Arts & Entertainment

Livingston High School Student Brings Talent to Paper Mill Playhouse’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory

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Credits: Christian De Guzman
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LIVINGSTON, NJ – A Livingston High School student will be performing in an original production at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn as part of the Paper Mill Playhouse’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory.

Christian De Guzman, who will be a senior at Livingston High School in the fall, has been acting for eight years. This summer, he will be performing in the Paper Mill Playhouse’s Musical Theatre Conservatory’s annual concert, known as the New Voices concert.

According to Paper Mill Playhouse the New Voices concert has a different theme every year. This year, the theme will be Swing Awakening, which according to Paper Mill Playhouse is “a celebration of rich history of standards and jazz hits that are the soul and heart of musical theatre.”

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Of his part in the performance, De Guzman stated that "Everyone has a special little role, I don't really have one specific role."

De Guzman, whose acting career began when his mother asked him if he wanted to audition for a part in The King and I when he was in fourth grade, has been in an average of four plays per year since then. He has been a part of Paper Mill Playhouse’s summer musical theatre conservatory program for the past four years.

“I get lost in the beauty of just being on stage, getting lost in a different world. You get to be someone else for a few hours of your life,” said De Guzman.

Some of his favorite past performances have included roles in productions of Legally Blonde and In the Heights.

De Guzman added that he enjoys the productions which take place at Paper Mill Playhouse during the summer.

“I always enjoy coming here every summer that I’ve done it; just meeting all the people, learning as much as I can, and putting on a great show.”

In addition to acting, De Guzman takes classes in singing and dance.

“Theatre is something that has kind of developed my life over the past eight years, and given (me) the correct opportunity, and the correct chances. I would love to continue theatre.”

In a written statement, Paper Mill Playhouse described the musical theatre conservatory program as, “A program of rigorous study allowing students to enhance their individual performance potential while developing a broad base of theatre experience and knowledge. Participants in the program take part in a variety of classes in musical theatre performance, acting, dance, and improvisation. They also have the opportunity to attend workshops by professional actors, directors, and casting agents.”

According to the Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory website, there are three "companies" within the workshop. There is The Junior Company for children ages 10-12, which takes place at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, and there are two companies for older children: The Junior Plus Company for ages 12-14, and The Senior Company for children ages 15-18, both which take place at Kean University in Union. The conservatory lasts for five weeks. 

According to Kelly Stevens, who is a press assistant at Paper Mill Playhouse, the Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory program “is an audition based program – they probably get about 300 students who audition, and there are slightly over 120 spots.”

The New Voices Concert will take place at Papermill Playhouse on Friday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 3 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets range in price from $25 to $45 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (973)-375-4343, by visiting the box office at 22 Brookside Drive in Milburn, or by visiting www.papermill.org. Visa, Master Card, Discover, and American Express credit cards are all accepted.

More information on the Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory can be found at http://papermill.org/education/summer-musical-theater-conservatory/about-the-conservatory.html  

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