Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Paper Mill Playhouse ‘Visionaries Gala’ to honor Governor Thomas H. Kean and Mickey McNany

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Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) is hosting its largest fundraising event of the year, the Visionaries Gala on Friday, May 8, at the renowned Hilton Short Hills. The Visionaries Gala is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank, Tiffany & Co., Hilton Short Hills, and Dior. For more information on Paper Mill Playhouse’s Visionaries Gala or to purchase individual tickets, tables or raffle tickets, please contact Leigh Schaedel at 973-315-1663, or visit Paper Mill Playhouse’s website,  Paper Mill Playhouse is a not-for-profit arts organization that relies on philanthropic support to make its breathtaking productions, professional training programs, celebrated arts education and outreach possible. All proceeds from the gala support these programs. 

“Nearly 400 of our theater’s community of influential business executives, civic leaders, discerning consumers and tastemakers will gather together for an evening that reflects the heart, artistry and vitality of Paper Mill Playhouse,” stated Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director.  “We are thrilled to honor Governor Thomas H. Kean, who has been an advocate for the arts and Paper Mill Playhouse for decades.”

tkean In addition to being honored, we will celebrate Governor Kean’s 80th birthday. Governor Kean (photo right) has a long-standing commitment to Paper Mill Playhouse and the arts in New Jersey. As governor, Kean was rated among America’s most effective state leaders by Newsweek magazine and was noted for tax cuts that spurred 750,000 new jobs, a federally replicated welfare reform program, landmark environmental policies, and more than 30 education reforms.  He delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Republican National Convention.  He was re-elected for a second term by the largest margin in state history. While governor, he served on the President’s Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States and the National Governors Association Task Force on Teaching.  He remains one of the most popular governors in New Jersey’s history.

On December 16, 2002, Tom Kean was named by President George W. Bush to head the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.  The commission’s work culminated on July 22, 2004, with the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, which quickly became a national bestseller. Its recommendations resulted in the largest intelligence reform in the nation’s history.  Kean served as the chairman of the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, a nonprofit entity created with private funds to continue the commission’s work of guarding against future attacks.

Paper Mill is also thrilled to honor Mickey McNany with the Byrne/Kean Arts Advocate Award in recognition of her retirement and 30 years of teaching and service to the community.  As Founding Director of the Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School, Mickey has created a powerful legacy at Paper Mill and we are extremely proud of the programs and students she has nurtured and grown.

“Supporting Paper Mill Playhouse’s gala ensures a bright future for our not-for-profit arts organization,” remarked Todd Schmidt, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Managing Director. “This black-tie evening includes dinner, dancing, an unforgettable auction and unparalleled Broadway entertainment.”

kate baldwin Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin (photo right) will be the featured entertainment for Paper Mill’s Visionaries Gala. Ms. Baldwin recently appeared as Pistache in Paper Mill’s production of Can-Can following her critically acclaimed performances in Hello, Dolly!, Guys and Dolls and Miss Saigon. Most recently on Broadway Baldwin starred in Big Fish as Sandra Bloom. She also appeared on Broadway in Finian’s Rainbow, Wonderful Town, Thoroughly Modern Millie and The Full Monty. Ms. Baldwin received a Tony Award nomination, an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination and a Drama Desk nomination for her performance as Sharon McLonergan in the revival of Finian’s Rainbow. Her television credits include Law & Order: SVU and Stephen Sondheim’s Passion for PBS. 

The Eddie Bruce Band marries a smoking hot dance ensemble, concert quality vocalists and masterful musicians that drive the dance floor.  For more than 25 years, The Eddie Bruce Band has been performing his unique repertoire of music that ranges from Top 40, R&B, disco and house music to swing and Sinatra. Eddie Bruce’s interest in music began when he was a child, and he has never wavered from this passion. He has blended his natural entrepreneurial skills with his love of music and created one of the most successful orchestras in the region and one of the best reputations as a much sought-after performer. A regular at Caesars Atlantic City, the Eddie Bruce Orchestra has also performed at Bally's Park Place, the Etess Arena of Trump Taj Mahal as well as such major events as the prestigious Grand Gala Opening of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

Finally, students from Paper Mill Playhouse’s Arts Education programs will deliver a memorable performance during the celebration. The education and outreach programs of Paper Mill Playhouse serve nearly 35,000 young people and educators annually in all regions of the state through in-school residencies, training and arts recognition programs, as well as the Children's Theatre Series. For nearly 30 years, Paper Mill Playhouse has been helping students of all ages and skill levels develop their passion for performance and communication—qualities that are invaluable in every career, from Broadway to the boardroom. Education programs include Paper Mill Theatre School, Adopt-a-School Project, Rising Star Awards, Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory, August Musical Theatre Intensive, Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir, guest artist master classes, professional development seminars and Theatre For Everyone classes.

For more than 75 years, Paper Mill Playhouse has been one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit theaters.  Paper Mill continues to bring world-class artists and outstanding musicals and plays to the community while enriching the lives of nearly 35,000 young people each year through award-winning education outreach, artist training and access programs.

2015 Visionaries Gala Honorees

Antoinette Scudder Patron of the Arts Award

            * Thomas H. Kean, Former Governor and Arts Advocate

Named after Paper Mill Playhouse co-founder who purchased the derelict Diamond Paper Mill and transformed it into the Paper Mill Playhouse, this award is given to a dedicated patron of the arts, either individual or foundation.       

Byrne/Kean Arts Advocate Award

            *Mickey McNany, Founding Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School Director

The Byrne/Kean Arts Advocate Award is presented to organizations and individuals for their passionate work on behalf of New Jersey’s arts community.

The reception and silent auction begin at 6:00pm followed by dinner and dancing featuring The Eddie Bruce Band.  The Visionaries Gala is hosted by Hilton Short Hills, one of the event’s premier sponsors.  “We are thrilled to partner with Hilton Short Hills on our annual gala,” remarked gala co-chairs Nancy E. Weeks and Deborah Kennedy.  “The support of all of our sponsors is priceless. Hilton Short Hills, Investors Bank, Tiffany & Co., and Dior are all true community partners and we are thrilled to collaborate with each of them on this fantastic event.” 

For more information on Paper Mill Playhouse’s Visionaries Gala or to purchase individual tickets, tables or raffle tickets, please contact Leigh Schaedel at 973-315-1663, or visit Paper Mill Playhouse’s website,

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.  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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