MILLBURN, NJ — The audition process has begun for Paper Mill Playhouse’s prestigious Summer Musical Theater Conservatory for young artists to be held this summer. The competitive program, open to students ages 10 to 18, culminates in a video presentation titled "New Voices of 2021!" to premiere online in September. 

Auditioning students should prepare a one-song video submission using these guidelines and send it to the
Paper Mill Conservatory no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22. There will be no live auditions scheduled. 

The 2021 Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theater Conservatory will take place from June 28 to July 23, at the Paper Mill Studios in Millburn. Students will be offered a hybrid schedule of live training three days a week and alternating with virtual instruction two days a week. Classes will be modest in size with all current CDC guidelines and state mandated protocols in place for live instruction.

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The Conservatory is a program of rigorous study led by Paper Mill’s professional artistic staff. Students have the opportunity 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, private voice lessons, monologue coaching and improvisation, while also attending guest workshops taught by professional actors, directors, and casting agents. Time during every instructional day is devoted to rehearsing and filming the virtual "New Voices" performance.

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.  

“Paper Mill Playhouse’s Summer Musical Theater Conservatory is one of the finest young artist professional development programs for musical theater in the United States,” said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill’s Producing Artistic Director. “It is amazing to see these young performers learn and grow into professional artists culminating in a performance produced by leading industry professionals.”

As one of the nation’s leading theaters, Paper Mill Playhouse has a well-earned reputation for launching both performers and shows for the Broadway industry. Since its inception in 1996, the Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theater Conservatory and the New Voices Concert have ignited the careers of many notable performers. 

Conservatory alumni include Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Tony Award winners Laura Benanti (Gypsy), Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), Ali Stoker (Oklahoma!), Tony nominee Rob McClure (Chaplin), Jelani Remy (Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations), Shanice Williams, star of NBC’s The Wiz Live! and Olivier Award nominee Jared Gertner (The Book of Mormon). For the full list of notable alumni, click here.  

The "New Voices" performance is the culmination of the four-week program. Also appearing will be numerous winners and nominees of the 2021 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards presented by Investors Foundation, who win scholarships to attend the Conservatory.

“From the first day of class all the way through the 'New Voices' performance, we require our students to rise to the demands of this rigorous program,” said 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.”

The summer of 2020 saw the introduction of online classes, and despite everyone’s desire to be in studio, the virtual Conservatory soared and enrolled students from across the country. 

“We want to thank you for an amazing summer with the Paper Mill Conservatory," said one Colorado parent whose son participated in 2020. "You have all done such a marvelous job making the Conservatory so personable and illuminating for the students—truly, a life-changing experience.

"Your commitment to making the Conservatory happen provided a transformative experience for our son, who not only grew as an artist but also created incredible memories and friendships. You and the other Conservatory teachers and staff were amazing—personable in your interaction with the students and directly impactful on their artistic development. You should be so proud of what you all accomplished in this unprecedented summer.”   

The Summer Professional Training Programs and "New Voices" are supported by Investors Foundation. Paper Mill Playhouse education and outreach is sponsored by The Goren Family and The Harmony Helper App.

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