The annual gala celebration will offer an evening of dinner, dancing, auctions and entertainment with students from Paper Mill Playhouse’s arts education programs and Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award winner Laura Benanti.
Ms. Benanti was the first Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award winner for a Leading Actress in a Musical. She was honored with the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Drama League nomination for her portrayal of Louise/Gypsy Rose Lee in the Patti LuPone revival of Gypsy. She previously starred in the Encores! production. Broadway: The Sound of Music (Maria, opposite Richard Chamberlain), Swing! (Tony nomination: Best Featured Actress), Into The Woods (Cinderella; Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, LA Ovation and Tony nominations), Nine (Claudia, opposite Antonio Banderas; Outer Critics Circle, Drama League nominations), The Wedding Singer (Julia Sullivan), In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play (Lincoln Center), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Lincoln Center). Encores: Gypsy (Louise), Wonderful Town (Eileen). Benefits: The
“It is thrilling to see Ms. Benanti come full circle through Paper Mill Playhouse’s stellar arts education programs and go on to win a Tony Award and now return to headline our celebration,” said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse Producing Artistic Director. “We are equally excited to feature students and alumni from Paper Mill Playhouse’s many arts education initiatives in a Broadway Cabaret at our celebration.”
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Senator Thomas H. Kean, Jr., New Jersey Senate Republication Leader will be honored with the Byrne Kean Arts Advocate Award. The first Byrne Kean Arts Advocate Award was presented to Brendan Byrne and Tom Kean, Sr. in 2010 for their passionate work on behalf of
The reception and silent auction begin at followed by dinner and dancing featuring the Eddie Bruce Band. The 2011 Celebration sponsor is Hilton Short Hills. “We are thrilled to partner with Hilton Short Hills on our Center Stage Celebration,” said gala co-chair Jane Higgins. “The support of Hilton Short Hills is priceless. They are a true community partner.”
“The Center Stage Celebration is a wonderful event to commemorate the many facets of Paper Mill Playhouse, from our critically acclaimed productions to our award-winning education and access programs, this wonderful fundraising event supports our work in the community,” commented Paper Mill Playhouse Managing Director Todd Schmidt. “Attending Paper Mill Playhouse’s celebration is a rewarding way to support our not-for-profit arts organization.”
For over seven decades Paper Mill Playhouse has been one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit theaters. They continue to bring world-class artists and outstanding musicals and plays to the community while enriching the lives of over 50,000 young people each year through renowned education outreach, artists training and access programs.