The famed New Jersey theatre — under the direction of President and CEO Michael Gennaro — kicks off the season with George and Ira Gershwin's political satire Of Thee I Sing. Featuring a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, the 1932 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical about the election campaign of John P. Wintergreen will play the Paper Mill Sept. 8-Oct. 17. Tina Landau will direct.
Broadway singer-actor-dancer James Brennan, who mounted the Paper Mill production of Sound of Music, will similarly helm their production of She Loves Me, Oct. 27-Dec. 5. The classic Jerry Bock/Sheldon Harnick/Joe Masteroff musical features such tunes as "Dear Friend," "Vanilla Ice Cream," "Will He Like Me?" and the title tune.
The Paper Mill premiere of Michael Healey's The Drawer Boy follows, playing Jan. 5, 2005-Feb. 6. Anna D. Shapiro will direct "Frasier" star John Mahoney in the play. According to a production statement, the play concerns "two Canadian farmers, boyhood friends and WWII veterans, [who] share a mysterious secret. Their lives are comically interrupted when a young actor asks to live and work with them as 'research' for a play about farming. As he becomes part of their lives, their fascinating story becomes a part of his play and the lines blur between theater and life, memory and reality."
The world premiere of Harold and Maude — featuring book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Joseph Thalken — will play the Paper Mill Feb. 23-April 3. Based on the 1972 Ruth Gordon-Bud Cort film, the musical about an unlikely romance between a young man obsessed with suicides and an eccentric older woman will be directed by Mark S. Hoebee.
The cult favorite The Baker's Wife — the Broadway-bound musical that never quite made it to Broadway — will be mounted at the Paper Mill April 13-May 22. The Stephen Schwartz-Joseph Stein musical, which features the cabaret classic "Meadowlark," will be directed by Gordon Greenberg. The Baker's Wife is based on the film "La Femme du Boulanger" by Marcel Pagnol and Jean Giono; the musical's original cast included Paul Sorvino as the Baker and Patti LuPone in the title role. The Paper Mill season will conclude with the Tony-nominated epic musical Ragtime. The Stephen Flaherty-Lynn Ahrens -Terrence McNally musical based on E. L. Doctorow's novel will play June 8-July 17. Stafford Arima will direct the production about three remarkable American families; song titles include "Back to Before," "Wheels of a Dream," "Our Children," "Make Them Hear You" and "Your Daddy's Son."
Tickets for the 2004-2005 season are currently on sale; individual tickets will be available beginning April 16. The Paper Mill Playhouse is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. Call (973) 376-4343 for more information or visit www.papermill.org.