Paper Mill Playhouse Appoints New Managing Director

Paper Mill Playhouse Board of Trustees Appoints Michael Stotts New Managing Director for Millburn Theater
Will Join Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee to Co-Lead Tony Award-Winning Organization in February 2019

Paper Mill Playhouse is proud to announce the appointment of Michael Stotts as the theater’s Managing Director. A search committee consisting of members of Paper Mill Playhouse Board of Trustees (including James V. Fakult, Board Chair, President, Jersey Central Power & Light and Andy Gottesman, Vice Chair and Search Committee Chair, Chief Executive Officer of Gottesman Real Estate Partners) and key staff conducted a nationwide search to find the right candidate to join Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee to co-lead Paper Mill Playhouse into its next chapter. The committee was seeking a candidate that would embrace and articulate the artistic and institutional vision, and the educational and outreach mission, of Paper Mill Playhouse to staff, board, and patrons, as well as the New Jersey region and the national theater community. Michael (“Mike”) Stotts will oversee the organizational, financial, and business affairs of Paper Mill Playhouse.

A graduate of Queen’s University, Ontario and Columbia University, New York, Stotts has over 32 years of arts management experience, with 28 years in senior leadership positions. He is a motivating leader and strategic thinker with significant experience in producing, marketing, fundraising, finance, contract negotiation/labor relations, board development and human resources. For the past 12 years he served as Managing Director of Hartford Stage in Connecticut, where he led a multi-year campaign to expand and renovate the Stage’s theater facility He held the same position at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, CT, George Street Playhouse and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. In 2006, Stotts was hired by Paper Mill Playhouse as a consultant for institutional planning and advancement, where he assisted with fundraising, strategic planning and capital campaign research. As a respected arts leader, Stotts has been a guest lecturer at several universities, and he has served on more than a dozen not-for-profit boards and committees in Connecticut and New Jersey. He has produced several shows that made the transfer to Broadway including Hartford Stage productions of Anastasia, of which he is a co-producer of the Broadway production, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014 Tony Award for Best Musical) and Long Wharf Theatre’s production of Sixteen Wounded, and to Off-Broadway including Horton Foote’s The Orphans’ Home Cycle, among many others.

“I am excited to return to Paper Mill Playhouse, and New Jersey, a state that I grew to love, and a theater community that I miss, Paper Mill Playhouse has a long tradition of attracting and retaining a loyal staff and board, many of whom I have met over the years, and continue to admire for the passion they bring to the company’s work. I am particularly enthusiastic to partner with Mark Hoebee. It has been thrilling to watch the advances Paper Mill Playhouse has made under his leadership over the last ten years, and the decidedly new direction Paper Mill Playhouse has taken in developing new musicals. I look forward to taking Paper Mill to an even greater level of artistic achievement and organizational success working alongside Mark, the board, and staff.”
–Mike Stotts, Paper Mill Playhouse’s new Managing Director

After nearly 80 seasons of live theater, Paper Mill Playhouse welcomes more than 200,000 visitors each year. The annual scope of Paper Mill’s work includes more than 180 mainstage performances, 70 audience enrichment and access programs, 150 education classes, outreach programs, and shows for young audiences. Over the last ten years under the leadership of Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse has seen a remarkable renaissance with an established business model that boasts of solid financial results and has laid a foundation for significant growth through an exciting new strategic plan.

“Paper Mill Playhouse is in a great place, with a strong financial foundation, national recognition, world-class artistry and award-winning education and access programs. We are extremely pleased to have an accomplished leader like Mike join Mark Hoebee and the outstanding team at Paper Mill and look forward to building on the tremendous growth and success we have experienced over the past several years.” stated Board Chair James V. Fakult.

Much of Paper Mill Playhouse’s recent institutional achievement can be attributed to its success in developing new musicals and launching national tours of existing shows. Premiering and subsequent transfers of  Newsies (in association with Disney Theatrical Group), Bandstand (in association with Tom Smedes Productions LLC), Honeymoon in Vegas (in association with Dena Hammerstein and Roy Gabay) and A Bronx Tale (in association with Dodger Productions) to Broadway, as well as launching national tours of Little House on the Prairie, The Bodyguard, and the 25th Anniversary Production of Les Misérables, has established Paper Mill Playhouse as a leading incubator of new musicals. Receipt of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award speaks to the success of the artistic accomplishments of the last decade.

“I am thrilled that Mike Stotts is returning home to New Jersey and will be joining me to co-lead this venerable institution. Mike has an unparalleled track record of success during his 12 years at Hartford Stage and is a dedicated, passionate and well-respected arts administrator who brings an incredible skillset to Paper Mill. Mike’s business acumen, his deft handling of relationships with trustees, donors and funders, and his years of experience with capital campaigns are key to the implementing the strategic plans we have here at Paper Mill Playhouse. As we prepare for our next phase of growth, Mike is exactly the person I want standing beside me.”
–Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse Artistic Director

Paper Mill Playhouse is justly proud of its impressive array of education programs that reach nearly 40,000 students each year. Programs as varied as the Adopt-A-School Project, Theater for Everyone, Theater School, Broadway Show Choir, Rising Star Awards, and the Summer Musical Theater Conservatory are examples of this important work. Of many accomplishments in the education realm, one of the most notable is that the playhouse presented the country’s first full-service, autism-friendly performance in 2011. This year, the Theatre for Everyone initiative will serve 3,000 children at these autism-friendly performances and classes especially designed for students with developmental disabilities.  Stotts’s experience includes overseeing the growth of the Hartford Stage education programs into the leading provider of theatre education programs in the state of Connecticut.

Paper Mill Playhouse has developed an Autism Advisory Team to assist in the theater’s programs for people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Findings from this team are shared with other performing arts organizations that are interested in serving these communities. In addition, Paper Mill Playhouse is deeply rooted in its own community and the state of New Jersey. Members of Paper Mill Playhouse’s staff serve on an array of boards, committees, charitable and business organizations to expand its impact on the region.

“Mike will be able to hit the ground running, re-establish his deep roots in New Jersey and continue to build on the strong relationships and ties that bind together Paper Mill Playhouse and its community,” remarked Andy Gottesman Paper Mill Playhouse Vice Chair and chair of the search committee.

Paper Mill Playhouse just completed a critically acclaimed remounting of John Doyle’s The Color Purple to open its 80th anniversary season. The Millburn theater will produce a season of all musicals in its 2018-2019 lineup including a world premiere and an East Coast premiere. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 80th anniversary season also includes Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn (November 21-December 30), based on the beloved Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire film. This heartwarming, toe-tapping production features more than 20 classic songs from the Berlin catalog, including “Easter Parade,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “Steppin’ Out with My Baby,” and “White Christmas.” In the winter, Paper Mill Playhouse presents the world-premiere musical My Very Own British Invasion (January 31-March 3), directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell. The 1960s British music scene comes to life with songs from Herman’s Hermits, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, The Moody Blues, and other legendary bands of the era. The spring brings the East Coast premiere of Benny & Joon (April 4-May 5). Based on the 1993 film which starred Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson, this new musical is a smart, funny, tender-hearted celebration of love: between children and parents; romantic partners; friends; and, most of all, siblings. The final production of the season, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (May 29-June 30) is an international sensation that has played to more than 35 million people in 13 countries. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature, the stage production includes all of the original songs from the movie by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, plus additional gems by Menken and Tim Rice.

Mike Stotts has over 32 years’ experience working in the professional theater, including 28 years leading four regional theaters as Managing Director. He is currently in his 13th season as Managing Director of Hartford Stage in Hartford, CT, one of the preeminent theaters in the country, where he led a multi-year, expansion and renovation of the Stage’s theatre facility, completed in the summer of 2018. Working in collaboration with artistic directors, Darko Tresnjak, and Michael Wilson before, he has produced over 70 plays at Hartford Stage, including over 25 world premieres. Prominent productions include Anastasia, currently running on Broadway, national tour and in Madrid, Spain; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which received its world premiere at Hartford Stage in 2012 and went on to Broadway and won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical; the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes; and in 2010 Horton Foote’s The Orphans’ Home Cycle, which enjoyed a celebrated run in Hartford and subsequently at the Signature Theatre in New York, where it won the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards, among others. Since arriving at Hartford Stage in 2006, he has overseen the growth of the education programs, which have expanded to serve nearly 21,000 students annually. In 2013, he spearheaded the acquisition of the Hartford Children’s Theatre and the integration of its programs into the Hartford Stage Studio program. Prior to Hartford Stage, he served as Managing Director at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, NJ.  He began his career in the general management office at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Stotts currently serves on the board of directors of Billings Forge Community Works, and is a corporator of Hartford Hospital, the Hartford Public Library and the iQuilt Partnership. He was a co-founder and president of the Connecticut Arts Alliance and continues to serve on that board. He served as co-chair of Hartford Performs from 2010 to 2016, and on the boards of the Edward C. and Ann T. Robert Foundation, the National Corporate Theatre Fund (now Theatre Forward), New Jersey Theatre Alliance and ArtPride, NJ. Stotts is originally from Calgary, Alberta. He obtained a B.A. in Economics and Drama at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and an MFA from Columbia University in New York. In 2016, he attended Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management at the Harvard Business School, and in the fall of 2018 he was a member of a delegation of US arts leaders at the 7th Annual Workshop on Theatre Management at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, China.