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Friday, October 30, 2015

‘A Christmas Story: The Musical’ next at Paper Mill Playhouse

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Paper Mill Playhouse has announced casting for its holiday show, A Christmas Story: The Musical.  Based on the popular 1983 film, A Christmas Story: The Musical has a book by Joseph Robinette with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.  A Christmas Story: The Musical will be directed by Brandon Ivie and choreographed by Mara Newbery Greer. A Christmas Story: The Musical will run eight times a week at the Millburn, New Jersey, theater from November 25, 2015, through January 3, 2016. The official press opening night is Sunday, November 29, at 7:00pm. Paper Mill Playhouse's 2015-2016 Season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

Ralphie wants only one thing for Christmas: an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. A Christmas Story: The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas. Straight from Broadway‚ this musical captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike. Bring the whole family‚ again and again. The holiday movie that the whole world loves comes to musical life.

A Christmas Story: The Musical will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:00pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm, Friday at 7:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Check Paper Mill Playhouse’s website for special holiday week schedules. Tickets are on sale now starting at $29. 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.  College students can order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

“There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than a trip to Paper Mill Playhouse to experience this heartwarming and hilarious musical based on the film that you know and love,” commented Paper Mill Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee. “Bring the entire family and share an experience they will never forget.”

A Christmas Story: The Musical features a cast of Broadway veterans and amazing young talent. Judah Immanuel and Colton Maurer will share the role of Ralphie, a role they have each performed in previous productions. Judah Immanuel was featured in productions of The Secret Garden and Into the Woods. Colton Maurer (Mahwah, New Jersey), returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he appeared as a workhouse boy in Oliver! and performed in the Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory for two years. Hudson Loverro (Randy) has performed in productions of Oliver! and Fiddler on the Roof.

Elena Shaddow (Mother), a resident of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where she was last seen as Maria in The Sound of Music. Ms. Shaddow’s Broadway credits include The Visit, The Bridges of Madison County, La Cage aux Folles, The Woman in White and The Light in the Piazza, among others.

Ted Koch (Jean Shepherd) performed on Broadway in Elling, The Pillowman, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Death of a Salesman. Mr. Koch’s television credits include The Americans, The Good Wife, The Sopranos, The West Wing and more.

Danette Holden (Miss Shields) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where she last appeared in Romance, Romance. Ms. Holden’s Broadway credits include Annie, Shrek and Laughing Room Only.

Chris Hoch (The Old Man) was recently seen on Broadway in Amazing Grace. Some of Mr. Hoch’s other Broadway credits include Matilda, La Cage aux Folles, Shrek and Spamalot, among others.

Rounding out the ensemble are: Kyle Nicholas Anderson, Jacob ben Widmar, Jillian Butler, Andrew Cristi, Madge Dietrich, Carlos Encinias, Marjorie Failoni, Ellie Fishman, Thay Floyd, Benjamin Howes, Karen Hyland, Charlie Johnson and Kirsten Wyatt.

The children’s ensemble includes: Laurel Caruso, Vincenzo Faruolo (Toms River, NJ), Parker James Fullmore, Ruby Griffin, Mackenzie Lewis, Anna McCarthy (Madison, NJ), Ryan McInnes, Gabriel Reis (Tenafly, NJ), Anthony Rosenthal, Dana Beth Steiner and Gavin Swartz.

A Christmas Story will feature two purebred bloodhounds in the production. Pete and Lily (The Bumpus Hounds) were adopted and rescued by trainer and guardian William Berloni. Mr. Berloni recruited Pete and Lily for the original Broadway Production of A Christmas Story: The Musical. Pete and Lily recently appeared in the world premiere of Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical in Dallas, Texas.

The A Christmas Story: The Musical creative team includes:

Brandon Ivie (Director) served as the assistant director for First Date and A Christmas Story: The Musical on Broadway. At Paper Mill Playhouse Mr. Ivie served as the associate director for Damn Yankees. Mr. Ivie recently directed Jasper in Deadland at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and at the West End Theatre off off-Broadway. 

Mara Newbery Greer (Choreographer) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse after performing in Honeymoon in Vegas. Ms. Greer performed in A Christmas Story: The Musical on Broadway and on tour. Ms. Greer has choreographed productions of Shrek, A Christmas Story: The Musical, Oliver! and Fiddler on the Roof.

Ben Whiteley (Music Director) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he served as music director for Damn Yankees. Mr. Whiteley has worked both regionally and on Broadway, where he conducted Cats for six years. Mr. Whiteley has worked on many national tours including Falsettos, Grand Hotel, Big, The Full Monty and Spamalot.

William Berloni (Animal Director and Trainer) received a 2011 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre. Mr. Berloni is Broadway’s go-to trainer for stage canines. Mr. Berloni transforms shelter dogs into stars for Broadway, off-Broadway, national tours, ballet, television, film and more. On Broadway, Mr. Berloni served as animal trainer for Bullets Over Broadway, Annie, Legally Blonde, Gypsy and many others. At Paper Mill Playhouse, Mr. Berloni provided animals for The Wizard of Oz and Annie, among others.

The A Christmas Story: The Musical design team includes:

Walt Spangler (Scenic Design) has designed sets for many Broadway shows including Scandalous, Desire Under the Elms, Hollywood Arms and more. At Paper Mill Playhouse, Mr. Spangler designed Of Thee I Sing and On the Town, among others.

Stephen Carmody (Scenic Coordination) designed sets for many productions including the world-premiere and off-Broadway productions of A Twist of Water, Carrie: The Musical, Broadsword and Sweeney Todd. Mr. Carmody served as an associate for the 2014–2015 tour of Big Apple Circus, Beaches: The Musical, Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After and more.

Elizabeth Hope Clancy (Costume Design) has designed costumes for many Broadway shows including Passing Strange, A Few Good Men, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Bobbi Boland and The Ride Down Mt. Morgan.

Leon Dobkowski (Costume Coordination and additional design) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he recently served as the costume designer for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. On Broadway, Mr. Dobkowski served as the associate/assistant costume designer on The Trip to Bountiful, Nice Work If You Can Get It, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and more.

F. Mitchell Dana (Lighting Design) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he has served as lighting designer for many shows including Boeing-Boeing, Guys and Dolls, The King and I and more. Mr. Dana served as lighting designer for Broadway productions of Oh Coward!, Mass Appeal, Once in a Lifetime and more.

Randy Hansen (Sound Design) is Paper Mill Playhouse’s resident sound designer and has designed sound for more than 130 musicals and 40 plays. Many memorable moments include working with opera star Jessye Norman, the Indianapolis and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In New York City he was the president of Audible Difference Inc., a sound design company that over the past 30 years has served the fashion industry in New York and Paris.

Leah Loukas (Hair & Wig Design) worked on the Broadway productions of On the Town, A Night with Janis Joplin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, American Idiot and Irena’s Vow. At Paper Mill Playhouse Ms. Loukas designed The Sound of Music, Grease, Elf, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Ever After and more.

Telsey + Company (Casting) is an award-winning organization of casting professionals in New York City with local, regional, national and international clientele including Broadway and touring companies of If/Then, The King and I, Motown, Kinky Boots, Finding Neverland, Honeymoon in Vegas, Rock of Ages and Wicked. The lead casting director on this project is Rachel Hoffman, CSA.

The Production Stage Manager is Gary Mickelson.

Paper Mill Playhouse, a leader in accessibility, will offer audio-described performances for A Christmas Story: The Musical on Saturday, December 19, and Sunday, December 20, at 1:30 pm. Prior to these performances at noon, the theater will offer free sensory seminars. Sensory seminars offer an opportunity for patrons with vision loss to hear a live, in-depth description of the production elements of the show along with hands-on interaction with key sets, props, and costumes.  There will be a sign-interpreted and open-captioned performance on Sunday, December 20, at 7 pm. 

Paper Mill Playhouse will offer a special autism-friendly performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical on Tuesday, December 29, at 1:30pm.  This performance is designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disabilities, and is planned in cooperation with Paper Mill Playhouse’s Autism Advisory Team. This is the third time Paper Mill Playhouse has expanded its autism-friendly performances to a mainstage production after successful performances of Elf and Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The theater environment will be altered for this performance, providing a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming to all families. The performance itself will be adjusted with special attention paid to lighting and sound. 

Additionally, Paper Mill Playhouse will host a free open house titled Meet Your Seat on Monday, December 28, 2015, from 4:00 to 6:00pm.  This is an opportunity for children who are new to the theatrical experience to visit the theater space before the show. Often children with autism or other developmental disabilities become anxious in new surroundings, new experiences, and they need time to transition. The Meet Your Seat open house provides an opportunity for children to come to the theater in advance of the performance and take time to feel comfortable in this new space.

The autism-friendly performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical is proudly sponsored by the Merck Foundation. Additional generous support for autism-friendly programs is provided by C.R. Bard Foundation, The Karma Foundation and MetLife Foundation.

Paper Mill Playhouse embraces a long history of providing access services to patrons of the theater.  In addition to autism-friendly performances, Paper Mill Playhouse offers a wide variety of access programs and services including: sign-interpreted performances, open-captioned performances, audio-described performances, pre-show sensory seminars and barrier-free access theater-wide.  Paper Mill Playhouse’s accessibility programs have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, VSA arts/MetLife, and the New Jersey Department of Recreation as a role model for other performing arts organizations throughout the country.

Free Audience Enrichment Activities for A Christmas Story: The Musical

Wed. November 25     6:00pm             Art Gallery     The Director’s Viewpoint

Enjoy coffee on us as Director Brandon Ivie discusses A Christmas Story: The Musical.

Thurs. December 3     6:00pm             Mezzanine       Conversation Club

Thurs. December 10 Learn more about the show you are about

Thurs. December 17 to see, led by members of Paper Mill’s

Tues. December 22 Artistic and Education Departments.

Sat. December 19       Following Matinee                  Orchestra       Q&A with the Cast

Meet the cast and ask actors questions about the show or the role they are portraying.

Paper Mill Playhouse will once again, be a collection point for this year’s Jersey Cares Coat Drive.  Over the years, Jersey Cares has collected, sorted and distributed more than 500,000 winter coats to New Jersey residents. The donated winter coats benefit at-risk men, women, children, and infants in our area. Each year, Paper Mill Playhouse gladly participates in this worthy cause and will be collecting gently used winter coats from November 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016. Collection of coats will take place in the lobby at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ.

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization, 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.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

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