MILLBURN, NJ _ Seven Somerset Hills students have been selected to be a part of the Paper Mill Playhouse theater’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory for 2019, and are scheduled to perform this week.
Performances of New Voices of 2019: Learn Your Lessons Well are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 2, and at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn.
The students chosen include Nicole Streger of Peapack; Carly Holda and Deirdre Tobin of Bernardsville; and Eileen Brady, Chance Friedman, Samantha Rascio, and Libby Schmitt of Basking Ridge.
Tickets range in price from $25 to $45. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, online at www.papermill.org, or by visiting the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office.
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 a fully produced, original concert titled, New Voices of 2019: Learn Your Lessons Well.
The concert is a culmination of the five-week conservatory program. Also appearing are numerous nominees of the 2019 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards presented by the Investors Foundation, who won scholarships to attend the Conservatory. The Summer Musical Theater Conservatory and New Voices are supported by Investors Foundation. Paper Mill Playhouse Education & Outreach are proudly sponsored by The Goren Family & Harmony Helper.
“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."
She said that the summer students "meet our expectations and more."
Cooney said that the experience helps students to be ready for the challenges they will face when they move on to college or the professional world.
"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," she said.
Mark S. Hoebee is Producing Artistic Director and Michael Stotts is Managing Director.
The Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theater 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, private voice lessons, and improvisation, while also attending guest workshops led by professional actors, directors, and casting agents. The final weeks are devoted to rehearsals for the annual New Voices Concert. The New Voices Concert is the culmination of the five-week program.
“New Voices is an amazing opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow,” said Hoebee, Paper Mill’s Producing Artistic Director. “This fully produced, original concert features over 120 incredible performers."
Many of the students from Paper Mill Playhouse’s Conservatory have gone on to appear on Broadway, in regional theater productions, in film and on television. They include actors Anne Hathaway and Ali Stroker and many more.
Conservatory alumna Julia Knitel, who played the role of Carole King on the national tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, states, “Growing up, I was always in the ensemble. That was where I’d feel comfortable because I love being a team player. That’s one of the things that was so great about being at Paper Mill Playhouse, because in their Conservatory you had an equal amount of dancing, singing and acting training every day.
"I got a great foundation in being a team player and ensemble member, and serving a production," she said. "The producers and creatives of Beautiful saw in me something they couldn’t find elsewhere.”
Noted Broadway talent agents and casting directors flock to New Voices every summer. Victoria Kress, Abrams Artists Youth Theatrical Agent said, “(I’m always) super excited to head to Paper Mill Playhouse for their New Voices show! Having trained some amazing performers, I know this night will prove to be no different! It’s one of my best scouting field trips of every summer.” Nora Brennan, casting director for Matilda, Billy Elliot, and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, agrees, “The kids were great, the show was fun and entertaining, and the material was tailored so that each child shone. Well done!” Paper Mill’s professional casting partner, Telsey + Company, attends annually and often offers workshops to advanced students.