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Paul Whelihan Biography

 
Bio:
PAUL WHELIHAN is an actor, director, playwright, arts administrator, teaching artist and producer whose involvement in professional theatre is an ongoing mission spanning three decades. While he was still an undergraduate at Montclair State University, he and several colleagues formed the Ironbound ... (read complete bio)
 

Bio:
PAUL WHELIHAN is an actor, director, playwright, arts administrator, teaching artist and producer whose involvement in professional theatre is an ongoing mission spanning three decades. While he was still an undergraduate at Montclair State University, he and several colleagues formed the Ironbound ... (read complete bio)

PAUL WHELIHAN is an actor, director, playwright, arts administrator, teaching artist and producer whose involvement in professional theatre is an ongoing mission spanning three decades. While he was still an undergraduate at Montclair State University, he and several colleagues formed the Ironbound Theatre in Newark, NJ, developing new works by American playwrights. Paul served as the Managing Director and resident artist for eight years, guiding the organization in its role in the revitalization of the State’s largest city.

As an actor, Paul has performed extensively in off-Broadway, regional theatre, television and movie projects that range from musicals to experimental and world premiere works. He has appeared in more than 160 stage productions in theatres throughout the country, and can be seen in prime time episodes and movies filmed in the New York metropolitan area, as well as the web series, “The Madness of Art.”

At the 47th Street Theatre off-Broadway, Whelihan excelled in the acclaimed drama, THE FLAME KEEPER in a role he originated at Luna Stage in Montclair. At Luna Stage (Montclair), he performed as John Tuttle in THE NORMALS, and notably was the Mayor in the professional premier of Sheldon Harnick’s DRAGONS (for which Paul was recognized as Best Featured Actor in a musical, STAR-LEDGER). At the Forum Theatre (Metuchen, NJ), Whelihan played Pseudolus in A FUNNY THING … FORUM and soared as Miss Texas in the uproarious send up of beauty contests, PAGEANT (which subsequently played at the Cuillo Theatre in West Palm Beach, FL.) In 2013, he appeared in DAVID MICHAEL FINKELSTEIN’S BAR MITZVAH, which went on to perform at Manhattan’s 54 Below. Other roles include Tevye in “Fiddler…”, Noah in Two By Two, the Princes, et.al. in The Rothschilds, and Harvey, et.al. in Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh in New York, Massachusetts and Florida. He originated characters in productions of OWED to MY FIRST LOVE (at Premier Stages, Union), KISS THE BRIDE, MR. RICKEY CALLS A MEETING and in THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR, among others. In the 2016 season he starred as Arnold Crouch in Bickford Theatre’s NOT NOW, DARLING (Morristown) and appeared previously as Porter in Centenary Stage’s DEATHTRAP (Hackettstown).

Whelihan became a resident director of Pushcart Players, the award-winning national touring theatre company for young audiences based in New Jersey. During his thirty-two-year association with Pushcart, he worked as an actor and as the Director of Development. Appointed Producing Artistic Director in 2014, he has directed more than forty-five original Pushcart productions which continue to tour theatres and schools throughout the country.

Whelihan’s association with Forum Theatre Company began as Director of Development in 1987. At that time, he substantially raised the level of contributed income, developed the first Board of Directors and acted as liaison to NJ Theatre Alliance (the coalition of the State’s professional theatres), while contributing to all other facets of producing. These included marketing, design and audience development. He subsequently thrived as an artist in residence, regularly writing and directing for A KID’S FORUM, the theatre for young audience program, and directing and performing for the company’s mainstage program until August of 2005.

Paul served as the Audience Development Associate for NJ’s Premiere Stages, the professional theater in residence at Kean University (Union). In his time their, he increased group sales for both their mainstage season and their “Kid’s Factory” program, a series of on-school-time and summer productions for children. He concurrently worked with the university’s media and publications department, writing cover stories and press releases for online media and print publications.

For A Kids’ Forum, Paul wrote the libretto for and directed the acclaimed musical productions of A WINNIE the POOH CHRISTMAS CAROL (an extremely popular adaptation of the Dickens classic featuring the characters of 100 Acre Wood in familiar roles), THE VELVETEEN RABBIT, THUMBELINA…and other tall tales (two innovative productions with NJ composer Paul Farinella), JAMES and the GIANT PEACH, GOLDILOCKS and the THREE BEARS , ALICE in WONDERLAND, (all of which were musicals performed with lip-syncing to established recordings of works ranging from Bruce Springsteen to The Pointer Sisters to Louis Armstrong), A THREE LITTLE PIGS WHITE CHRISTMAS, and THE UGLY DUCKLING.

In the autumn of 2005, Paul co-founded Running Rabbit Family Theatre, established to create innovative family theatre productions that instill a life-long appreciation for and support of the performing arts. Running Rabbit received unprecedented first-year funding from both the NJ State Council on the Arts (also receiving a subsequent NJSCA Citation for Excellence) and The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. With Running Rabbit, Paul wrote, directed, produced and performed in TREASURE ISLAND (Best Actor in a Musical, STAR-LEDGER),, the first professional musical production in New Jersey to feature a cast of actors who are deaf and actors who are hearing, wherein the entire ensemble uses sign interpretation throughout, while singing and speaking to illuminate the adventurous story. This ground-breaking production was funded by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission.

Whelihan has directed world premier productions for The New York Fringe Festival (SUBMITTED BY C. RANDALL McCLOSKEY) and Luna Stage (A BEAUTIFUL HOME FOR THE INCURABLES). He has stage managed productions off-Broadway (THE MAN IN ROOM 306 at 59 E 59 Theatres) and regionally (THE WHIPPING MAN, HONOR AND THE RIVER, FAIR AND DECENT – all world premiers at Luna Stage, LUV and TALLEY’S FOLLY at Forum Theatre, and numerous productions at Ironbound Theatre).

As a teaching artist, Paul directs productions for Franklin Middle School (Somerset, NJ), Rockaway Valley School (Boonton Twp., NJ), Breezy Point Summer Theatre Program (NY), the YMCA of Wayne (NJ) and has taught theater workshops at Northeast Elementary School (Upper Montclair, NJ) and Pines Lake School (Wayne, NJ).

Paul is a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA).