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New Jersey’s Statewide H. S. Musical Competition Now Accepting Applications

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PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE ANNOUNCES 23rd ANNUAL RISING STAR AWARD APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE ONLINE - Deadline for submissions is January 10, 2018

As one of the nation’s leading theaters, Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) has a well-earned reputation for launching both performers and shows for the Great White Way. The theater was the recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award this past June. Since their inception in 1996, the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theatre presented by the Investors Foundation have ignited the careers of many notable performers, all of whom attended high school in New Jersey.  Among the early nominees and winners are Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Tony Award winners Laura Benanti (Gypsy) and Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), Tony nominee Rob McClure (Chaplin), Shanice Williams, star of NBC’s The Wiz Live! and Olivier Award nominee Jared Gertner (The Book of Mormon).

Any New Jersey school that produces a musical between January 18 and April 15, 2018, is eligible to participate. The application for schools to participate is now available online at http://www.papermill.org/education/rising-star-awards/award-application.html. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and only the first 100 schools to apply will be able to participate in the program. The deadline for submissions is January 10, 2018 at 5 p.m.

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The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation are modeled after the Tony Awards, and Paper Mill Playhouse's program serves the entire state of New Jersey, with 100 entered productions from public, private and parochial high schools. Paper Mill Playhouse conceived and created the awards in 1996 to give schools the opportunity to showcase their musical arts programs on a statewide level. The musicals are adjudicated by Paper Mill Playhouse throughout the spring by a group of 70 evaluators, with each school receiving four independent evaluations.  Schools nominated for Outstanding Overall Musical and Leading Actor/Actress nominees perform at the event, and award recipients are presented with an engraved crystal award from Tiffany & Co. The 2018 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation ceremony will take place at Paper Mill Playhouse on Monday, June 4, at 7:30 pm, featuring presenters from Broadway and beyond.

Paper Mill Playhouse also awards $5,000 in scholarships at the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation.  Five $1,000 cash scholarships are given to outstanding individual students who plan to continue studying theater performance or technical theater in college. Paper Mill Playhouse is pleased to award a prize of $500 to a school receiving the 2018 Educational Impact Award, which acknowledges a school that successfully connects the musical to the district's curriculum, using the production as a teaching tool for the greater student body and local community.  Through the Rising Star “Theatre for Everyone” Inclusion and Access Award and a partnership with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Paper Mill Playhouse will present a cash award of $1,000 to a school to recognize excellence in the promotion and practice of creative inclusion of students and adults with disabilities as performers, designers, musicians and production staff. Additionally, this award seeks to recognize and reward a school that takes steps to ensure their performances are accessible to audiences with disabilities.

Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories receive a scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse's competitive Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory, a professional training program, which, along with advanced classes in singing, acting and dance, offers the nominees an opportunity to perform onstage at Paper Mill Playhouse in the season finale concert, "New Voices of 2017: From Sea to Shining Sea!”

Rising Star scholarships are made possible by Ruth Bedford in memory of Jane Burgio, Walt Santner in honor of Janet Sovey, and the Douglas Michael Krueger Scholarship Fund Trust.

The “Theatre for Everyone” Inclusion and Access Award is supported by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization 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 one of the country's leading regional theaters.  Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. 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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