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Paper Mill to Stay Open for Now; Future Still Uncertain

Paper Mill Playhouse is open, for now. 

Due to tremendous community support, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers had its first public performance on Wednesday, April 11.  Audience reaction was extremely positive with a show-stopping dance number during the performance receiving thunderous, mid-scene applause and a standing ovation at the curtain call.  Since the start of Paper Mill's aggressive public fund-raising drive to save the theater, over 1,300 donors have made contributions and pledges in excess of $500,000 to the theater. As previously reported, this grassroots generosity and show of support will enable Paper Mill Playhouse to proceed with the press opening of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on Sunday evening, April 15.  However, it is still uncertain if the production will be able to complete its run.  "Although the theater is engaged in accelerated negotiations to obtain a 'bridge loan' that would allow us to finish the season, it will likely take a minimum of two weeks to complete the loan process" says Diane Claussen, Paper Mill's Managing Director. "We need to raise an additional $500,000 to get us through the next two weeks of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
 
The Broadway community has embraced Paper Mill as their home theater as contributions have been pouring in from all areas of Broadway and beyond.  Most recently Barry Weissler has committed to sending  Paper Mill Playhouse a donation from his foundation with a promise to encourage his counterparts at The League of American Theaters and Producers to contribute.  Donations have also come in from Tovah Feldshuh, Steven Schwartz, John Llyod Young, Jennifer Hope Willis, Karen Akers, David Zippel, Judy McLane, Charles Strauss and The Actors Equity Association. 
 
Paper Mill's Acting Artistic Director, Mark S. Hoebee explains that, "the short-term reprieve we received this week has allowed the theatre to continue its efforts to secure a 'bridge loan' to complete the season.  A loan will permit us to finish the season and to continue our efforts to raise money.  We cannot end the season in a deficit position.  We believe in the people of New Jersey.  They understand that this great not-for-profit theatre needs their help—we just have to give them the time and the chance to respond."  
 
Sales for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers arestrong.  The first week of performances is sold at over 80% of capacity, higher then any other show this season.  People from all walks of life have been calling in, making donations over the internet and stopping by the theater to offer their support.  Paper Mill's Director of Education, Susan Speidel reported, "A four-year-old from our 'Theater Tots' class showed up on Tuesday with her piggy bank in hand and told me, 'I want to be on the Paper Mill stage someday, this place can't close' as she emptied the contents into a donation bin."

Paper Mill Playhouse, a not-for-profit arts organization, is one of the country's leading regional theatres and is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, in addition to contributions from many corporations, foundations, businesses and individuals.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. 
 
Tickets are still available for both Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Pirates! and may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343 or logging on to the Paper Mill website - www.papermill.org.  The theatre is graciously accepting donations to "Save the Theater".  Please call 973-379-3636 ext. 2SAV or log onto the Paper Mill Playhouse website and make your donation today.
 



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