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Estelle Parsons to star in the world premiere of "Harold & Maude: The Musical" at Paper Mill Playhouse Jan. 5 - Feb. 13, 2005

Paper Mill Playhouse is proud to present the world premiere of "Harold & Maude: The Musical," starring Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons, Eric Millegan, Donna English, Donna Lynne Champlin and Danny Burstein.  Directed and choreographed by Paper Mill's Associate Artistic Director, Mark S. Hoebee, "Harold & Maude: The Musical" begins performances January 5 and runs for six weeks through February 13, 2005 (Press Opening, Sunday, January 9 at 7:30pm).  Tickets $31 - $68 are on sale now.  Student rush tickets are $16 available day of performance with current ID.   For tickets call 973-376-4343 or buy online at www.papermill.org.
 
"Harold & Maude: The Musical" features a book and lyrics by veteran librettist/lyricist Tom Jones ("The Fantasticks," "110 in the Shade," and "I Do, I Do"), and music by talented newcomer Joseph Thalken ("Was"). Like the 1971 cult film favorite on which it is based, this first collaboration of veteran writer Tom Jones and emerging composer Joseph Thalken tells a funny and life-affirming story about the unlikely romance between an eccentric young man morbidly obsessed with suicides and an equally eccentric old woman who is as much in love with life as he is with death.
 
"Harold & Maude: The Musical" stars Academy Award-winner and Tony Award nominee Estelle Parsons, Eric Millegan as Harold Chasen, Donna English as Mrs. Chasen, in multiple roles are Danny Burstein and Donna Lynne Champlin.  The production team for "Harold & Maude: The Musical" includes:  Rob Odorisio (Sets), Miguel Huidor (Costumes), John Paul Szczepanski (Lights), and Duncan Robert Edwards (Sound).  David Loud is Musical Director.
 
About the film:  While a film student at UCLA, writer/director Colin Higgins made a short subject for his master's thesis. That short was later expanded into the 1970 feature film "Harold and Maude," which also represented Higgins' debut as a producer.  The Paramount film, directed by Hal Ashby, with music by Cat Stevens, starred Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Charles Tyner and Ellen Geer. Combining Higgins' two favorite movie elements, slapstick comedy and sudden death, Harold and Maude achieved an almost instantaneous cult success.

Meet the Creators:

Tom Jones (Book and Lyrics) is a veteran musical theater lyricist and librettist.  For 50 years he was partnered with fellow college mate Harvey Schmidt, together, they created their intimate masterpiece "The Fantasticks" in 1960, which ran for an astounding 41 years at New York's Sullivan Street Playhouse, introducing "Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "Try to Remember." Their other shows include "110 in the Shade,"  "I Do, I Do," "Celebration," "Philemon," "Collette Collage," "Mirette," "Roadside," "The Show Goes On," and a musical version of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," called "Grover's Corners."  Tom was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1999.

Joseph Thalken (Music) is a recipient of two Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Commendations and the Constance Klinsky Award for excellence in writing for musical theatre.  His most recent projects is the musical "Was" a dark "Wizard of Oz"-themed musical that interweaves two tales — one about the inspiration for the character of Dorothy, the other about an "Oz"-obsessed actor, written with Barry Kleinbort.  Joe was a participant in the ASCAP Workshop and BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, and is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Estelle Parsons (Maude). An Academy Award winner, Miss Parsons has distinguished herself in all major areas of the entertainment field.  She made her Broadway debut in "Happy Hunting" with Ethel Merman.  In 1963 she won a Theatre World Award for her performance in "Mrs. Dally Has a Lover."   Her numerous Broadway credits include "The Pirates of Penzance," "Miss Margarida's Way," "Orgasmo Adulto Escapes From the Zoo," "Seven Descents of Myrtle," "And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little," "The Norman Conquests," and "Morning's At Seven." Ms. Parsons has served as Artistic Director of the Actors Studio and directed Oscar Wilde's "Salome" on Broadway with Al Pacino, Marisa Tomei and Dianne Wiest.  Most recently she starred in David Hare's "The Bay at Nice" at Hartford Stage and Off-Broadway in Horton Foote's "The Day Emily Married."  The year after she won the Academy Award for "Bonnie and Clyde," she was nominated for a second Oscar for Paul Newman's "Rachel, Rachel."  Numerous TV credits include her role as Mother Bev on "Roseanne," several appearances on "All in the Family" and "Archie's Place," Bess Truman in "Backstairs at the White House," and Hallmark's "The Love Letter."  She is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the League of Professional Theatre Women.  During the run of "Harold & Maude: The Musical," Estelle will be inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre on January 24, 2005.

Returning to Paper Mill is Eric Millegan in the lead role of Harold Chasen.  Eric was featured as the "Young Fool" in our 1997 production of "Big River."  Most recently, he was seen in "Martha & Me: A Musical" at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival and Charles Bloom's "Insomnia" at the 2004 Midtown International Theatre Festival. Last year, he appeared Off-Broadway as Eugene in Julie Book's new play, "Constellations," as Simon in Brian Lane Green's new musical, "Waiting for the Glaciers to Melt," and was named "Hottest Up and Coming Openly Gay Actor of 2003" by OUT Magazine. On Broadway, he's performed in "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Hair" (Encores!), and "Dead Man Walking" (NY City Opera).  On TV, he's played roles on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "100 Centre Street," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm." His regional theater credits include roles at the Guthrie Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, and the Repertory Theater of Saint Louis.  Eric is an alumnus of the Interlochen Arts Camp and holds a B.F.A in musical theater from the University of Michigan. www.ericmillegan.com.

Donna English (Mrs. Chasen) returns to Paper Mill, where she played Elsa Schraeder in "The Sound of Music" and Rose in "The Secret Garden."  Donna recently starred in the new musical "Princesses" at Goodspeed-at-Chester. She made her Broadway debut in George Abbott's play "Broadway," directed by the author.  Other NYC credits include "Forbidden Broadway Strikes Back!" (Where she did wicked imitations of Julie Andrews, Glenn Close and Madonna), "Taking a Chance on Love," "Company" at the York Theatre Co. and originated the roles of Judy/Ginger in "Ruthless!" which earned her a 1993 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.  English was Hope Harcourt in the national tour of "Anything Goes," and her numerous regional credits include Lily Garland in "On the Twentieth Century," Mrs. Anna Leonowens in "The King and I," the title role in "Victor/Victoria," and Countess Charlotte in "A Little Night Music."  Donna is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Danny Burstein (One Man) Broadway credits include "Saint Joan;" "The Seagull;" "Three Men on a Horse;" "A Little Hotel on the Side;" "The Flowering Peach;" "A Class Act;" "Titanic," and "Company." Off-Broadway: "Mrs. Farnsworth," "Psych;" "All in the Timing;" "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change;" "The Boys from Syracuse;" "Li'l Abner;" "Merrily We Roll Along;" "Weird Romance;" and "The Rothchilds." Regional: "Harmony" at the La Jolla Playhouse (Drama-Logue Award); "Time and Again" at the Old Globe Theatre. Film/TV: Martin on BBC's "Absolutely Fabulous"; "Ed"; "Law & Order"; "Third Watch"; the animated film, "Santa Baby;" "Duane Incarnate"; soaps, and commercials.   Mr. Burstein received his training at New York's famed High School of the Performing Arts, the Moscow Art Theatre, Queens College (BA) and the University of California, San Diego (MFA). He is married to actress Rebecca Luker.

Donna Lynne Champlin (One Woman) makes her PMP debut.  She was most recently seen regionally as Sophie in the Berkeley Rep's "Master Class" (starring Rita Moreno and directed by Moises Kaufman).  Donna Lynne's Broadway credits include "Hollywood Arms," James Joyce's "The Dead," "By Jeeves," City Center's Encores! "Bloomer Girl."   Off-Broadway Donna Lynne has been featured in "My Life with Albertine" (Grandmother/Francoise), "First Lady Suite" (Mary Gallagher).   A favorite at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT, Donna Lynne has been featured in "By Jeeves," "Very Good Eddie," and "No, No, Nanette." www.donnalynnechamplin.com.

Mark S. Hoebee (Director/Choreographer) serves as Paper Mill's Associate Artistic Director. A native of Freehold, NJ, Hoebee resides in Maplewood. He has directed the Paper Mill's productions of "Baby," "Grease," "Miss Saigon," "The King and I," "Victor/Victoria," "The Will Rogers Follies," "Dreamgirls," and "Love Letters." A graduate of Northwestern University, Mark is a veteran of many Broadway and National Tours. Recent directing credits include the National Tour of "Company," Diahann Carroll in "Almost like Being in Love: An Evening with Lerner & Loewe," and "American Idol's" Frenchie Davis in a West Coast tour of "Dreamgirls."

Paper Mill Family Week – January 5 through 9, 2005: During Family Week for each of our shows, patrons may purchase one full price adult ticket and get one children's ticket (age 18 and under) for half price!  This special offer is subject to restrictions and availability.  Not to be combined with any other offer.  Does not apply to previously purchased tickets.  Not available for sale on our website.
 
Paper Mill Conversation series: FREE and open to the public!

Join Paper Mill's Associate Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee, who also serves as the director for "Harold & Maude: The Musical" and Director of Education Susan Speidel for a conversation on the process of bringing this new work for the American musical theatre to the Paper Mill stage.  Meet in the theater's mezzanine on the following Thursday evenings, January 6, 13, 20, 27 and February 3 and 10 at 7:00pm. The Conversation Series is free to all Thursday evening ticket holders, and is an educational way to further enjoy your Paper Mill experience.
 
Paper Mill Audio-Described Performances (Sensory seminar 90 minutes prior to curtain)
Thursday, February 3, 2005, 12:30pm seminar, 2:00pm curtain

Saturday, February 5, 2005, 1:00pm seminar, 2:30pm curtain

Sunday, February 6, 2005, 6:00pm seminar, 7:30pm curtain
 
Paper Mill Sign-Interpreted/Open-Captioned Performances
Sunday, February 6, 2005 at 7:30pm

About the Theatre:         Paper Mill Playhouse, located on Brookside Drive in Millburn, NJ, 07041, is easily accessible by car from both New York (40 min. from midtown) and New Jersey via the Garden State Parkway, NJ Turnpike and I-78.  From NYC: PATH trains to Hoboken change to NJ Transit Train to Dover and get off at Millburn.  The theatre is a short walk from the train.  NJ Transit's Midtown Direct offers nonstop service from Manhattan to Millburn on selected days and times, convenient for weekday matinees and Saturday/Sunday performances.  For further information call NJ Transit at 800-772-2222.  Paper Mill Playhouse is barrier-free and completely accessible to people with disabilities; TTY box office number: 973-376-2181 for patrons who are hearing impaired.  For each production, Paper Mill offers audio-described performances for the visually impaired, as well as sign-interpreted and open captioned performances for the hearing impaired. Braille and large-print programs, as well as infrared listening systems are also available for selected performances.
 
Tickets/Information:        Tickets $31-$68.  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  All tickets subject to a $1.25 facility preservation fee.

$16 student rush tickets available day of performance with current ID.
BOX OFFICE PHONE: 973-376-4343; Group Sales (20 or more): 973-379-3636 x2438
 
Children under the age of 4 are not permitted into main stage productions
 
"Harold & Maude: The Musical" is made possible in part by funds from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, A partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts,

And by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts
 
Expect the Unexpected!  DISCOVER JERSEY ARTS www.jerseyarts.com  1-800-THE-ARTS

For over 65 years as one of the country's leading regional theatres, Paper Mill Playhouse, a not-for-profit arts organization, is supported in part by grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, in addition to contributions from many corporations, foundations, businesses and individuals.  Paper Mill is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the National Alliance for Music Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
 
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE for "Harold & Maude: The Musical"

January 5 through February 13, 2005

Wednesday, January 5           8:00pm                                                          
Thursday, January 6               2:00pm and 8:00pm
Friday, January 7                   8:00pm
Saturday, January 8                2:30pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, January 9                  2:00pm and 7:30pm (Press Opening)

Wednesday, January 12         8:00pm
Thursday, January 13             2:00pm and 8:00pm
Friday, January 14                  8:00pm
Saturday, January 15              2:30pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, January 16                2:00pm and 7:30pm
 
Wednesday, January 19         8:00pm
Thursday, January 20             2:00pm and 8:00pm
Friday, January 21                  8:00pm
Saturday, January 22              2:30pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, January 23                2:00pm and 7:30pm

Wednesday, January 26         8:00pm
Thursday, January 27             2:00pm and 8:00pm
Friday, January 28                  8:00pm
Saturday, January 29              2:30pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, January 30                2:00pm and 7:30pm

Wednesday, February 2         8:00pm
Thursday, February 3 2:00pm (audio-described) and 8:00pm
Friday, February 4                   8:00pm
Saturday, February 5  2:30pm (audio-described) and 8:00pm
Sunday, February 6                2:00pm and 7:30pm (audio-described, sign-interpreted and open-captioned)

Wednesday, February 9         8:00pm
Thursday, February 10           2:00pm and 8:00pm
Friday, February 11                 8:00pm
Saturday, February 12            2:30pm and 8:00pm
Sunday, February 13             2:00pm and 7:30pm   

Next on the Paper Mill stage:
 
"The Drawer Boy" by Michael Healey
February 23 through April 3, 2005
 
Starring John Mahoney (TV's "Frasier" – Tony Winner "The House of Blue Leaves")
Directed by Anna D. Shapiro


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