MILLBURN, NJ - Gracelynne Hao, of Bridgewater, was one of more than 100 selected to earn a spot in Paper Mill Playhouse’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory.

The members of the competitive conservatory in the senior, junior plus and junior companies are directed and choreographed by the playhouse’s professional artistic staff in an original concert called “New Voices of 2018: From Sea to Shining Sea!”, according to a release.

The concert, the release said, is a culmination of the five-week program.

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"I love the community and friendships we build at Paper Mill," Hao, 11, said. "I have been at Paper Mill for two years now, and it still gives me more every time as we learn important tips and lessons that will benefit us in the future."

Also appearing are winners and nominees of the 2018 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards, presented by the Investors Foundation, who won scholarships to attend.

Performances of the play will be held July 27 at 7:30 p.m. and July 28 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, online at, or by visiting the box office in Millburn.

“From the first day of class all the way until the final curtain comes down at ‘New Voices,’ we require our students to rise to the demands of this rigorous program,” Lisa Cooney, Paper Mill Playhouse Director of Education, said in the release. “We ask them to work harder than they ever have before as young performers. We strive to build an incredible ensemble company, while each student hones their own individual performances skills. Our faculty push the students to believe in themselves as professional artists.”

“We are thrilled when students make a name or themselves on Broadway or in Hollywood, but even if they don’t, the skills they learn and the discipline they develop will serve them in any field,” she added.

The conservatory is a program of rigorous study that allows students to enhance their individual performance potential while developing a broad base of theater experience and knowledge. According to the release, students participate in intensive classes, including musical theater performance, acting, dance and improvisation, while also attending guest workshops led by professional actors, directors and casting agents.

Hao said she enjoys that the students get to display their talents and what they take away from the conservatory in three shows.

And, Hao said, she hopes to continue performing.

"My goals for the future do include the desire to perform in shows and such, but I still do want to focus on the academic and other musical part of my life," she said. "Overall, as of now, I am still pushing and exploring my own boundaries."