Arts & Culture

4 South Orange-Maplewood Kids Selected for Paper Mill’s Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory

Four South Orange-Maplewood youth are among the 115 young talents chosen to participate in Paper Mill Playhouse’s prestigious Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory for 2018. 

The future stars are:

  • Rowan Wechsler, South Orange
  • Charlotte Post-Lipnick, Maplewood
  • Ben Halperin, Maplewood
  • Alonzo Gallo, Maplewood

Two Millburn residents are also among the chosen: Amanda Heckmann and Halle Just.

Read the full press release from Paper Mill Playhouse here:

Members of the competitive Conservatory who earned coveted spots in the Senior (ages 15-18), Junior Plus (ages 13-14), and Junior companies (ages 10-12) are directed and choreographed by Paper Mill Playhouse’s professional artistic staff in a fully produced, original concert titled, New Voices of 2018: From Sea to Shining Sea! The concert is a culmination of the five-week conservatory program. Also appearing are numerous winners and nominees of the 2018 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards presented by the Investors Foundation, who won scholarships to attend the Conservatory. The Summer Musical Theater Conservatory and New Voices are generously supported by the Investors Foundation.

Performances of New Voices of 2018: From Sea to Shining Sea will be held on July 27th at 7:30pm and July 28th at 1:30pm & 7:30pm at Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University, 1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ. Tickets range in price from $25 to $45. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, online at www.papermill.org, or by visiting the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn.

“From the first day of class all the way until the final curtain comes down at New Voices, we require our students to rise to the demands of this rigorous program,” stated Lisa Cooney, Paper Mill Playhouse Director of Education.  “We ask them to work harder than they ever have before as young performers. We strive to build an incredible ensemble company, while each student hones their own individual performance skills.  Our faculty pushes the students to believe in themselves as professional artists.  We find summer after summer that our students meet our expectations and more.  When they move on to college or the professional world, they are ready for the challenges they’ll face, and time and again they thrive and ultimately live their dream of being a professional performer.  We are thrilled when students make a name or themselves on Broadway or in Hollywood, but even if they don’t, the skills they learn and the discipline they develop will serve them in any field.”

The Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory is a program of rigorous study allowing students to enhance their individual performance potential while developing a broad base of theater experience and knowledge. Students participate in intensive classes including musical theater performance, acting, dance, and improvisation, while also attending guest workshops led by professional actors, directors, and casting agents.  The final weeks are devoted to rehearsals for the New Voices Concert, performed annually by the conservatory’s trained students. The Conservatory offers the unique opportunity for gifted and talented young performers to work at their own level, challenge themselves to achieve new goals, and learn new skills. Key to the curriculum is for the participants to develop self-discipline, respect, and a commitment to excellence that will serve these young artists throughout their lives.

New Voices is an amazing opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow,” stated Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill’s Producing Artistic Director. “This fully produced, original concert features over 100 incredible performers.  It is amazing to see these young performers grow into professional artists and grace the stage with an inspiring, heartfelt performance.”

Many of the students from Paper Mill Playhouse’s Conservatory have gone on to appear on Broadway, in regional theater productions, in film and on television.

Conservatory Alumni include:

Anne Hathaway – Twelfth Night, Film: Les Misérables  (2013 Academy Award Winner),  Rachel Getting Married (2009 Academy Award & Golden Globe nominee), Get Smart, Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada, & Disney’s The Princess Diaries

Laura Benanti – Broadway: She Loves MeGypsy (2008 Tony Award winner), Into the Woods, The Wedding Singer, Swing!

Julia Knitel – Broadway: Beautiful: the Carole King Musical (u/s Carole King); Bye Bye Birdie

Robert McClure – Broadway: Something Rotten, Honeymoon in Vegas, Chaplin, Avenue Q

Shanice Williams– NBC’s The Wiz Live!

Joshua Dela Cruz – Broadway’s Disney’s Aladdin (Aladdin Understudy)

Ali Stroker – Broadway: Spring Awakening, Oxygen’s The Glee Project: Season 2; Paper Mill’s 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive Ostrovsky)

Nikki M. James – Broadway: Les Misérables, Book of Mormon (2011 Tony Award winner), All Shook Up

Avery Espiritu: BroadwayThe King and I

James Ignacio – BroadwayThe King and I

Alex Drier – BroadwayFinding Neverland, Assembled Parties

Daisy Hobbs – Broadway: Disney’s Aladdin

Matthew Scott – Broadway: Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair (Ralph), Sondheim on Sondheim

Collin Kelly-Sordelet – Broadway: The Last Ship (Young Gideon)

Jared Gertner – 2014 Olivier Award nominee West End, Broadway & National Tour of The Book Of Mormon (Elder Cunningham)

Veronica J. Kuehn – Broadway: Mamma Mia!, Xanadu; Off Broadway: Avenue Q

Neil McCaffrey – Broadway: Mary Poppins (Michael Banks), Bye, Bye Birdie (Randolph Macafee), Billy Elliot (Michael)

Monette McKay – Broadway: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, Memphis, Mamma Mia!

Constantine Rousouli – Broadway: Hairspray (Link), Ghost the Musical, Wicked

Jonathan Schwartz – Broadway’s Disney’s Aladdin (Omar)

Elizabeth Egan Gillies – Nickelodeon’s Victorious; Broadway: 13! The Musical

Lael Van Keuran – Broadway: Sister Act

Matt Ban – Broadway: Rock of Ages (Dennis)

Connor Buckley – Star of Fox-TV’s Surviving Jack with Chris Meloni (role of “Jack Dunlevy”)

2018 CONSERVATORY STUDENTS BY TOWN

Kayla Oh Allendale
Justin Lopez Annandale
Carly Holda Bernardsville
Abigail Sebastian Bernardsville
Deirdre Tobin Bernardsville
Katie Kallay Bloomfield
Gracelynne Hao Bridgewater
Francesca Catrone Cedar Grove
Liam Driscoll Chatham
Ronan Green Chatham
Lilly McGrath Chatham
Andrew Palmieri Chatham
Jessica King Clark
Ryan Apgar Clinton
Cameron Matheson Cranford
Sam Sullivan Cranford
McKenzie Hegarty Denville
Celia Schmedler East Brunswick
Emma Saccone Essex Falls
Reese Bruning Fallston
Samantha Rascio Far Hills
Lauren Onufryk Flanders
Alexa Aquino Franklin Lakes
Christopher Bruno Franklin Lakes
Maeve Touhey Gladstone
James Lee Anderson Glen Ridge
Kyra Anthony Green Brook
Leina Staudinger Green Brook
Soren Schwerner Hewitt
Liam Angello Hillsborough
Samantha Soybel Hillsborough
Jason Spinrad Hillsborough
Sarah Coleman Holmdel
Jacob Canderozzi Jackson
Melody Stubbs Kenilworth
Vanessa Sierra Linden
Jayden Declet Livingston
Brooke Lelia Livingston
Jonah Ruderman Livingston
Avery Benjamin Madison
Matias Cortes Madison
Ben Sadowski Madison
Sam Chuck Mahwah
Kristina Conzo Mahwah
Janie Hornstein Manalapan
Alonzo Gallo Maplewood
Ben Halperin Maplewood
Charlotte Post-Lipnick Maplewood
Maya Karp Marlboro
Lindsay Waldman Marlboro
Joseph de Grandre Mendham
Juliana Johnston Metuchen
Amanda Heckmann Millburn
Halle Just Millburn
Elizabeth Witek Monmouth Beach
Alexandra Witek Monmouth Beach
Ambrose Amory Montclair
Bobby Axelrod Montclair
Justin Comini Montclair
Abraham Deitz-Green Montclair
Jeff Gallup Montville
Skylar Raye Noyes Moorestown
Alexa Torres Mountainside
Arwen-Vira Marsh New York
Gabriana Padilla Newark
Valeria Flores Nutley
Wesley Gardner Nutley
Luke Surretsky Nutley
Grace Lustig Oakland
Amaya White Old Bridge
Mikayla White Old Bridge
Jadon Lopez Paramus
Nicole Streger Peapack
Luke Byman Pearl River
James Carroll Pocono Pines
Elizabeth LeClerc Pottersville
Brandon Grajales Rahway
Jason Myers Rahway
Emery Myers Rahway
Ryan Domalewski Randolph
Raymond Ocasio Ridgewood
Angelina Boris River Edge
Shannon Lombardi River Edge
Eva Zazzali Saddle River
Valentina Zazzali Saddle River
Elizabeth Bera Sayreville
Abigail Bera Sayreville
Sydney Brenton Short Hills
Spenser Brenton Short Hills
Judith Ann DiMinni Short Hills
Rachel Gesner Short Hills
Julia Gesner Short Hills
Veronica Gonzalez Short Hills
Uma Menon Short Hills
Lily Tan Short Hills
Rowan Wechsler South Orange
Rosie Gaeta Summit
Donald Grennon Summit
Samantha Kelleher Summit
Victor Colasurdo Toms River
Elyana Barroqueiro Union
Alyssa Carbonell Union
Marcus McPherson Union
Ashley Phillips Union
Grace Rivera Union
Lisette Serrano Union
Anthony Savino Warwick
Lillian Kopacz Wayne
Deanna Thomas Wayne
Alex Vacchiano West Caldwell
Riley Hahn West Orange
Samantha Powell West Orange
Olivia Ruhnke Westfield

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