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Paper Mill Playhouse Announces the World Premiere of 'Unmasked'

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PHOTO BY: © John Swannell 
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Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, announced today the world premiere of UNMASKED, which will feature some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most iconic work and the stories behind its creation, along with new music and memories from his extraordinary life and career, will open its 2018-2019 season.

UNMASKED will be a funny and warm musical portrait drawing from Andrew’s extensive body of work, with intimate and sometimes unexpected interpretations of his best-loved songs, rediscovered gems and some new material specially written for this production.

In the year Andrew Lloyd Webber releases his memoir*, also titled Unmasked, and the personally curated Platinum Collection album**, this new stage production will be an exploration of a man and his music, his creative process and the often surprising manner in which his songs, and the musicals in which they feature, came to be.  It will include some of Lloyd Webber’s most recognizable characters interacting with one another for the first time, and new takes on his music, including a cappella versions of his songs and an often wry look at the genre he has, for many, come to define.

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UNMASKED is co-created with Richard Curtis, the award-winning screenwriter, producer and film director behind Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually, and John Doyle, who won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his Broadway version of Sweeney Todd. His revival of The Color Purple won two Tony Awards in 2016 and he is the Artistic Director of the Classic Stage Company in New York.

“I’m so excited to be involved in Unmasked,” said Richard Curtis. “We start from the position of having in the show a huge collection of some of the greatest songs ever written for musical theatre - and then learn more about Andrew and his way of working and how the music relates to him and his life. With luck there’ll be some very fun new stuff too. I love Andrew and his work -  in real life, he has always made me laugh - and in the theatre, a lot of his music has made me cry. I’m thrilled to be part of something that I hope will make the audience do both, laugh and cry.”

John Doyle said, “I'm thrilled to help create this exciting new theatre piece celebrating Andrew's remarkable body of work. An event that explores the art behind his melodies, whilst reflecting his somewhat irreverent, self-deprecating sensibility. It's going to be a lot of fun!”

Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director of Paper Mill Playhouse, commented, “Unmasked is another amazing opportunity for our theater to introduce a new title to the musical theater canon. Andrew Lloyd Webber is a legend and we are fortunate to be working with him, along with Richard and John, on this incredible project.”

A limited run of this brand-new production will start September 27, 2018, and run through October 28, 2018. Subscriptions for Paper Mill Playhouse’s new season will be available in March and may be purchased by calling 973-379-3717. Individual show tickets will go on sale Monday, August 20, 2018. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.PaperMill.org. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. Students may order discounted rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse box office on the day of the performance. Paper Mill Playhouse's 2018/2019 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

*Unmasked A Memoir is released globally on March 6, 2018.

**Unmasked: The Platinum Collection is released globally on March 16, 2018, and available to pre-order now with instant downloads of new tracks by Lana Del Rey and Nicole Scherzinger.

BIOGRAPHIES

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER

Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of some of the world’s best known musicals including Cats, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera (which celebrated its 30th anniversary on Broadway this year) and Sunset Boulevard.

When Sunset Boulevard joined School of Rock – The Musical, Cats and Phantom on Broadway in February 2017, he became the only person to equal the record set in 1953 by Rodgers and Hammerstein with four shows running concurrently.  

As well as The Phantom of the Opera and Cats, his productions include the groundbreaking Bombay Dreams, which introduced the double Oscar-winning Bollywood composer AR Rahman to the Western stage.

His awards, both as composer and producer, include seven Tonys, seven Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, a BASCA Fellowship, the Kennedy Center Honor and a Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Requiem, his setting of the Latin Requiem mass which contains one of his best-known compositions, “Pie Jesu”.   He owns seven London theatres including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the London Palladium.

He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1992 and created a life peer in 1997.

He is passionate about the importance of music in education and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has become one of Britain’s leading charities supporting the arts and music. In 2016 the Foundation funded a major new national initiative which endowed the American Theatre Wing with a $1.3 million, three-year grant to support theatre education opportunities for underserved young people and public schools across the U.S.

For additional information, please visit: www.andrewlloydwebber.com

RICHARD CURTIS

Richard Curtis is a screenwriter and director, responsible for films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones's Diary, Mr. Bean, Love Actually, The Boat That Rocked, About Time and most recently Trash and Esio Trot.

In the other half of Richard's life, he is the Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of Comic Relief, which he started after visiting Ethiopia during the 1985 famine. In 1988, Comic Relief launched its Red Nose Day fundraising initiative, including a live TV broadcast for the BBC, which brought together some of the biggest celebrities of the day. Since then, Richard has produced more than 16 live nights of television and Red Nose Day has raised more than £1 billion for projects in the UK and around the world.

In 2015, Richard launched Red Nose Day in the United States, dedicated to ending child poverty. It included a live telecast on NBC and raised over $23 million and has since gone on to raise almost $100 million.

Richard was a founding member of Make Poverty History and worked both on that campaign and on Live 8 in 2005. As part of his contribution to the campaign Richard wrote The Girl in the Café for HBO and the BBC – a television drama based around the G8 Summit, which won three Emmys. In 2012, Phillip Noyce directed Richard's TV movie Mary and Martha, a film about two mothers losing their sons to malaria. It has been shown in 50 countries around the world and used as a campaigning tool by many organisations committed to ending malaria.

In 2014 Richard founded Project Everyone. Working alongside the United Nations, Project Everyone helped to launch and promote the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, a series of ambitious targets to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and combat climate change by 2030. In 2015 as part of this endeavour Richard co-produced the Global Citizen Festival, live from Central Park, which was broadcast in 150 territories worldwide.

In January 2016 Richard was formally appointed as a UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate alongside 16 others including Shakira, Paul Polman and Graça Machel.

JOHN DOYLE

John Doyle has been Artistic Director of four prestigious regional theaters in the UK. He now has an extensive directing career in theatre, film and opera. His credits in the US include productions of Sweeney Todd (Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical), Company (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), The Visit (Tony Nom. Best Musical, Drama Desk Nom. Best Director), The Color Purple (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical, Grammy Award), Mahagonny (Los Angeles Opera, two Grammy Awards), Passion (Classic Stage Company, Drama Desk Nom. Best Director of a Musical), Road Show (Public Theater), Caucasian Chalk Circle (American Conservatory Theatre), Kiss Me, Kate (Stratford Festival Theatre).  As well as numerous credits in London’s West End, John has also directed at Sydney Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, La Fenice in Venice, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Second Stage Theatre, Princeton McCarter Theatre and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He recently became Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company.

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE

Paper Mill Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Todd Schmidt (Managing Director) and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is where American musical theater is celebrated, cherished, and pushed in exciting new directions. A beloved New Jersey arts institution since 1938, Paper Mill has been consistently recognized for the high-quality artistry of its reimagined classic musicals as well as its commitment to supporting the development of new works and the careers of Broadway's best talent and emerging artists both onstage and behind the scenes. Paper Mill Playhouse boasts award-winning access services and outreach initiatives as well as performer training programs that impact more than 35,000 students each year. Paper Mill Playhouse productions have launched national tours and gone on to Broadway-including Disney's Newsies, 25th Anniversary production of Les Misérables, Honeymoon in Vegas, A Bronx Tale, Bandstand, The Bodyguard-as well as television broadcasts on Showtime and PBS and original cast recordings. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. For additional information, please visit www.papermill.org.

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