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Paper Mill's Angelo Del Rossi to be Honored at Sardi's 7/16


Angelo Del Rossi, who helmed the famed Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn , New Jersey for forty years and launched the careers of many performers such as Kristin Chenoweth, Anne Hathaway and Laura Benanti, will be honored at Sardi's Thursday, July 16.

Roy Miller, producer of Broadway's current revival of West Side Story, The Drowsy Chaperone, and the upcoming Ragtime revival, will host the gathering on July 16 and unveil a bronze plaque in Del Rossi's honor. The plaque, donated by friends of Del Rossi, will be mounted permanently on the outer wall of the non-profit New Jersey theatre. The plaque features Del Rossi's likeness and the following inscription:

Angelo Del Rossi - Dedicated Champion of the Arts,
Executive Producer, Loyal Friend, and Inspirational Mentor
In Honor of His Visionary Leadership at Paper Mill Playhouse from 1963 to 2003

Miller worked alongside Del Rossi as Paper Mill's Associate Producer from 1991 to 2004. "The first show I worked on at Paper Mill was West Side Story," said Miller. "Had someone told me back then that I would produce the current Broadway revival, I never would have believed them. Looking back though, it all seems to make sense. Angelo taught me to take great risk and to follow my passion. He instilled those traits in the hundreds of actors and artisans who worked for him. I know I speak for everyone when I say that I will be forever indebted to him."

Those attending the July 16 event are director/choreographer Susan Stroman, Tony Roberts, Leslie Uggams, Betsy Palmer, George S. Irving, Lee Roy Reams, Judy McLane, Paul Iacono (star of the upcoming remake of Fame), Jim Walton, costume designer Gregg Barnes, and many others who worked for Del Rossi during his tenure at Paper Mill.

A native of New Jersey , Del Rossi attended Rutgers University and graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse School in New York . He joined Paper Mill Playhouse in 1963, became Associate Producer in 1965, and was appointed Executive Producer in 1975.

Del Rossi was the driving force behind the rebuilding of Paper Mill after its destruction by fire in 1980. Under his administration, the theatre became one of the most acclaimed and successful non-profit regional theatres in America , creating original and American Premiere productions. Paper Mill's 2001 production of I'm Not Rappaport transferred to Broadway, starring Judd Hirsch and Ben Vereen. Other Paper Mill productions represented on Broadway include You Can't Take It With You starring Colleen Dewhurst and Jason Robards, and The Glass Menagerie starring Maureen Stapleton. You Can't Take It With You was also filmed for television and broadcast nationwide on PBS' "Great Performances," as were its productions of Show Boat (two Emmy Award nominations) and Crazy For You (also nominated for an Emmy). Inherit the Wind, starring E.G. Marshall and Robert Vaughn, won Showtime TV's "Search for Excellence in American Theatre."

Original cast recordings include Stephen Schwartz's Children of Eden starring Stephan ie Mills and Adrian Zmed (RCA), and the highly acclaimed Follies featuring an all-star cast lead by Ann Miller (TVT records). USA Today named Gypsy, starring Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson, "One of the Top Ten Theatrical Events of the nation's 1998 theatre season." Paper Mill also produced the highly successful tours of A Chorus Line and Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Patrick Cassidy, Deborah Gibson and the Osmond Brothers 2nd Generation. The highly acclaimed Paper Mill production of Comfortable Shoes starring Clint Holmes and La Chanze is earmarked for Broadway and will be produced by Miller.

Del Rossi is a founding member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and has served on the panels of the Opera-Musical Theatre program of the National Endowment for the Arts and on its policy and planning committee. A recipient of numerous awards, he was honored by a special resolution from the floor of the New Jersey Senate. As a performer, Del Rossi appeared in film, television and on Broadway in Cherie in 1962.

He continues to proudly support the non-profit theatre from the sidelines. "It is my hope that everyone will recognize the need to support Paper Mill, and non-profit theatres everywhere, especially during these difficult economic times," said Del Rossi. Miller added, "I applaud the current Leadership, Board and staff of Paper Mill for carrying on Angelo's rich legacy. Paper Mill will always be home to all of us who were fortunate enough to have worked there -- thanks to our good friend Angelo."

Pictured: Paper Mill's Angelo Del Rossi and Producer Roy Miller
Photo credit: Charlie Siedenburg

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