In 2008, Tony-Award winning producer and documentary filmmaker Dori Berinstein arrived to shoot auditions for the New Jersey Nets’ first ever ‘over 60’ dance team,’ the NETSationals. Following a meticulous documentation of the senior dance team and their creation,a lengthy shooting and editing process, and a massively successful Tribeca Film Festival run, the film—entitled “Gotta Dance”—opened to the public in August of 2009. In reflecting on her cinematic triumph and its origins, Berinstein commented,
“I’ve seen so many other professions where that’s not the way it is. I wanted so much to tell a story on film that basically said, ‘You should never stop chasing your dreams. No matter what your age is.’”
As she continued to develop “Gotta Dance,” Berinstein quickly realized there was a life in this story beyond the big screen—Broadway. Having had produced Broadway smashes Legally Blonde and Thoroughly Modern Millie, Berinstein looked to reshape the documentary into a narrative, musical theater feature. Several years later, in 2015, Berinstein’s anticipated stage adaptation of “Gotta Dance” was born. The musical received its world premiere staging at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre, and after significant changes, it arrives at Paper Mill Playhouse under the new title, Half Time.
Directed by the Tony Award winning Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), Paper Mill’s Half Time features a book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and additional music by Marvin Hamlisch and Grammy Award-winning music producer, Ester Dean. The production stars 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”).