Paper Mill Playhouse Hosts The Pushcart Players

Paper Mill Playhouse Hosts The Pushcart Players

Paper Mill Playhouse presents Pushcart Players in "Stone Soup and other Stories" on Wednesday, February 27th at 10:00am. Pushcart is the Emmy-nominated educational theater for families, now in its 45th year of bringing something special to every young audience.

"STONE SOUP and other stories..." is a charming musical compilation of short literary favorites from Africa, India, Eastern Europe, and the United States of America. Filled with exuberant music, fantasy, and comic plot lines, each tale introduces the spirit and customs of these unique cultures. In so doing, the production provides a springboard for reading and subsequent literacy-related activities.

"The play gently raises universal value clarification issues," said Paul Whelihan, Pushcart artistic director. "Family audiences will be delighted by the show. Then they'll find themselves discussing why certain characters made certain choices, and how outcomes would have differed with different behavior, with other choices. That being said, the show is a fun-filled romp through delightful stories."

The cast of "Stone Soup..." includes: Oscar Castillo, Stacie Gogo, Phebe Taylor, and Corey Whelihan. The book is by Ruth Fost, Pushcart Players' co-founder. Orchestrations are by Tony and Drama Desk-Award winning composer, Larry Hochman, and choreography is by Susie Paplow. The play is directed by Paul Whelihan and stage-managed by Robert Evanick.

Oscar Castillo has been a member of Pushcart Players for twelve years. A graduate of Kean University with a BFA in theatre, Oscar co-founded The Theatre Project and performs frequently throughout NYC with Peculiar Works Productions.

Stacie Gogo is a graduate of Wilkes University with a B.A. in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance. Gogo appeared Off-Broadway as a Kit Kat Girl in "Cabaret" at The Players Theatre, as Penny Pingleton in "Hairspray" at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, in the ensemble of "Grease!" at the Surflight Theatre, and in international tours.

Phebe Taylor has been seen flying around as Peter in "Peter Pan" at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. She is a company member of the Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis, where she appears in summer Shakespeare productions. Phebe is also a frequent performer at Indianapolis' Phoenix Theatre, in such shows as "Urinetown," "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," "The Zippers of Zoomerville," "Boston Marriage," "Peter and the Starcatcher," and the National New Play Network's "Rolling World Premiere" of "End Days."

Corey Whelihan appeared Off Broadway in Smith Street Stage's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Christmas Carol," and the Pearl Theatre's production of "The Winter's Tale." He performed nationally in Chamber Theater's touring production of "Eureka!" and with The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA.

Larry Hochman is the orchestrator for "The Prom" currently on Broadway. He is the Tony and Drama Desk award-winner for best orchestrations for "The Book of Mormon." He received Tony nominations for the revival of "Hello Dolly" with Bette Midler, "She Loves Me" (2016 revival, for which he won the Drama Desk Award), "The Scottsboro Boys," "Monty Python's Spamalot," (Hochman also received Drama Desk nominations for both), "Fiddler on the Roof" (2004 revival), "A Class Act" and a Tony nomination the Drama Desk Award for 2016's "She Loves Me." Larry composed additional music for Disney's "Little Mermaid," for Stephen Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" and for numerous celebrity concerts. Other awards include the ASCAP Award for Musical Theater ("One Man Band"), 4 Emmy Awards for "The Wonder Pets" television series, and a Bistro Award for composing "One Man Band." He has orchestrated and/or written the scores for the majority of Pushcart's productions, most recently for "Velveteen Rabbit."

Susie Paplow has been a member of Pushcart Players since 1985 when she joined the company as an actress. She spent many years performing with Pushcart and continues to choreograph for the company. As a performer, she has appeared in numerous regional productions at Forum Theatre Cultural Arts Center (Metuchen), Plays-in-the-Park, (Edison), and The State Theatre of NJ (New Brunswick).

Paul Whelihan directs, stage-manages and performs off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival, 54 Below) and regionally (Royal Poincianna Playhouse, Broward Center for the Arts, Centenary Stage, The Bickford Theatre, The Growing Stage, Luna Stage Company, Forum Theatre Arts Center, Quillo Arts Center, Premier Stages, Dreamcatcher Rep) in musicals, dramas, original works and locally produced television, film and web series projects.

Robert Evanick is in his 18th season as stage manager for Pushcart Players. A musical theater graduate of Shenandoah University, Rob is also is an accomplished singer/songwriter who is well known in the club circuit of the metropolitan New York area. As an actor he was seen numerous productions including "Of Thee I Sing," "How to Succeed....,." Jesus Christ Superstar," "Big River," and "Gigi."

Pushcart Players is the award-winning professional touring theater company specializing in arts education for children. Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. Founded in 1974, Pushcart brings substantive musical theater, workshops, and residencies to young people and their families in schools and theaters nationwide. The company has traveled more than 2.5 million miles nationally and abroad, from the rural red schoolhouse to the nation's White House. All performances tour with innovative scenery, complete lighting, and state of the art sound systems, making them adaptable to any location.

As a social-profit organization, Pushcart Players' programs are made possible in part by The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Pine Tree Foundation of New York, Actors' Equity Foundation, Community Foundation of NJ, ADP Foundation, The Community Foundation of NJ, EJ Grassmann Trust, Hyde & Watson Foundation, The Montclair Foundation, Park West Foundation, PNC Bank/Lillian Schenck Foundation, The Turrell Fund, The Puffin Foundation, The Whitehill Foundation and numerous individual contributors.

Tickets for the Wednesday, February 27th performance of "Stone Soup" at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ) can be reserved by calling 973.315.1680, emailing, or visiting Paper Mill's online ticket-ordering website at

For further information on this or any of Pushcart's programs and services, contact Pushcart Players at 973.857.1115. Visit the website at

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