Outstanding Students Selected For Prestigious Musical Theater Conservatory At Paper Mill Playhouse

Paper Mill Playhouse has selected students to be a part of the theater's prestigious Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory for 2019.

Members of the competitive Conservatory who earned coveted spots in the Senior (ages 15-18), Junior Plus (ages 13-14), and Junior companies (ages 10-12) are directed and choreographed by Paper Mill Playhouse's professional artistic staff in a fully produced, original concert titled, New Voices of 2019: Learn Your Lessons Well.

The concert is a culmination of the five-week conservatory program. Also appearing are numerous nominees of the 2019 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards presented by the Investors Foundation, who won scholarships to attend the Conservatory. The Summer Musical Theater Conservatory and New Voices are supported by Investors Foundation. Paper Mill Playhouse Education & Outreach are proudly sponsored by The Goren Family & Harmony Helper.

Performances of New Voices of 2019: Learn Your Lessons Well will be held on August 2 at 7:30pm and August 3 at 1:30pm &7:30pm at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ. Tickets range in price from $25 to $45. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, online at www.papermill.org, or by visiting the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office.

"From the first day of class all the way through opening night of New Voices, we require our students to rise to the demands of this rigorous program," stated Lisa Cooney, Paper Mill Playhouse Director of Education.

"We ask them to work harder than they ever have before as young performers, and we strive to build an incredible ensemble company, while each student hones their own individual performance skills. Our faculty pushes the students to believe in themselves as professional artists and treats them as such. We find summer after summer that our students meet our expectations and more. When they move on to college or the professional world, they are ready for the challenges they'll face, and time and again they thrive and ultimately live their dream of being a professional performer. It's gratifying when they make a name or themselves on Broadway or in Hollywood, but even if they do not, the skills they learn and the work ethic they develop will serve them in any field."

The Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theater Conservatory is a program of rigorous study allowing students to enhance their individual performance potential while developing a broad base of theater experience and knowledge. Students participate in intensive classes including musical theater performance, acting, dance, private voice lessons, and improvisation, while also attending guest workshops led by professional actors, directors, and casting agents.

The final weeks are devoted to rehearsals for the annual New Voices Concert. The Conservatory offers the unique opportunity for gifted and talented young performers to work at their own level and challenge themselves to achieve new goals and learn new skills. Key to the curriculum is the development of self-discipline, respect, and a commitment to excellence that will serve these young artists throughout their lives. The New Voices Concert is the culmination of the five-week program.

"New Voices is an amazing opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow," stated Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill's Producing Artistic Director. "This fully produced, original concert features over 120 incredible performers. It is amazing to see these young performers grow into professional artists and grace the stage with an inspiring, heartfelt performance."

Many of the students from Paper Mill Playhouse's Conservatory have gone on to appear on Broadway, in regional theater productions, in film and on television.

Conservatory Alumni include:
  • Anne Hathaway - Twelfth Night, Film: Les Misérables (2013 Academy Award Winner), Rachel Getting Married (2009 Academy Award & Golden Globe nominee), Get Smart, Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada, & Disney's The Princess Diaries.
  • Ali Stroker - Tony Award winner for Oklahoma, Broadway: Spring Awakening, Oxygen's The Glee Project: Season 2; PaperMill's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive Ostrovsky)
  • Laura Benanti - Broadway: She Loves Me, Gypsy (2008 Tony Award winner), Into the Woods, The Wedding Singer, Swing!
  • Julia Knitel - Broadway: Beautiful: the Carole King Musical (u/s Carole King); Bye Bye Birdie
  • Robert McClure -Broadway: Something Rotten, Honeymoon in Vegas, Chaplin, Avenue Q
  • Shanice Williams- NBC's The Wiz Live!
  • Joshua Dela Cruz - Broadway's Disney's Aladdin (Aladdin Understudy)
  • Nikki M. James - Broadway: Les Misérables, Book of Mormon (2011 Tony Award winner), All Shook Up
  • Avery Espiritu: Broadway: The King and I
  • Alex Drier - Broadway: Finding Neverland, Assembled Parties
  • Daisy Hobbs - Broadway: Disney's Aladdin
  • Matthew Scott - Broadway: Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair (Ralph), Sondheim on Sondheim
  • Collin Kelly-Sordelet - Broadway: The Last Ship (Young Gideon)
  • Jared Gertner - Olivier Award nominee West End, Broadway & National Tour of The Book Of Mormon (Elder Cunningham)
  • Veronica J. Kuehn - Broadway: Mamma Mia!, Xanadu; Off Broadway: Avenue Q
  • Neil McCaffrey - Broadway: Mary Poppins (Michael), Bye, Bye Birdie (Randolph), Billy Elliot (Michael)
  • Monette McKay - Broadway: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, Memphis, Mamma Mia!
  • Constantine Rousouli - Broadway: Hairspray (Link), Ghost the Musical, Wicked
  • Jonathan Schwartz - Broadway's Disney's Aladdin (Omar)
  • Elizabeth Egan Gillies - Nickelodeon's Victorious; Broadway: 13! The Musical
  • Lael Van Keuran - Broadway: Sister Act
  • Matt Ban - Broadway: Rock of Ages (Dennis)
Conservatory alumna Julia Knitel, who played the role of Carole King on the national tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, states, "Growing up, I was always in the ensemble. That was where I'd feel comfortable because I love being a team player. That's one of the things that was so great about being at Paper Mill Playhouse, because in their Conservatory you had an equal amount of dancing, singing and acting training every day. I got a great foundation in being a team player and ensemble member, and serving a production. The producers and creatives of Beautiful saw in me something they couldn't find elsewhere."
Noted Broadway talent agents and casting directors flock to New Voices every summer. Victoria Kress, Abrams Artists Youth Theatrical Agent states, "(I'm always) super excited to head to Paper Mill Playhouse for their New Voices show! Having trained some amazing performers, I know this night will prove to be no different! It's one of my best scouting field trips of every summer."
Nora Brennan, casting director for Matilda, Billy Elliot, and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, agrees, "The kids were great, the show was fun and entertaining, and the material was tailored so that each child shone. Well done!" Paper Mill's professional casting partner, Telsey + Company, attends annually and often offers workshops to our advanced students.


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