Paper Mill, the New Jersey nonprofit theatre devoted to high profile revivals and new works welcomes a new production of A Chorus Line, currently on a summer mini-tour, as its 2001-2001 season opener, Sept. 5-Oct. 14.
The revival, directed and choreographed by Baayork Lee, the show's original "Connie Wong," is currently in Atlanta and will play other dates before settling into the Paper Mill run. Fran Liebergall is musical director.
A revised revival of Cole Porter's Red, Hot and Blue, adapted and directed by Michael Leeds, plays Paper Mill Oct. 24-Dec. 2, offering New Jersey audiences the same hit score heard when the work premiered at Goodspeed Opera House in 2000: "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Ridin' High," "It's De-Lovely" and "Just One of Those Things." Andy Blankenbuehler choreographs, Tom Helm is musical director, Ann Hould-Ward designs costumes and Ken Billington is lighting designer.
Judd Hirsch repeats his Tony Award-winning role of prickly liberal Nat in Herb Gardner's comedy, I'm Not Rappaport, Feb. 20-March 24, 2002. Daniel Sullivan (Proof) directs the play about a couple of octogenarians who resist being put out to pasture. The production is co-produced by Ford's Theater in Washington, DC, and Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2002, and director Mark S. Hoebee stages a revival for Paper Mill, April 3-May 19, 2002. Scenic design is by Michael Anania, Tom Helm is musical director. Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, the musical version of Pygmalion, ends the season, June 5-July 21, 2002, with Tom Helm musical directing, Michael Anania designing the set and Gregg Barnes designing costumes.
Another mainstage production has yet to be announced, for the Jan. 9-Feb. 10 slot.
Paper Mill, in Millburn, NJ, also offers a host of children's theatre programming — 11 productions, plus New Jersey Ballet's Nutcracker. The Paper Mill concert series in 2001-2002 includes such Broadway luminaries as Barbara Cook (Sept. 25), Donna McKechnie (Oct. 2), Linda Eder (a holiday concert Dec. 5) and Jackie Mason (May 20-24, 2002), and more.
For more information, call (973) 376-4343 or visit www.papermill.org.
Paper Mill, which bills itself as the state theatre of New Jersey, has a national profile from PBS broadcasts of its productions of Show Boat and Crazy For You, and regularly lures major stars to its venune, 45 minutes from Broadway by train.
The theatre's 2001-2002 brochure quietly drops the word "Playhouse" from the organization's longtime identity. The change is an effort to simplify the brand name and get rid of any negative or confusing reference the word "Playhouse" may conjure. Similarly, Goodspeed Opera House was changed to Goodspeed Musicals, Old Globe Theatre in San Diego now goes by Globe Theatres and Canadian Stage Company in Toronto now calls itself CanStage.
— By Kenneth Jones