Paper Mill: The State Theatre of New Jersey will present the New Jersey premiere of Charles Randolph-Wright's Blue next season.
Featuring direction by Sheldon Epps, Blue will begin performances at the New Jersey Theatre on Jan. 8, 2003, with an official opening on Jan. 10 and will run through Feb. 9. Set in a funeral home in South Carolina, Randolph Wright's comedy tells the story of the Clark clan, a well-to-do African American family.
Jazz plays a large role in the lives of the Clarks, and the play features music by Nona Hendryx and lyrics by Hendryx and Randolph-Wright. The original production of Blue was mounted at Washington, D.C.'s Arena Stage in April 2000, and a subsequent run at Off-Broadway's Gramercy Theatre in June 2001 boasted a cast that included "Cosby Show" actress Phylicia Rashad and former Renter Michael McElroy.
Playwright Charles Randolph-Wright, who is an Associate Artist at the Arena Stage Theatre, was an original cast member of Broadway's Dreamgirls. Also a director, his production of Guys and Dolls is currently on a national tour. Director Epps is the Artistic Director of the Pasadena Playhouse, and he helmed the Off-Broadway production of Blue, which received enthusiastic notices.
Paper Mill's 2002-2003 season also includes Miss Saigon (Sept. 4 Oct. 20), Annie (Oct. 30-Dec. 8), the aforementioned Blue (Jan. 8 Feb. 9), the new musical Romeo and Bernadette (Feb. 19 March 23), Camelot (April 2- May 18) and Grease (June 4- July 20). Subscriptions for the series go on sale July 8 and are available by calling (973) 379-3717. Paper Mill: State Theatre of New Jersey is located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ. For more information, go to www.papermill.org
—By Andrew Gans