 2016 recipients include:

  • Overall Outstanding Production - Summit High School - "Mary Poppins"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role - Claire Fitzpatrick as "Mary Poppins" - Summit High School - "Mary Poppins"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role - Trevor Braun as "Charlie Chaplin" - Fair Lawn High School - "Chaplin: The Musical"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role - Jazmin Palmer as "Fraulein Schneider" - Pingry School - "Cabaret"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role - Ross Turkington as "Cookie McGee" - Montclair Kimberly Academy - "Nice Work If You Can Get It"
  • Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role - Eric Judson as "Paul" - West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South - "A Chorus Line"
  • Outstanding Featured Ensemble Member - Greg Lobo as "Big Jule" - Bernards High School - "Guys and Dolls"
  • Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group - "The Silly Girls" - Columbia High School - "Disney's Beauty and the Beast"
  • Outstanding Chorus - Academy of the Holy Angels - "Children of Eden"
  • Outstanding Direction - Katie McSherry - Academy of the Holy Angels - "Children of Eden"
  • Outstanding Choreography/Musical Staging - Jennifer Williams - Union High School - "Mary Poppins"
  • Outstanding Music Direction - George Croom - Academy of the Holy Angels - "Children of Eden"
  • Outstanding Orchestra - West Morris Central High School - "In the Heights"
  • Outstanding Costuming Achievement - Katherine Winter - Summit High School - "Mary Poppins"
  • Educational Impact Award - St. Joseph Regional High School - "Urinetown"
2015 Rising Star Awards

The 2015 Rising Star Awards were held on June 2, 2015 in the Paper Mill Playhouse theater. The awards show was broadcast & live streamed live on HomeTowne Television. The 2015 recipients include:

  • Overall Outstanding Production - Union High School - "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role - Adina Triolo as "Princess Winnifred" - Princeton Day School - "Once Upon a Mattress"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role - Nick Berninger as "Chris" - St. Joseph Regional High School - "Miss Saigon"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role - Paulina Hill as "Lady of the Lake" - Midland Park Junior/Senior High School - "Spamalot"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role - Sean McManus as "Tobias Ragg" - Summit High School - "Sweeney Todd: School Edition"
  • Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role - Kristian Adap - Union High School - "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group - "The Sophisticated Gentlemen" - Union High School - "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Outstanding Chorus - Westfield High School - "Urinetown"
  • Outstanding Direction - Tricia Benn, Bethany Pettigrew - Columbia High School - "Ragtime: School Edition"; James Mosser - Union High School - "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Outstanding Choreography/Musical Staging - Jennifer Williams, James Mosser - Union High School - "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Outstanding Music Direction - James Mosser, Laura Muller - Union High School - "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Outstanding Orchestra - Union High School - "Sophisticated Ladies"
  • Outstanding Costuming Achievement - Paul H. Canada - Gill St. Bernard's School - "Once Upon A Mattress"
2014 Rising Star Awards

The 2014 Rising Star Awards were held on June 3, 2014 in the Paper Mill Playhouse theatre.

2014 Recipients include:

  • Overall Outstanding Production - Princeton Day School - "Urinetown"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role - Emma Magbanua as "Kim" - Union High School - "Miss Saigon: School Edition"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role - Keenan Buckley as "Julian Marsh" - Summit High School - "42nd Street"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role - Jessica Toltzis as "Penelope Pennywise" - Princeton Day School - "Urinetown"'
  • Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role - Jacob De Stefano as "Frau Blucher" - Midland Park Junior/Senior High School - "Young Frankenstein"'
  • Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role - Christopher Centinaro as "Bud Frump" - Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School - "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"'
  • Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group - "The Church Ladies" - Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts - "The Color Purple"'
  • Outstanding Chorus - Princeton Day School - "Urinetown"'
  • Outstanding Direction - Alex Perez - High Tech High School - "Spring Awakening"'
  • Outstanding Choreography/Musical Staging - Kelly Motts-Sacks - Summit High School - "42nd Street"'
  • Outstanding Music Direction - Andrew Schmidt - Princeton Day School - "Urinetown"'
  • Outstanding Orchestra - Summit High School - "42nd Street"'
2013 Rising Star Awards

The 2013 Rising Star Awards were held on June 4, 2013 in the Paper Mill Playhouse theatre and included special appearances by people such as Jesse Eisenberg and Morgan Kirner (recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role Rising Star Award).

2013 Recipients include:

  • Overall Outstanding Production - Summit High School - "Disney's Beauty and the Beast"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role - Jana Bernard as "Marmee March" - Gill St. Bernard's School - "Little Women"
  • Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role - Matthew Lynn as "Bat Boy" - Westfield High School - "Bat Boy: The Musical"
  • Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role - Kaitlin Leddy as "Rita LaPorta" - Red Bank Catholic High School - "Lucky Stiff"'
  • Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role - Nicholas Wainwright as "Herr Schultz" - Ocean County Performing Arts Academy - "Cabaret"'
  • Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role - Sadesia Wray as "Demeter" - Union High School - "Cats"'
  • Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group - "The Silly Girls" - Summit High School - "Disney's Beauty and the Beast"'
  • Outstanding Chorus - Union High School - "Cats"'
  • Outstanding Direction - Anne Poyner - Summit High School - "Disney's Beauty and the Beast"'
  • Outstanding Choreography/Musical Staging - James Mosser and Jennifer Williams - Union High School - "Cats"'
  • Outstanding Music Direction - Wayne Mallette and Steve Rapp - Summit High School - "Disney's Beauty and the Beast"'
  • Outstanding Orchestra - Union High School - "Cats"'


  2. ^ Crazy for You: Behind the Scenes, accessed September 3, 2006
  3. ^ NJ Ballet 50th Anniversary 2008-2009
  4. ^ "The 2016 Tony Awards: Winners". Retrieved 2016-06-14.
  5. ^ Our History
  6. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse, Short Hills, New Jersey
  7. ^ Millburn looks back: Paper Mill beginnings
  9. ^ Tax Court of New Jersey.
  11. ^ Angelo Del Rossi, Longtime Public Face of Paper Mill Playhouse, Dies Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse to Host Memorial for Angelo Del Rossi, Director Who Helmed Paper Mill for 40 Years
  13. ^ About New Jersey Ballet, New Jersey Ballet - accessed May 14, 2009
  14. ^ THE ARTS; At the Paper Mill, On to the Next Act
  15. ^ Financial crisis may force Paper Mill Playhouse to go dark Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, Home News Tribune by Laurie Granieri, April 3, 2007.
  16. ^ Final curtain postponed at Paper Mill Playhouse, The Record (Bergen County) by Jim Beckerman, April 7, 2007
  17. ^ Township of Millburn Purchases Paper Mill Playhouse
  18. ^ Millburn votes to bail out ailing Paper Mill Playhouse
  19. ^ City to pay $9 million for buildings, land
  20. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse Is Bought by Town
  21. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse Officially Purchased by Township of Millburn
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h All Productions for Paper Mill Playhouse
  23. ^ The Dinner Party
  24. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2005-2006 Season Archived 2015-03-01 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse unveils season
  26. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2008-09 Season
  27. ^ Paper Mill unveils 2009-10 season
  28. ^ Probst, Andy.Hairspray, Les Miserables, and More Set for Paper Mill Playhouse's All-Musical 2010-2011 Season, February 19, 2010
  29. ^ Disney musical set to open Paper Mill's 2011-12 season
  30. ^ Tickets are on sale for 2012-13 season at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn
  31. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse announces line-up for its 75th anniversary season
  32. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse Unveils 2014-15 Season with Broadway Bound CAN-CAN, US Premiere of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, EVER AFTER & More
  33. ^ Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2015-16 season -- with Robert De Niro
  34. ^ The Bodyguard to Launch US Tour During Paper Mill Playhouse's 2016-17 Season
  35. ^ The Paper Mill just announced its most ambitious line-up in history
  36. ^ "Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2018-19 Season". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  37. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber Revue Unmasked, Judy Garland Musical & More Set for 2019-2020 at Paper Mill". Retrieved 2019-04-15.
  38. ^ New Two-Year COST Agreement Ratified

External linksEdit

  Media related to Paper Mill Playhouse at Wikimedia Commons