Arts & Entertainment

Chatham Residents Among Region's Most Talented in Paper Mill's 2015 New Voices Production

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MILLBURN, NJ - Paper Mill Playhouse with Mark S. Hoebee as Producing Artistic Director and Todd Schmidt as Managing Director recently presented 122 of the of the region’s most talented young performing artists from Paper Mill Playhouse’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory in a fully produced, original concert on the Paper Mill mainstage titled New Voices of 2015: Hooray for Hollywood! 

Chatham residents Liam Driscoll, Alexa Rojek and Andrew Palmieri are three of the young performing artists.

This year’s New Voices concert is a tribute to the partnership between the Silver Screen and the Great White Way. Members of the competitive Conservatory who earned coveted spots in the Senior (ages 15-18), Junior Plus (ages 13-14), and Junior Companies (ages 10-12) are directed and choreographed by Paper Mill Playhouse’s professional artistic staff in this concert which is the culmination of the five-week program. Also appearing are numerous winners and nominees of the 2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards, who won scholarships to attend the Conservatory. 

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New Voices is an amazing opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow,” said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill’s Producing Artistic Director. “This fully produced, original concert features more than 120 incredible performers.  It is amazing to see these young performers grow into professional artists and grace our stage with an inspiring, heartfelt performance.”

The Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory is a program of rigorous study allowing students to enhance their individual performance potential while developing a broad base of theater experience and knowledge. 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.  The final weeks are devoted to rehearsals for the New Voices Concert, performed annually on the Paper Mill Playhouse stage. The Conservatory offers the unique opportunity for gifted and talented young performers to work at their own level and challenge themselves to achieve new goals and learn new skills. Key to the curriculum is the development of self-discipline, respect, and a commitment to excellence that will serve these young artists throughout their lives.  

“From the first day of class all the way through opening night of New Voices, we require our students to rise to the demands of this rigorous program,” stated Lisa Cooney, Paper Mill Playhouse Director of Education.  “We ask them to work harder than they ever have before as young performers, and we strive to build an incredible ensemble company, while each student hones their own individual performance skills.  Our faculty pushes the students to believe in themselves as professional artists and treats them as such.  We find summer after summer that our students meet our expectations and more.  When they move on to college or the professional world, they are ready for the challenges they’ll face, and time and again they thrive and ultimately live their dream of being a professional performer.  It’s gratifying when they make a name or themselves on Broadway or in Hollywood, but even if they do not, the skills they learn and the work ethic they develop will serve them in any field.”

Students from Paper Mill Playhouse’s Conservatory have gone on to appear in numerous Broadway productions, film, television, and regional theater. 

Conservatory Alumni include:

Matt Ban – Broadway: Rock of Ages (Dennis)

Laura Benanti - Broadway: Gypsy (2008 Tony Award winner), Into the Woods, The Wedding Singer, Swing!

Connor Buckley - Star of Fox-TV’s Surviving Jack with Chris Meloni(role of “Jack Dunlevy”)

Joshua Dela Cruz - Broadway’s Disney’s Aladdin (Aladdin Understudy)

Jared Gertner - 2014 Olivier Award nominee West End, Broadway & National Tour of The Book Of Mormon (Elder Cunningham)

Elizabeth Egan Gillies - Nickelodeon’s Victorious; Broadway: 13! The Musical

Anne Hathaway - Twelfth Night, Film: Les Misérables  (2013 Academy Award Winner),  Rachel Getting Married (2009 Academy Award & Golden Globe nominee), Get Smart, Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada, & Disney’s The Princess Diaries

Daisy Hobbs – Broadway: Disney’s Aladdin

Nikki M. James - Broadway: Les Misérables, Book of Mormon (2011 Tony Award winner), All Shook Up

Julia Knitel – Broadway: Beautiful (Carol King-Understudy)

Collin Kelly-Sordelet – Broadway: The Last Ship (Young Gideon)

Veronica J. Kuehn – Broadway: Mamma Mia!, Xanadu; Off Broadway: Avenue Q

Neil McCaffrey –Broadway: Mary Poppins (Michael Banks), Bye, Bye Birdie (Randolph Macafee),Billy Elliot (Michael)

Rob McClure - Broadway: Honeymoon in Vegas, Chaplin, Avenue Q

Monette McKay – Broadway: Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, Memphis, Mamma Mia!

Constantine Rousouli - Broadway: Hairspray (Link), Ghost the Musical, Wicked

Jonathan Schwartz - Broadway’s Disney’s Aladdin (Omar)

Matthew Scott - Broadway: Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair (Ralph), Sondheim on Sondheim

Ali Stroker - Oxygen’s The Glee Project: Season 2; Paper Mill’s 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive Ostrovsky)

Lael Van Keuran – Broadway: Sister Act

Performances of New Voices of 2015: Hooray for Hollywood! will be held on Friday, July 31st at 7:30pm and Saturday, August 1st at 1:30pm and 7:30pm at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ.Single tickets range in price from $25 to $45. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, online at www.papermill.org, or visit the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted.

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