South Orange & Maplewood Teens Earn Coveted Spots in Paper Mill’s Summer Musical Theater Conservatory


Five students from Maplewood and 5 from South Orange will participate in a fully produced, original concert titled We Will Rock You, a celebration of the sounds that revolutionized the Broadway musical on July 28 and 29.

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From Paper Mill Playhouse:

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee–Producing Artistic Director, Mike Stotts–Executive Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, has selected students to be a part of its prestigious Summer Musical Theater Conservatory for 2023. Members of the competitive Conservatory who earned coveted spots in the Senior (ages 15-18), Junior Plus (ages 13-14), and Junior (ages 10-12) companies are directed and choreographed by Paper Mill Playhouse’s professional artistic staff in a fully produced, original concert titled We Will Rock You, a celebration of the sounds that revolutionized the Broadway musical.

A show unlike any other produced by Paper Mill Playhouse, this special concert features 122 talented young performers, including Rising Star Award winners and nominees. The 2023 New Voices Concert showcases the rock musicals that changed the landscape of the Broadway industry and became instant classics in the process, drawing on songs from Hair, Godspell, Rock of Ages, Dear Evan Hansen, Rent and Hamilton and many more famous jukebox musical hits.

New Voices and the Paper Mill Playhouse Summer Musical Theater Conservatory are generously supported by the Investors Foundation and Citizens Philanthropic Foundation. The Hearst Foundations are Paper Mill’s Education & Outreach Partner.

Performances of We Will Rock You will be held on Friday, July 28 at 7:30 PM and Saturday, July 29 at 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ. Tickets range in price from $25 to $50. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, online at, or by visiting the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office.

“We believe that this program allows young performers an opportunity to thrive and ultimately live their dream of being professional performers. From the first day of class all the way through opening night of New Voices, we require our students to rise to the demands of this rigorous program,” stated Lisa Cooney, Paper Mill Playhouse Director of Education, Outreach and Access. “We ask them to work harder than they ever have before as young performers. Our faculty pushes the students to believe in themselves as professional artists, and as a result, when they move on to college or the professional world, they are ready for the challenges they’ll face. We take great pride when they make a name for themselves on Broadway or in Hollywood and from knowing every member of the Conservatory has learned the skills and the work ethic to serve them in any field.” 

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

New Voices is an amazing opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow,” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill’s Producing Artistic Director. “This fully produced, original concert features over a hundred and twenty incredible performers. It is amazing to see these young performers grow into professional artists and grace the stage with an inspiring, heartfelt performance, and it’s gratifying that Paper Mill’s professional casting partners attend annually to discover new talent.”

“Our faculty encourages the students to believe in themselves as professional artists and treats them as such.” stated Michele Mossay, Paper Mill Playhouse Director of Artist Development and long-time Conservatory director/choreographer. “The amount of former conservatory students that say, ‘Paper Mill changed my life.’ or, ‘I would not be where I am today without PMP’, is astounding. This program educates, cultivates, and enriches the entire young performer; from their individual talents to their role within an ensemble company to, ultimately, their role within the professional performance community at large.”

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 – Stage: Twelfth Night (The Public Theater); Film: Les Misérables (2013 Academy Award winner), Rachel Getting Married (2009 Academy Award & Golden Globe nominee), Ocean’s Eight, Get Smart, Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada, Disney’s The Princess Diaries; TV: WeCrashed, Modern Love 

Ali Stroker – Broadway: Oklahoma (2019 Tony Award Winner), Spring Awakening; Film: Lifetime’s Christmas Ever After; TV: Oxygen’s The Glee Project: Season 2; Paper Mill: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive Ostrovsky) 

Laura Benanti – Broadway: Gypsy (2008 Tony Award Winner), She Loves Me, Into the Woods, The Wedding Singer, My Fair Lady, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Sound of Music; TV: Younger, HBO Max’s Gossip Girl, NBC’s The Sound of Music Live! (Elsa Schraeder) 

Robert McClure – Broadway: Mrs. Doubtfire, Beetlejuice, Something Rotten, Honeymoon in Vegas, Noises Off, Chaplin, Avenue Q 

Jelani Remy – Broadway: Disney’s The Lion King, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Ain’t Too Proud 

Khailah Johnson – TV: CW’s 4600 

Shanice Williams TV: NBC’s The Wiz Live! (Dorothy) 

Joshua Dela Cruz – Broadway: Disney’s Aladdin; TV: Blue’s Clues & You! 

Nikki M. James – Broadway: Book of Mormon (2011 Tony Award Winner), Les Misérables (Éponine), All Shook Up, Once On This Island (Assistant Director) 

Julia Knitel – Broadway: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Bye Bye Birdie 

Avery Espiritu – Broadway: The King and I 

Alex Drier – Broadway: Finding Neverland, Assembled Parties, Billy Elliot 

Daisy Hobbs – Broadway: Disney’s Aladdin

Matthew Scott – Broadway: Jersey Boys, An American in Paris, A Catered Affair, Sondheim on Sondheim 

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

Jared Gertner – Broadway: The Book of Mormon (Elder Cunningham), The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee 

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

Monette McKay – Broadway: Come From Away, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Memphis, Mamma Mia! 

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

Jonathan Schwartz – Broadway: Disney’s Aladdin (Omar), Elf, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark 

Elizabeth Egan Gillies – Broadway: 13 The Musical; TV: Nickelodeon’s Victorious, The CW’s Dynasty 

Lael Van Keuran – Broadway: Paradise Square, Sister Act 

Matt Ban – Broadway: Rock of Ages (Dennis)


Brynn Simonelli, Annandale, NJ

Megan Simonelli, Annandale, NJ

Jack Sisk, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Lillian Ferrer, Basking Ridge, NJ

Shloka Ram, Basking Ridge, NJ

Brielle Marques, Bedminster, NJ

Pippa Knowles, Belleville, NJ

Jake Naughton, Berkeley Heights, NJ

Sophia Peseller, Bloomingdale, NJ

Alex Vacchiano, Boonton, NJ

Alaina Gust,                           Bridgewater, NJ

Zoya Vaidya, Budd Lake NJ

Evie Reyes, Caldwell, NJ

Charlotte Ewing, Chatham, NJ

Sarah Mattle, Chatham, NJ

Gabrielle Vecciarelli, Chatham, NJ

Talia Fabrizzio, Clark, NJ

Zavier Aviles, Clifton, NJ

Natalia Vella, Clifton, NJ

Lindsay Berliner, Colts Neck, NJ

Alyssa Ucci, Dayton, NJ

Macey Hyatt, Denville, NJ

Karson Moscola, Denville, NJ

Mykhel Duckett, Glen Ridge, NJ

Julian Novoa, Glen Ridge, NJ

Giulia Beaudoin, Glen Rock, NJ

Leina Staudinger, Greenbook, NJ

Gracie Nagle, Hackettstown, NJ

Sophia Silvera, Hawthorne, NJ

Violet Pyatt, Highland Park, NJ

Natalia Artigas, Hoboken, NJ

Sienna Mello, Hoboken, NJ

Avery Ramsey, Hoboken, NJ

Adelina Harrington, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Shea East, Jackson, NJ

Sophia Donath, Jersey City, NJ

Arianna Guerreiro, Kearny, NJ

Evan Gray, Kinnelon, NJ

Caroline Nieto, Kinnelon, NJ

Sylvie Friedman, Livingston, NJ

Ben Rost, Livingston, NJ

Jonah Ruderman, Livingston, NJ

Giuliana Tritto, Livingston, NJ

Avery Benjamin, Madison, NJ

Abby Teagan, Madison, NJ

Marianna Daley, Maplewood, NJ

Quincy Hampton, Maplewood, NJ

Destiny Keith, Maplewood, NJ

Avery Sinclair, Maplewood, NJ

Zoe Zaslow-Braverman, Maplewood, NJ

Chandi Diaz, Maywood, NJ

Juliana Johnston, Metuchen, NJ

Autumn Capes, Monmouth, NJ

Vincent Wilson, Monroe, NJ

Bridget Campbell, Montclair, NJ

Orly Kinsella, Montclair, NJ

Lucas Kirmsse, Moorestown, NJ

Miles Schmidt, Morris Plains, NJ

Alexa Torres, Mountainside, NJ

Riley Ann Murphy, New Providence, NJ

Nadia Nale, New Providence, NJ

Alexandra Hermans, North Caldwell, NJ

John “Chai” Shea, North Brunswick, NJ

Nathaniel Updegraff, North Brunswick, NJ

Valeria Flores, Nutley, NJ

Alexis Hamlin, Nutley, NJ

Thomas Snyder, Park Ridge, NJ

Jackson Bartle, Piscataway, NJ

Ashley Hamilton, Piscataway, NJ

Najm Muhammad, Piscataway, NJ

Emma Bucardo Rivera, Pompton Lakes, NJ

Nathaniel Algor, Ramsey, NJ

Marcus Stefanelli, Ramsey, NJ

Amelia Diaz, Randolph, NJ

Liam Fahey, Ringwood, NJ

Lexi Ciardella, Roseland, NJ

Eva Zazzali, Secaucus, NJ

Anna Athungal, Scotch Plains, NJ

Judith DiMinni, Short Hills, NJ

Saniya Kamat, Short Hills, NJ

Sid Kamat, Short Hills, NJ

Uma Menon, Short Hills, NJ

Dia Patankar, Short Hills, NJ

Akiv Shah, Short Hills, NJ

Siana Sharma, Short Hills, NJ

Remi Stein, Short Hills, NJ

Lola Larson, South Orange, NJ

Anton MacLachlan, South Orange, NJ

Parker Ryan, South Orange, NJ

Madelyn Weisbach, South Orange, NJ

Liora Weiss, South Orange, NJ

Ava Valluzzi, South Plainfield, NJ

Luzita Avila, Summit, NJ

Gavin Colucci, Summit, NJ

Rosie Gaeta, Summit, NJ

Noah Ibrahim, Summit, NJ

Anna Przybylko, Summit, NJ

Jacey Sink, Summit, NJ

Benjamin Strauss, Summit, NJ

Sarah Walsh, Summit, NJ

Lauren White, Summit, NJ

Lyra Winton, Summit, NJ

Elyana Barroqueiro, Union, NJ

Josh Cooper, Wayne, NJ

Charlotte English, Wayne, NJ

Lillian Kopacz, Wayne, NJ

Bella Jarecki, Westfield, NJ

Kyan Bashkoff, West Orange, NJ

Vincent Fondetto, West Orange, NJ

Riley Hahn, West Orange, NJ

Bryan Fortunato, Wyckoff, NJ

Gabriel Ornstein, Wyckoff, NJ

Sam Ornstein, Wyckoff, NJ

Reese Bruning, Fallston, MD

Mabel Danielian, New York, NY

Ellen Weaver, Mechanicsburg, PA

Arwen Cameron, Stroudsburg, PA

Daniel Wright, Richmond, TX

Kshirja Rastogi, New Delhi, India

Isabella Shewan, Newport, Gwent, UK

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is a nationally renowned, not-for-profit theater under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Mike Stotts (Executive Director). A beloved NJ arts institution since 1938, Paper Mill creates and produces groundbreaking new musicals and reimagined classics. Several productions have gone on to Broadway and launched national tours, including Disney’s Newsies, Les Misérables, Honeymoon in Vegas, A Bronx Tale, and Bandstand. The theater is also the home of an award-winning center for musical theater education and artist training, with outreach programs that impact tens of thousands of students each year. As one of the nation’s premier musical theaters, Paper Mill fosters a creative environment to advance the art form, educate students, develop future theater lovers, nurture inclusion, and provide access for all. Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.




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