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Testimonials

Parents and students have great things to say about Paper Mill Prep!

"I am writing to tell you all how I feel about the experience my daughter Margaret DeLucia, and myself for that matter, have had for close to a year now being guided by Sara Lazarus. She was a true "find" for us, and by association, so was the Paper Mill Playhouse. I truly regret not knowing about the place sooner. Margaret had been passionate about Theater for quite a while, come the end of her Junior year. But unfortunately did not have a program at school to guide her, nor parents with the knowledge needed to do so. And it was time to figure out how to navigate the college auditioning process. I don't know what to call it, "fate" maybe, but Margaret was extremely fortunate to connect with Sara. She took my kid, who had a ton of desire but only an ounce of preparedness, and turned her into a confident deliverer of monologues and songs. And the work Sara did to accomplish that task was preceded by a fair amount of time just listening to Margaret, observing her, and getting to know her. Doing so enabled Sara to properly guide Margaret in choosing monologues and songs that fit well with her voice, her look, her speaking pattern, and many other traits that are so intangible to the non professional. Margaret says. "Sara took me to another level." Anyone who can read, and wants to know, can learn of Sara's many professional accomplishments, and extensive teaching experience. But in addition to all that, what I have observed is not something that is seen in print. Only a person with her gentle and caring teaching style could have gotten so much accomplished with Margaret. Believe me, I know my daughter. Along the way, Sara became a very strong and VERY positive influence on Margaret. Margaret will never forget her, and being a person who believes that kids need to be influenced by good adults other than their parents, neither will I. Thanks for everything, and for putting up with all of my phone calls and emails."

~ Jim DeLucia


"Just wanted you to know Emily was accepted to Tisch School of the Arts at NYU for the BFA in Theater with a concentration in directing. John Armstrong was her coach and we thank him for his wonderful help. I appreciate all the guidance we received from the Paper Mill Prep program. I think it was instrumental in giving us the information we needed to point Emily in the right direction. John's mentoring and expertise helped give Emily the self-confidence to go for her dream. Having someone to answer her questions and provide her with expert instruction made a difference for our family. I do believe it fills a niche for kids interested in the performing arts. There are private coaches but there is no other comprehensive program out there. Both Emily and I learned a lot about college admissions for the performing arts from the teachers and alumni guests. From a parents perspective, I loved the alumni night, it gave me personal insight on the different colleges and conservatories, which was very helpful in making our college application decisions. John was terrific as Emily's coach. I think in this genre every child has unique needs, strengths and weaknesses. Having experienced coaches with a broad range of expertise really helped Emily to focus on what she wanted and what she needed to work on."

~ Ellen Weissman, Springfield, NJ


"Sara (Lazarus), you were such an integral part of my college audition preparation. Without that preparation, I probably wouldn't have gotten into any schools! I’m 4 for 4 in invitations to audition from my pre-screen! (Penn State, Pace, Ithaca, Michigan)!

~ Jillian Berkowitz, Millburn, NJ


"I continue to use what I learned with you in every monologue, song, performance, etc. After these initial auditions, I have come to realize how vital our meetings were, Sara (Lazarus), in terms of preparation and understanding material. I continue to practice what we worked on together. While still in the thick of audition-stress, I continue to pull myself back to the material and remember why we do what we do in the first place. I just wanted to thank you so much for all your help in this process. I am grateful for our time together and feel myself growing and developing every time we meet."

~Meghan Johnson, Metuchen, NJ


"Hello Sara!!! So excited to tell you that I came home to my first acceptance today! I'm accepted into Wagner College Theatre and got a scholarship worth $16,000 a year!! I'm over the moon. THANK YOU for everything Sara! You were the perfect mentor! Thank you for your help, wisdom and support. I couldn't have done this without you!"

-Kelly Hedden, Colonia, NJ


"You know that I do not hesitate to give you feedback when it comes to Paper Mill programs and last Tuesday was Kelly's fourth and final session with Sara Lazarus. So, here goes...THANK YOU!!! The audition workshop was wonderful and I think that Sara is a true gem. In fact, I called her an angel...she was wonderful!! After the very first session Kelly got in the car with sheet music and potential monologues in hand and said "I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest. I can breathe and I am so happy I decided to do this. Thank you, Mom" I cannot speak for Sara's other students but to me the rapport she established with Kelly was unique. Sara spoke to Kelly in a professional manner and made numerous suggestions yet she managed to maintain a note of kindness throughout. That has always been our experience with the mentors at Paper Mill. Sara's experience allowed her to provide insights into the audition process as well as the most natural way for Kelly to introduce herself, convey her "connection" to chose songs, use timing, facial expression and props effectively and most importantly, to trust herself. Not only was Sara positive and helpful, but she made herself available by phone and email as well. She communicated in a timely manner, and went above and beyond by completing artistic recommendation forms for Kelly, dropping off music and making it clear that she is interested in hearing from Kelly once she begins her first round of auditions. You know, I am the first person in my family to have attended college and my husband went straight into the U.S. Air Force after High school graduation. My oldest child has a chronic illness and occasionally our family has to make difficult choices because finances are not always what we might wish for. That said, we really needed to consider the value of having Kelly work with Paper Mill professionals in the Paper Mill Prep course. Let me tell you, our investment was well worth it!! I have no doubt that Kelly will be able to shine in her auditions now that she has had Sara as her mentor. We could not have asked for a more reliable, insightful and knowledgeable instructor. Thank you for all you've done over the years to help Kelly develop into the performer she is today. I cannot wait to see what the future holds!

~ Ellen M. Hedden, Colonia, NJ


"Our son, Jared, is a second year participant in the Paper Mill Broadway Show Choir and the Paper Mill Summer Conservatory. Through this affiliation, we became aware of the one-on-one college preparatory training classes offered by the faculty at Paper Mill. Jared trained with John Armstrong for monologues. John guided him through the process of finding appropriate monologue selections for his college auditions and provided coaching of the selected monologues. John was very helpful, accessible, flexible, effective, professional and caring. As a result, Jared was accepted to his top BFA college program for studying Musical Theater. We couldn’t be more satisfied with the staff and faculty at Paper Mill and especially John Armstrong."

~Patricia Cowley, Washington, NJ


"I could not be happier with the time that I spent with the Paper Mill training program. In only 8 sessions, I felt that I had grown as a performer and that I was ready to take on all of my college auditions. I was very prepared and all rehearsals were very productive; I felt a lot was achieved in a short period of time. From the performance aspect of it, I felt like I was making smarter, smoother acting decisions that I had never thought about before. I was able to start thinking about the purpose the monologues and songs and had a better understanding of what the stakes were. I was starting to actually relate and connect to these pieces and works. On a personal, emotional, and professional level, I felt that John and I worked extremely well together throughout the entire process. He was always supportive and he really cared about helping me improve so that my auditions could be the best they could possibly be. He always pushed me to do more and to go further with certain things. I never felt overwhelmed with any instructions and every direction he gave me was noted. My parents were absolutely thrilled with this program, John's training techniques, and the results we have received over the past couple months. Paper Mill had such great facilities to rehearse and to practice your craft in and it was very awesome. I would have not gotten into any of these colleges without the training and support I received from the Paper Mill program. I would recommend to any student who wishes to pursue a career in acting or musical theatre"

~Chris Bailey, Cedar Grove, NJ