MADISON, NJ - Three of Madison’s young performers have been selected to participate in the prestigious Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory.

Avery Benjamin, Ben Sadowski and Anna McCarthy were among more than 120 aspiring artists who earned spots in the five-week program, where students are directed and choreographed by Paper Mill Playhouse’s “professional, artistic staff.”

The culmination of this program is an original concert, and every student gets their chance to perform. Several winners and nominees of the 2017 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards, who won scholarships to attend the conservatory, will also perform.

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This year’s concert is titled “New Voices of 2017: Everyone Loves an Underdog!” and will take place on July 28 at 7:30 p.m. and July 29 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. All performances will be held at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ.

Tickets range in price from $25 to $45. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, online at or by visiting the Paper Mill Playhouse box office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted.

Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill’s producing artistic director, and Todd Schmidt, the playhouse’s managing director and recipient of the 2016 Tony Award for regional theatre, spearheaded this program, where students can showcase their talents on same stage as conservatory alums Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables, The Princess Diaries), Nikki M. James (2011 Tony Award winner, Book of Mormon) and Jared Gertner (2014 Olivier Award nominee, West End).

“New Voices is an amazing opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow,” Hoebee said. “This fully produced, original concert features over 100 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 that allows students ages 10-18 to enhance their individual performance potential while developing a broad base of theater experience and knowledge. Members of the competitive conservatory earn “coveted” spots in the Senior (ages 15-18), Junior Plus (ages 13-14) and Junior companies (ages 10-12).

Students participate in “intensive” classes including musical theater performance, acting, dance and improvisation, and attend guest workshops led by professional actors, directors and casting agents.

“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,” 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.”

“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.”

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