MILLBURN, N.J.: Paper Mill Playhouse will usher in celebrities and Broadway blockbusters in its 2015–16 lineup. The theatre’s 77th season will feature five musicals, including two world premieres.
In a statement, managing director Todd Schmidt called Paper Mill “Broadway in your backyard,” adding that the playhouse “has once again established itself as a leader in American musical theatre, the place where the stars of today and tomorrow come together to practice their craft.”
Opening the season will be the world premiere of Bandstand (Oct. 8–Nov. 8), about a band of WWII veterans who enter a national radio contest. The show will be directed and choreographed by Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler.
Paper Mill will celebrate the Christmas season with a production of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s A Christmas Story: The Musical (Nov. 25–Jan. 3, 2016), based on the classic 1983 holiday film of the same name.
Next is the world premiere of the musical adaptation of A Bronx Tale (Feb. 4–March 6, 2016).Two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks will codirect the musical based on Chazz Palminteri’s one-man show, set in the crime-ridden Bronx during the 1960s. De Niro previously adapted it for the screen. Tony and Oscar winner Alan Menken will write the songs with lyricist Glenn Slater.
Paper Mill will then take audiences to the back roads of North Carolina on Highway 57 for a revival of Pump Boys and Dinettes (April 6–May 1, 2016), for a little Southern cooking and a few toe-tapping country numbers.
And finishing out the season will be Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story (June 1–26). Mark S. Hoebee will direct.