Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lorna Luft joins cast of White Christmas at the Paper Mill Playhouse

The Paper Mill Playhouse has announced that singer/actress Lorna Luft will be featured in Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of White Christmas opening November 16, 2011.  White Christmas will run at the Millburn theater from November 16 through December 24. She starred in the 2006 blockbuster UK premiere production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical.

Ms. Lorna Luft will play the role of Martha Watson.  Lorna Luft’s acclaimed career has encompassed virtually every arena of entertainment.  A celebrated live performer, stage, film and television actress, best selling author, recording artist and Emmy nominated producer – she continues to triumph in every medium with critics labeling her one of the most vibrant, versatile and exciting artists on stage today.

Born to legendary entertainer Judy Garland and producer Sid Luft, music and entertainment was an integral part of her childhood.  At age 11 she made her television debut singing on her mother’s series, The Judy Garland Show.  At 16, already a seasoned performer, she shared the bill with her mom on Broadway in a fabled month long concert engagement at New York's famed Palace Theater.

By 19, she was stopping the show on her own; starring on Broadway in Neil Simon’s hit musical Promises, Promises.  She continued on the NY stage as "Peppermint Patty" in the musical Snoopy and then took a dramatic turn alongside Farrah Fawcett in Extremities.

In addition to regional theatre productions of Grease, Carnival, Little Shop of Horrors, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Girl Crazy, Mame and Gypsy, she starred in national tours of They're Playing Our Song and as "Miss Adelaide" for 2 years in Jerry Zaks' world tour production of Guys & Dolls.  She toured the UKin the acclaimed musical revues Hollywood & Broadway and The Magical World of Musicals.  Following the 2004 West Enddebut of her one woman show Songs My Mother Taught Me, she starred in the 2006 blockbuster UK premiere production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical.  She quickly followed that success with the 2007 hit revival of Rodgers and Hart’s Babes in Arms at the prestigious Chichester Festival Theatre then returned to her role in White Christmas: The Musical for the 2007 winter season at the Edinburgh Playhouse and the Wales Millennium Centre.

Lorna is a gifted live performer frequently featured as a concert artist at the world’s most prestigious venues including The Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, The London Palladium, and L’Olympia in Paris.  She's had the honor of performing for the Royal Family at London’s Royal Albert Hall in concerts celebrating Sammy Davis, Jr. and Ira Gershwin.  In 2006 and 2007 she garnered acclaim for her surprise duet appearances with singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright at his celebrated tribute concerts to Judy Garland.

In the summer of 2007 Lorna joined Alan Cumming and Margaret Cho as part of the talented voice cast of Logo Network’s new animated series Rick & Steve.

A UK television favorite, she frequently appears as a guest and sometime co-host on ITV’s popular Loose Women.  In 2004 she was the subject of a highly rated BBC documentary titled Somebody's Daughter, Somebody's Son.   In the USshe’s appeared on virtually every talk and variety program and has had featured roles on episodic series including Murder She Wrote, The Nanny, and was a series regular on the CBS drama Trapper John M.D.  She joined her sister, Liza Minnelli, in an electrifying duet on The Tony Awards and was a featured performer on PBS’s Jerry Herman's Broadway at the Bowl.  In films, she is most remembered by fans of all ages as Pink Lady “Paulette Rebchuck” in the camp classic Grease 2.

In 1998 Lorna added a new dimension to her multi-faceted career, that of NY Times best-selling author upon the release of her critically acclaimed memoir -- Me and My Shadows.  It was optioned by ABC-TV and broadcast as a 4 hour miniseries starring Judy Davis in Feb. 2001.  Lorna served as Co-Executive Producer on Life with Judy Garland: Me & My Shadows which garnered the highest ratings of the season and won 5 Emmy Awards.

One of her most ambitious projects to date is the highly acclaimed multi-media production Songs My Mother Taught Me--A Celebration of the Music of Judy Garland.   This theatrical extravaganza melds one of the world’s most familiar songbooks with personal memories of a loving daughter.  Songs My Mother Taught Me, which Variety called “a rousing, dramatically riveting musical event,” was awarded two Los Angeles Theatre Alliance Ovation Awards (Best World Premiere Musical & Best Musical Direction.)  The LA Times called her performance “heart-stopping and thrilling… an incandescent revelation not to be missed.”  A CD based on the concert, produced by Barry Manilow and Colin R. Freeman, was released in 2007 on First Night Records.

Lorna has two children, Jesse and Vanessa, is married to celebrated musician, Colin R. Freeman and currently divides her time between Los Angeles, California and the UK. From her early work with her mother to spectacular concert performances, acclaim on Broadway, and in television, Lorna proves again and again that she’s a stellar entertainer and humanitarian, proudly carrying the torch of her family’s legendary show business legacy.

White Christmas will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Three, four and five show subscription packages are available now, starting at $84.   Single tickets are now on sale from $25. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, or at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at  Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 35% discount on tickets and should call 973-315-1680. Investors Savings Bank is the proud sponsor of Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2011-2012 season.

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/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Additional major support is provided by generous contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

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