Arts & Entertainment

Three Hundred Pack Hilton Short Hills Ballroom for Center Stage Celebration Gala to Support Paper Mill Playhouse

Todd Schmidt, John McEwen, and Mark Hoebee
Charles Pascarella and his wife
Lorna Luft is interviewed.
Governor Tom Kean
Kevin Cummings and his wife
Ken and Kristin Wenger
Peter Webster and his wife
Mayor Sandy Haimoff and her daughter
Millburn Committeeman Dan Baer and his wife
Chris Daggett and Deb Cooperman
John Nietzel and his wife.
Chris and Bea Daggett
Mitchell Beinhaker and his wife.
Don O'Dea and his wife

SHORT HILLS, NJ – Three hundred community and business leaders packed the Hilton Short Hills ballroom on Friday night for the Center Stage Celebration, the Paper Mill Playhouse’s annual fundraising gala.  Attendees included Governors Tom Kean and Brendan Byrne; CEO of Investors Bank Kevin Cummings, Chris Daggett, President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Ken Wenger of PNC, Sandy Haimoff, Mayor of Millburn, and Mitchell Beinhaker, President of the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Governor Tom Kean told, “The Paper Mill Playhouse is the greatest institution in our State.  Sixty years ago I saw my first play and it was at the Paper Mill.  Since then, I’ve had a lifelong love of the arts.  You always remember your first theater experience.  I was speaking with my daughter tonight, who now lives in Massachusetts, and she still remembers her first theater experience and it was at the Paper Mill.  She told me, ‘I love that place.’”  Kean continued, “Tonight is very important.  It helps keep alive the great shows and the wonderful work the Paper Mill does, and we’re all grateful for it.”

Shayne Miller, Director of Press and Public Relations for the Paper Mill Playhouse, told, “This is our 73rd season.  We’ve had a lot of successes this year.  To continue the great programs we offer, including a new program for students with disabilities, we need contributed support.  Donations from contributors are at least 20% of our annual budget and our annual budget is approximately $15M.  So contributions play a significant role for the Paper Mill and tonight is our biggest fundraising event of the year.”

Sign Up for E-News

Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director for the Paper Mill, added, “It’s the most important night of the year.  In addition to all of the successes of the theater, this gala is our biggest fundraiser to enable us to continue to do the great work the Paper Mill Playhouse does.”

Mayor of Millburn/Short Hills Sandy Haimoff attended the gala with her daughter.  She remarked, “I’m very happy to be here supporting the Paper Mill.  I’m very proud and we are fortunate to have the Paper Mill here in Millburn.”

Todd Schmidt, Managing Director of the Paper Mill, told, “We are very excited and appreciative of the large number of people who came out to support the Paper Mill tonight.  We are pleased to honor Charles Pascarella, a longtime supporter, and John McEwen, one of the best advocates for theater in New Jersey, and then we finish tonight’s festivities with Lorna Luff, Hollywood royalty.  This is a great function and we have a wonderful night ahead.”

The Antoinette Scudder Patron of the Arts Award was presented to Charles Pascarella.  Pascarella is the founding partner of the Pascarella Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors and is a longtime supporter of the Paper Mill Playhouse and a former Board member.

John McEwen and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance were awarded the Byrne/Kean Arts Advocate Award.  McEwen has served as the Executive Director of the Alliance since 2001, a service organization for the state’s 34 professional theaters.  His awards and achievements include, among others, the first Excellence in Accessibility Leadership Award from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Ann Klein Advocate Award from the Community Health Law Project.

McEwen told the attendees, “I had my first theater experience at the Paper Mill and it was my home for 15 years….This award is special for many reasons [including] that it is named for two of the state’s most vocal advocates for theater.”

Broadway star Lorna Luft, daughter of legendary entertainer Judy Garland, was honored with the Frank Carrington Excellence in the Awards Award.  Luft made her television debut at age 11 singing on her mother’s series The Judy Garland Show.  Since then, she has starred in roles in both television and film.  She recently joined Alan Cumming and Margaret Cho as part of the talented voice cast of Logo Network’s animated series Rick & Steve.

Luft told, “I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.  It is such an important time for theater.  Theaters are so fragile.  A gift like the Paper Mill should not be taken for granted.”  She continued, “I am just thrilled I’m able to be here tonight.  The time I spent doing White Christmas at the Paper Mill…when you’re away from family, I was welcomed into the Paper Mill family for the holidays so the Paper Mill will always be home to me.” 

Summarizing the feelings of the attendees at the gala, Luft concluded, “I love the Paper Mill Playhouse!”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

HOLD: Fellowship Helping Hands Receives Home Care Award

February 17, 2018

Fellowship Helping Hands, the home care agency operated by Fellowship Senior Living in Basking Ridge,  has received the 2018 Best of Home Care® – Provider of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse, announced Liz Fandel, vice president of Home Community Based Services at Fellowship Senior Living.

Fellowship Helping Hands is a New Jersey licensed home care service for older and ...

New Jersey Youth Symphony Announces Bring A Buddy Week March 4-8

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ—New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) invites young musicians in grades 3-11 to attend open rehearsals for Bring A Buddy Week, March 4-8 at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. Participating students will observe the first half of a rehearsal. Students can visit any ensemble based on their grade and experience level. Students who do not have a friend in an ensemble can still ...

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense Will Meet on Tues, Feb. 20, at LaGrande Park Building

FANWOOD, NJ -- Following the mass shooting in Florida this week, the Union County Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense will meet on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the LaGrande Park Building  in Fanwood.

"Every life cut short by gun violence -- that somehow becomes a statistic -- is tucked away in our hearts, never to be lost," wrote Patti ...

Register Now to Save! Berkeley Heights Community Pool at the YMCA Early Bird Registration until February 28

With summer just around the corner, it will be hard not to look out the window and dream of warmer days and cool, crystal clear pools that are ready for swimming and splashing. With the Berkeley Heights Community Pool at the YMCA early bird registration currently open, signing up sooner will save money and give you something to look forward to once the summer sun hits! Since 1964, the Berkeley ...

Colleen Mahr Is The Leader Our Party Needs

February 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

My name is Patti Murgo. I am Committeewoman in Linden’s Eighth Ward. I am a life-long  DEMOCRAT, a party activist, and a believer in what being a democrat stands for. Last week, I received a piece of literature from our municipal chairman, Nick Scutari, regarding his “plans” for the County Democratic Party if he is elected county chairman.


No One Is More Qualified and Capable to be Our Next Democratic Committee Chair Than Colleen Mahr

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a pillar of consistency in Union County for the last 20 years, having devoted her life to public service. There is no one more qualified and capable to lead us as our next Union County Democratic Committee Chair.

Colleen has mentored, coached and supported countless candidates running for office in Union County, all across our 21 ...

Mayor Colleen Mahr Is a Strong and Capable Leader

Dear Editor:

In  all the years I’ve known Mayor Colleen Mahr, I’ve found her to be a strong and capable leader, completely dedicated to the needs and success of every municipality in Union County.

 As  Vice Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee for the past five years, she's earned the right to take her seat at the head of the ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, February 17

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sat, February 17, 3:00 PM

Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook

Memorial Concert for Hank Rosenthal

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Sun, February 18

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Sun, February 18, 3:00 PM

Lawton C. Johnson Middle School , Summit

New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra Free ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, February 18, 7:00 PM

Villagers Theatre, Somerset

Hairspray Auditions

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, February 19

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...