Robert De Niro to Helm World Premiere of New Alan Menken Musical at Paper Mill

News   Robert De Niro to Helm World Premiere of New Alan Menken Musical at Paper Mill
New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse has announced its 2015-16 season, which will feature five musicals and two world premieres, including Bandstand, directed and choreographed by Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler; as well as the new Alan Menken musical A Bronx Tale, directed by Oscar winner Rober De Niro and Tony winner Jerry Zaks.

Launching the new season in October will be the premiere of Bandstand, directed and choreographed by Blankenbuehler. Bandstand is billed as a "big-band musical", chronicling the story of a mismatched band of WWII veterans who join together to compete in a radio contest with dreams of stardom. Featuring music by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Oberacker, it is described as "emotionally charged and beautifully crafted." Tony winner Beth Leavel and Tony Award nominees Laura Osnes and Jarrod Spector were part of a New York City workshop in September last year. Performances begin Oct. 8 through Nov. 8.

The holiday season will see the staging of A Christmas Story: The Musical, with music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Joseph Robinette. The holiday musical is based on the classic 1983 movie about Ralphie's desperate quest to ensure his most desired gift ends up under the tree. Performances run Nov. 25 through Jan. 3, 2016.

The new year kicks off with the world premiere of A Bronx Tale, with music by Tony and Oscar winner Menken (Aladdin, Newsies), based on Chazz Palminteri's one-man show that played an extended run on Broadway in 2007. Helmed by De Niro and Zaks, the show features lyrics by School of Rock The Musical lyricist Glenn Slater and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, who is working on the new Gloria Estefan musical On Your Feet, which will hit Broadway this November. A Bronx Tale is set against the backdrop of organized crime and racial tension in the 1960s, focused on an Italian-American teenager who must choose between his father and a mob-boss father figure who is intent on taking him in. Performances will run Feb. 4 through March 6, 2016.

"We are proud to have created an irresistible lineup of stories you will love, glorious music that will warm your heart and many memorable moments of theater magic," said Paper Mill's producing artistic director Mark S. Hoebee in a press statement.

The season will also feature Pump Boys and Dinettes, with a book, lyrics and music by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann; as well as the celebrated classic West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents. For more information visit PaperMill.

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