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Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 'Little Shop' Casting

 Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Artistic Director, Mark W. Jones-Executive Director) announces its mainstage production of Little Shop of Horrors, a musical written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. It's a musical comedy to die for – literally! The musical is based on Roger Corman's 1960 sci-fi comedy and includes several show-stopping numbers including "Skid Row (Downtown)," "Somewhere That's Green," and "Suddenly Seymour," as well as the title song.  Little Shop of Horrors will run at the Millburn theatre from June 4 through July 6, 2008. 
 
Press Opening is Sunday, June 8th at 7:30pm
 
Little Shop of Horrors will play the following performance schedule: Wednesdays at 7:30PM, Thursdays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM, Fridays at 8:00PM, Saturdays at 2:00PM & 8:00PM and Sundays at 2:00PM & 7:30PM.  Single tickets are now on sale starting at $25.00 in the mezzanine and $52.00 in the orchestra.  Student rush tickets are $20 and are available the day of performance in person with current student ID. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, or at the Paper Mill Box Office on Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at www.papermill.org.  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 25% discount on tickets and should call 973-379-3636 ext. 2438. 

When it debuted off-Broadway, The New York Times declared Little Shop of Horrors "a fiendish musical creature feature...as entertaining as it is exotic." Now, after becoming the third longest-running--and highest grossing--production in off-Broadway history, earning a myriad of awards, and inspiring a wildly popular film adaptation, this hilarious musical makes its Paper Mill Playhouse premiere. Seymour is just a down-and-out clerk in a downtown flower shop, but things start to look up when he discovers an unusual plant...with an even more unusual appetite. Written by the Academy Award-winning team behind Disney's Beauty and the Beast, this classic score blends rock n' roll, doo-wop, and Motown with lyrics so memorable, you'll find yourself singing along. So come join Seymour, a deranged dentist, the alluring Audrey, and the audacious Audrey II for this zany production that's absolutely out of this world.
Little Shop of Horrors brings an all-star cast to the Paper Mill Stage including: Stephen Berger (Mushnik), Darin DePaul, Badia Farha (Crystal), Jenny Fellner (Audrey), Jared Gertner (Seymour), Montego Glover (Chiffon), Angela Grovey (Ronnette), Stacey Harris, Michael Latini, Michael James Leslie (Voice of Audrey 2), Asa Somers (Orin) and Tally Sessions. See cast biographies below. 
 
Little Shop of Horrors will be directed by Mark Waldrop, who directed the hit Bea Arthur On Broadway. At Paper Mill Playhouse, Mr. Waldrop directed the critically acclaimed productions of Romeo and Bernadette and Gypsy starring Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson. Mr. Waldrop was the production supervisor and lyricist for Better Midler: The Divine Miss Millennium. As director, writer and lyricist for When Pigs Fly, Mr. Waldrop won the 1997 Drama Desk Award for Best Revue, the OBIE Award and the 1997 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. Other directorial credits include: My Deah, Pete 'n' Keely, Game Show, Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 and 3 of Hearts, The Songs of Mary Rogers. Vince Pesce will serve as choreographer for Little Shop of Horrors. Mr. Pesce's credits include: Clash of the Choirs (NBC); Grease: You're The One That I Want (NBC); Tracey Ullman: Live and Exposed (HBO) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (National Tour). His upcoming projects include: Cinderella starring Lea Salonga and Flower Drum Song (AMTSJ). Mr. Pesce served as Associate Choreographer for the Broadway companies of The Pajama Game starring Harry Connick Jr., Wonderful Town, and Little Shop of Horrors. After his run at Paper Mill Playhouse as music director for Romeo and Bernadette, Bruce Coyle will return to the Millburn theatre to musically direct Little Shop of Horrors.
 
Scenic coordination is by Adam Koch. Costumes will be designed by Matthew Hemesath. Lighting design is by Ben Stanton. Sound design is by Randy Hansen. Hair and wig design is by Charles LaPointe. The Production Stage Manager is Brian Meister.
 
CAST BIOGRAPHIES
 
Stephen Berger most recently portrayed Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA.  He made his Broadway debut in the 1982 revival of Neil Simon's Little Me. His other Broadway credits are Laughter on the 23rd. Floor, Wonderful Town, True West, The Dinner Party, Into the Woods and The Pajama Game. Off Broadway he was in the casts of A New Brain; That's Life; Beau Jest; Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh; Isn't it Romantic and Nite Club Confidential. Stephen has toured nationally in Annie, Rumors and Ken Hill's Phantom of the Opera. He has portrayed various judges and lawyers through the years on Law & Order.
 
Darin DePaul Broadway: Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. National Tours: Little Shop of Horrors, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys & Dolls, Funny Girl.  Previous Paper Mill Playhouse appearances – Gypsy, Rags, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife.  Off-Broadway & Regional: NYMF, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, California Music Circus, Stages St. Louis, Barter Theatre. Film & Television: Julie & Julia, featured voice in Fox's animated films Ice Age, Robots, and the Academy Award nominated short No Time For Nuts, Law & Order, Miami Vice, Nickelodeon's Welcome Freshman, USA Up All Night.
 
Badia Farha is a graduate of the Steinhart School of Music at NYU with a M.A. in Music Performance.  She recently completed the workshop of the new musical Leap of Faith as well as the production of Sister Act, which had a successful run at the Pasadena Playhouse and concluded at the ALLIANCE THEATRE in Atlanta.  Badia also lends her talents to the ever-growing production Things to Ruin by Joe Iconis.  Tours: Broadway 1st National tour of Little Shop of Horrors (Crystal), National/International tour of Rent.  Regional: Dreamgirls (Lorrell), Smokey Joe's Café (BJ), Ragtime, The Look of Love (1st Regional Production since Broadway), Damn Yankees (Gloria Thorpe), Shakin The Mess Outta Misery (Aunt Mae), and numerous others.  Concerts: Dreamgirls (Lorrell, NPAC).  Television: Who's Wedding Is It Anyway (Bride).  Recordings: Badia Farha (self titled debut album), 2nd untitled album coming soon. Education: B.A. Communications emphasizing Radio and Television from Kean University (NJ). 

Jenny Fellner Broadway: Sophie in Mamma Mia!. National Tour: Natalie/Ed in All Shook Up. Off-Broadway: Judith Anderson in The Devil's Disciple for the Irish Repertory Theatre; Sharon in Marcy in the Galaxy and Des in Crossing Brooklyn, both for the Transport Group. Other New York: Performed concerts at Lincoln Center (American Songbook Series); Merkin Concert Hall (Honoring David Zippel); Town Hall (Honoring Tony Walton). Regional: NSMT, The O'Neill Musical Theatre Conference, 5th Avenue Theatre, Goodspeed's Norma Terrace Theatre, Actors Playhouse, Bay St. Theatre. TV: Law & Order: SVU.
 
Jared Gertner appeared at Paper Mill as a teenager in Peter Pan and Big River.   Jared also won a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award in 1996 for his role as The Lion in The Wiz at Toms River North High School. Broadway: William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, as well as the San Francisco and Boston productions (IRNE Award- Best Actor).  Off-Broadway: Don't Quit Your Night Job, and the premiere of the play Anatomy 1968.  Regionally: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, St Louis Rep, Orpheum Theatre (Omaha), and 11th Hour Theatre (Philadelphia).  Film: Between Love and Goodbye, and The Suicide Auditions.   Education: NYU's Tisch. 
 
Montego Glover Broadway: The Color Purple, Dreamgirls Concert. Off-Broadway: The Pirates of Penzance, Radiant Baby, Ghetto Superstar. Regional: Aida (IRNE Award Winner), Once On This Island (Helen Hayes Award Nomination), Dreamgirls, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Ragtime, West Side Story, Oklahoma!, Footloose, Ain't Misbehavin', A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jesus Christ Superstar, Into The Woods, Cookin' At The Cookery (IRNE & Dora Award Nominations). Premieres: Saint Heaven, The Conservationist, Memphis (IRNE & SFTC Award Nominations). Commercials: Subway, Charmin, Wishbone, Verizon, Nickelodeon, McDonald's. TV/Film: Law & Order, Guiding Light, Wonderful World of Disney, Flicker Flutter. Florida State University B.F.A.
 
Angela Grovey is making her Paper Mill debut. Regional Credits: "Buddy" (Apollo Singer) Westchester Broadway Theatre, Spunk (Blues Speak) Actor's Theatre Louisville; World Goes Round (Woman 1) Barrington Stage; Thoroughly Modern Millie (Muzzy) Fulton Opera; Ain't Misbehavin (Nell) Maltz Jupiter; Crowns (Wanda) Arizona Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Abyssinia (Mavis) Goodspeed Opera, North Shore Music Theatre; Crowns (Mabel) Arena Stage, Geva Theatre, Studio Arena; Showboat (Ethel) Marriot; Kiss Me Kate (Hattie) Drury Lane; Bubbly Black Girl…(Granny) Apple Tree. Graduate of Roosevelt University's Theatre Conservatory in Chicago, IL.
 
Stacey Harris returns to Paper Mill, where she appeared in Of Thee I Sing and Grease.  She has performed on Broadway in Bells Are Ringing, off-Broadway in Lone Star Love and The Awesome 80's Prom, and in the national tours of Show Boat, Cinderella, and Dreamgirls.  Regional favorites include Chicago (Roxie), West Side Story (Anita), Bye Bye Birdie (Rose) Syncopation (Anna), Romance/Romance (Monica/Josefine), Grease (Rizzo), My One and Only (Edythe), Gypsy (Louise), A Chorus Line (Morales), Steel Magnolias (Shelby), and Last Night of Ballyhoo (Lala). Stacey is a graduate of Northwestern University
 
Michael Latini After years in technical theater, performance, and a BFA in Jewelry, Michael Latini began his puppetry career as "Bear" in Bear in the Big Blue House Live. He then moved to New York City and worked as a puppet builder with the creative teams of Little Shop of Horrors and Avenue Q. Michael has performed in the NYC Fringe Festival and at Carnegie Hall. He was also one of the puppeteers operating "Audrey II" in the Broadway National Tour of Little Shop. Michael's company, Monkey Boys Productions, will build and supply the puppets for this production.
 
Michael James Leslie returns to Paper Mill having performed as the Voice of the Plant in the Broadway and National Tours of Little Shop of Horrors.  Michael is a Cornell Law School graduate who made his debut in the Broadway revival of Hair.  He then played the Lion in the Broadway production of The Wiz.  Other productions include Beauty and the Beast, Sweeney Todd, Guys & Dolls, Man of La Mancha, Ain't Misbehavin, Call Me Madam (Paper Mill), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Once On This Island, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, My One and Only, and An Evening with Sir Tim Rice.  Michael also has performed on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the Conan O'Brien Show.  In 2005, Michael received a Best Supporting Actor Nomination from the Denver Ovation Awards for Little Shop of Horrors.
 
Tally Sessions National Tour: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Off-Broadway: The Joys of Sex, Godspell. NYMF: The Children, Yank!, Tim and Scrooge, The Happy Prince. NAMT: Meet John Doe. Regional: Signature Theatre: Assassins, The Gospel According to Fishman; Goodspeed Opera House: Lizzie Borden; Westport Country Playhouse: The Immigrant (Connecticut Critics Circle nomination); Florida Stage: The Spitfire Grill;  Actors' Playhouse: Urinetown (Carbonell Award nomination), The Full Monty (Carbonell Award), Beauty and the Beast (Carbonell Award nomination), Floyd Collins (Carbonell Award), Songs for a New World;  SpeakEasy Stage: The Last Five Years (IRNE Award nomination).
 
Asa Somers Broadway: Grey Gardens, Taboo, Dance of the Vampires, The Rocky Horror Show. Off- Broadway: Next to Normal, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (title role), Once Around The Sun. Regional: Tall Grass Gothic (Actor's Theatre Louisville), Man In The White Suit (NY Stage & Film), Hair (TUTS – Houston). Television: Law & Order, The Wedding Album, Law & Order: SVU, Whoopi, The Sopranos. Film: Ira & Abby, Never Forever (Sundance 2007), Clear Blue Tuesday. Yale Graduate.
 
Paper Mill Playhouse, a not-for-profit arts organization, is one of the country's leading regional theatres. Paper Mill's programs are made possible, 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. Additional major support is provided by funding through a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, the National Endowment for the Arts, and generous contributions from many corporations, foundations, 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.   



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