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Former Paper Mill Playhouse Executive Producer Angelo Del Rossi Passes Away


Paper Mill Playhouse lost its former Executive Producer Angelo Del Rossi on Saturday, August 30, 2014. Angelo Del Rossi helmed Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, for forty years. A funeral service was held on Monday, September 1, 2014 in Montclair, NJ. Paper Mill Playhouse is planning a memorial tribute at the Millburn theater where the entire theater community can celebrate the life of Angelo Del Rossi. Date, time and more information is forthcoming. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial contributions to the Angelo Del Rossi Scholarship Fund, Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ, 07041.

"During his 40-year tenure, Angelo certainly earned his role as the 'face of Paper Mill'," commented Mark S. Hoebee the theater's Producing Artistic Director. "You couldn't mention one without immediately thinking of the other. He led the organization through some of the theater's most prosperous years in the 1980s when Paper Mill was establishing itself as a world-class venue and incubator for new works. He was a kind and empathetic leader who was a friend to everyone. He was an incredible mentor to me personally, generously teaching me the lessons he had learned through his many years at the helm while also encouraging me to forge a new path for the playhouse. He was a larger-than-life figure in the story of Paper Mill Playhouse and in the community it serves. He will be dearly missed."

A native of New Jersey, Del Rossi attended Rutgers University and graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse School in New York before joining Paper Mill Playhouse team in 1963. Under his administration, the theater became one of the most acclaimed and successful non-profit regional theaters in America, creating original and American premiere productions.

Angelo Del Rossi was a familiar and respected leader in the theater community. He was the driving force behind the rebuilding of the playhouse after its destruction by fire in 1980. After the rebuilding of the theater, Del Rossi continued to capture the attention of leading theater luminaries such as George Abbott, Stephen Sondheim, Maury Yeston, Stephen Schwartz and Jerry Herman, who willingly turned to Paper Mill Playhouse to introduce new work or bring new life to their previous successes.

He led the organization through some of the theater's most prosperous years when Paper Mill Playhouse was establishing itself as a world-class venue and incubator for new plays and musicals. Some of the most admired works during Del Rossi's time at Paper Mill Playhouse included Follies, Children of Eden, Crazy for You, Showboat, You Can't Take It With You and more.

Del Rossi was a founding member of the National Alliance for Musical Theater and served on the panels of the Opera-Musical Theater 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.

"Angelo was the consummate gentleman, beloved by all who met him," stated Trustee Carolyn Ferolito. "He was the face of Paper Mill and a dedicated ambassador of the theater. His grace and charm will be remembered by many, for many years to come."

"We, as Paper Mill employees were always proud to be part of Angelo's staff," remarked Anne Pollock, the theater's Human Resources Manager. "Angelo was a kind, charismatic, and commanding leader of our theater for 40 years. Angelo had a way of making both employees and patrons feel special when they were in his presence."

"Angelo always made his staff at Paper Mill feel like this was a family," said Mickey McNany, Paper Mill's Theatre School Director. "He cared about everyone who worked here and always made it a point to let them know they were supported and appreciated. He was a true gentleman and he led the theater with great charm and charisma. He was a trailblazer in the world of theater and opened the door to the possibility of many new and exciting programs. As we celebrate over 25 years of our Theatre School, we will always remember that it was Angelo who had the foresight to say yes when he was approached with the brand-new idea of starting a school. The thousands of students who have come to know the magic of theater through 'his' Paper Mill thank him for this wonderful gift!"

"Angelo was the charismatic 'face' of Paper Mill for decades, commented Patrick Parker, Paper Mill's Associate Artistic Director. " As the leader of one of the premiere regional theaters in the country and a founding father of the National Alliance For Musical Theatre, his contribution to preserving the art form of the American Musical is immeasurable. He dearly loved artists/performers and dearly loved seeing the joy that Paper Mill productions brought to thousands upon thousands of patrons during his tenure."

"I have memories of him beginning in 1974," remarked Bill Fergus, Paper Mill Playhouse's House Manager. "He was Frank Carrington's associate at the time and I only saw him on opening nights, but when he entered the lobby before the show, in his tuxedo, with his movie star looks, he turned heads. It was something though, beyond his curly black hair and almost startling appearance, he had this charm about him, this air, this charisma that made you notice him. When he received a phone call or a letter from a patron where a staff member was mentioned as helping out the patron, Angelo always took the time to personally pen a thank you note to the staff member."

Fergus continues, "I remember one hot summer day in 1983, when most of the offices during that time were without any air conditioning, and, he had just come from town and was eating an ice cream. An employee jokingly said to him, well you could have brought some for us too. Twenty minutes later, Angelo showed up with ice cream for everybody."

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