Full Creative Team Announced for East Coast Premiere Musical
Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is proud to announce early casting for Half Time, a new musical, directed and choreographed by Tony Award–winner Jerry Mitchell. Five-time Emmy nominee Georgia Engel (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” The Drowsy Chaperone) and Tony and Emmy Award–winner Lillias White (The Life, “Sesame Street”) will lead the cast in this uplifting true story of ten New Jersey seniors with extraordinary dreams who audition to dance at halftime for a major basketball team. Half Time has a book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and additional music by Marvin Hamlisch and Ester Dean. Half Time will run at Paper Mill Playhouse from May 31–July 1, 2018. Half Time is produced in association with Dori Berinstein and Bill Damaschke. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2017–2018 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.
From the director/choreographer of Kinky Boots comes the incredible true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major basketball team. They have three things in common: they love to dance, they have something to prove, and they are all over 60. Only after making the cut do they learn they won’t be dancing tap, salsa or swing—instead, they will bring down the house with a style that is entirely new to them: hip-hop. Take the uplifting journey with these dreamers—and the young coaches who inspire them along the way—as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Together they remind us that in life, when the odds are stacked against you and the challenges seem too great to overcome, it’s not the end of the game—it’s Half Time.
“Half Time celebrates the singular power of music and dance to unleash big emotions and bring people together. We can’t wait to share it with the amazing audiences at Paper Mill,” stated Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell.
“This new musical, inspired by the documentary Gotta Dance, is a true New Jersey story that will be thrilling for audiences of any age,” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director.
Half Time will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wed–Sun. Performance schedule: Wed at 7:30PM, Thurs at 1:30PM and 7:30PM, Fri at 8:00PM, Sat at 1:30PM and 8:00PM, and Sun at 1:30PM and 7:00PM. Season subscriptions are on sale now and are available by calling 973.379.3717. Tickets for individual shows go on sale August 7 starting at $34. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. Students may order $23-$28 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.
Georgia Engel (Dorothy/Dottie). Broadway: The Drowsy Chaperone; Hello, Dolly! (with Ethel Merman); My One and Only (with Tommy Tune). Off-Broadway: Annie Baker’s John (Signature Theatre) and Uncle Vanya (Soho Rep), both directed by Sam Gold, Will Eno’s Middletown (Vineyard Theatre). Television: “Hot in Cleveland,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” (three Emmy nominations), “Coach,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (two Emmy nominations).
Lillias White (Bea). Broadway: Fela!, The Life, Dreamgirls, Chicago, How to Succeed…, Once on This Island, Barnum. Off-Broadway: Romance in Hard Times, Texas in Paris, Crowns, The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea. Awards: Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Audelco, Obie, Emmy, Bistro Award (The Lillias White Effect). Film: Pieces of April, Nasty Baby, Disney’s Hercules (voice of lead Muse). TV: “Sesame Street,” “Gotham,” “Person of Interest,” “South Pacific” (PBS), “Law & Order, SVU,” “Smash.” Concerts/Cabaret: Jazz at Lincoln Center, 54 Below, The Venetian Room, Sydney Opera House, The Blue Note. Lillias holds an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from CUNY.
Full casting will be announced at a later date.
Half Time brings together an all-star creative team that includes a book by Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (Aladdin) and Tony Award winner Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone), music by Tony Award nominee Matthew Sklar (Elf) and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), with additional music by Marvin Hamlisch (an Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar winner) and Ester Dean (Pitch Perfect) with direction and choreography by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots).
The creative team of Half Time reunites Mitchell with his Kinky Boots collaborators, including five-time Tony Award-nominee David Rockwell (Scenic Design), Tony Award–winner Gregg Barnes (Costume Design) and Tony Award–winner Kenneth Posner (Lighting Design), along with Nick Kenkel (Co-Choreography), four-time Tony Award–nominee Peter Hylenski (Sound Design), Jason Lee Courson (Projection Design), Drama Desk–nominee Josh Marquette (Hair and Wig Design), Tony Award-winner Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Charlie Alterman (Musical Director), and Telsey + Company (Casting).
Paper Mill Playhouse 2017–2018 season also includes the world-premiere musical The Honeymooners (Sep 28–Oct 29) with beloved television characters Ralph, Alice, Ed, and Trixie. Just in time for the holidays, your favorite little redhead, Annie (Nov 22–Dec 31) returns with all the unforgettable songs like “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” and “Tomorrow.” Next winter, Paper Mill Playhouse presents the East Coast premiere of The Outsider (Jan 24–Feb 18), a hilarious and very timely commentary on modern American politics. The spring brings the world premiere of The Sting, a new musical (Mar 29–Apr 29) in a new musical stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning film that starred Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
“The only way you are guaranteed a seat to these amazing premieres is to become a Paper Mill Playhouse subscriber. Subscribers get the best seats at the best price with special insider benefits. Of course, none of what we do would be possible without the generous support of our members, donors, patrons, foundations and corporate partners, including the many years of season sponsorship from our friends at Investors Bank,” remarked Managing Director Todd Schmidt.
Paper Mill Playhouse, a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Todd Schmidt (Managing Director) and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is one of the country’s leading regional theaters. Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on 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.