The State of the Theater


State of the Theater with 4 images of theater goers

Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee and Managing Director Michael Stotts are continuing to bring metro area audiences shows that have been dazzling theatergoers at Paper Mill Playhouse for 80 years. Don’t miss the chance to experience the new American musical.
–Broadway World

man singing from My Very Own British Invasion

Thank you for joining us in this journey

As the nation’s premier musical theater, we foster a creative environment to advance the art form, educate students, develop future theater lovers, nurture inclusion, and provide access for all.

To all of you, our 80th season was a great one! Thank you for helping us celebrate 80 amazing years of world-class theater. We are so grateful to our generous donors and sponsors, our loyal subscribers and audiences, and the talented artists, staff, and students who bring it to life. And a very special thanks to our beloved hometown of Millburn/Short Hills for supporting us and helping us flourish. We’re so lucky to be part of this vibrant community!

mark hoebee

Mark S. Hoebee

Producing Artistic Director

mike stotts

Mike Stotts

Managing Director

Productions on Our Mainstage and Beyond

2018–2019 season:

Paper Mill presented 188 mainstage performances of 5 productions, with many sold-out performances. Overall, we sold 83% of our total capacity for the season.

Paper Mill Playhouse is a Garden State treasure! Its impact is felt around the world.
–Phil Murphy, Governor, State of New Jersey

  • 167,000 Mainstage Attendance
  • 22,000 Subscribers
  • 82% Subscriber Renewal Rate
map of shows

Over the past 10 years:

Paper Mill has produced 14 premieres, including 7 world premieres, launching several shows to Broadway and beyond.

  • 4 Broadway Transfers Newsies! (2 Tony Awards and 8 nominations), A Bronx Tale, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Bandstand (Tony Award for Best Choreography)
  • 5 National Tours Little House on the Prairie, Les Misérables, Newsies, A Bronx Tale, and The Bodyguard
  • 3 International Tours and Cinema The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Bodyguard, and Bandstand (digital recording screened worldwide)

Audience Approval

You really like us—and we couldn’t be more grateful!

good reviews

“You don’t have to go to NYC to see a good show. Paper Mill never disappoints.”

— George R. / Google

“Beautiful setting, lovely theater and wonderful restaurant. It’s a gem of a theater with a 5-star experience. Paper Mill is up there with the best!”

— Susan N. / Facebook

“It was a lovely and quaint theater, not a bad seat in the house, staff was friendly, and the play was out of this world awesome!”

— Cynthia F. / Facebook

“Paper Mill Playhouse has everything you could want for a theater! I have been attending shows at Paper Mill since the late 1960s through the present. As always Paper Mill puts on a phenomenal show, just as good as Broadway and even better!”

— Diane C. / Yelp

outreach and education at Paper Mill

Education and Outreach Programs

In 2018–2019, Paper Mill served 35,000 students through 220 statewide arts education, enrichment and cultural-access programs, and performances. We also reached some significant milestones.

30th anniversary of Paper Mill’s Adopt-A-School Project

The project served nearly 500 students at 15 schools across 8 counties last year. Students at each “adopted” school work through a four-year program that includes on-site participation and in-school residencies with extraordinary industry professionals. The Adopt-A-School Project was selected by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a model arts-in-education program.

This Season Marks the 25th anniversary of Paper Mill’s Rising Stars Awards

Each year, nearly 10,000 students at 100 schools participate in this statewide competition that celebrates excellence in New Jersey high school musicals. Winners receive cash awards and scholarships to Paper Mill’s Summer Musical Theater Conservatory. Notable past winners include Tony Award winners Laura Benanti, Nikki M. James, and Ali Stroker.

New for 2019–2020

Paper Mill is honored to spearhead the creation of the College Musical Theater Common Prescreen Criteria. The goal is to foster a streamlined process for all students to audition and receive collegiate training in preparation for a career in professional musical theater.

Paper Mill Playhouse Education and Outreach are proudly sponsored by The Goren Family and The Harmony Helper App.
inclusion at paper mill

Nurturing Inclusion

Paper Mill is dedicated to making theater accessible and welcoming to all audiences through our award-winning community services and programs.

  • Paper Mill pioneered the country’s first comprehensive autism-friendly performance in 2011. Since then, the program has served a total of 22,000 audience members, growing from 332 in 2011 to more than 4,000 served each year.
  • In 2018–2019, we presented 5 autism-friendly performances (including two On School Time performances, two weekend children’s performances, and one mainstage performance of Beauty and the Beast) for patrons with special needs and their families.
  • We served 3,123 audience members with a variety of access services, including audio description, American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning, assistive-listening devices, and Braille and Large Print programs.
  • In 2018–2019, Paper Mill began serving 150 students with autism and developmental disabilities through AllStage, a new partnership with three New Jersey schools. The programs include autism-friendly creative drama workshops, theater performances, and an especially impactful collaboration called Lend Your Voice, in which Paper Mill’s Theater School students provide voice-over narration and songs for non-verbal student actors.
  • Paper Mill also provides programing to engage elderly residents in stimulating conversation, activities, performances, and rousing games through its outreach residency at The Actors Fund Lillian Booth Actors Home.

improvements to the theater interior and restaurant

Physical Improvements

Paper Mill received several vital upgrades this past season, thanks to the generosity of our donors.

  • $2.5 million renovation of our auditorium made possible with a generous gift from the Ferolito family
  • Opening of The Loft, a new cocktail lounge in the F.M. Kirby Carriage House
  • Beautification and renovations of the outdoor Brookside Café, artist housing, green room, and orchestra room

Our Community of Supporters

Paper Mill’s funders are essential to our success!

James V. Fakult headshot
Paper Mill Playhouse’s 29-member Board of Trustees is led by James V. Fakult. Jim is the president of Jersey Central Power & Light as well as an active member of the community. He has been a member of Paper Mill’s board since 2015.

  • We receive invaluable support from 3,053 individual donors, and that number grows each year.
  • Close to 150 volunteers help in a variety of areas all year long to make what we do possible.
  • IATSE Local 21 has been with us every step of the way, ensuring superior stagecraft in our productions. We thank them and join in celebrating their 125th anniversary.
  • The National Endowment for the Arts is the founding supporter of Theater for Everyone programs for children with autism. Paper Mill has received leadership grants ever since 2011 for this innovative approach, expanding scope and especially our role as a national model. We extend our thanks to the many corporations and foundations that also generously support these classes and performances that make a difference in the lives of families of children with autism and developmental disabilities.
  • Paper Mill is also enormously grateful for the tremendous support we receive from 54 corporations and foundations.
  • The New Jersey State Council on the Arts has increased our grant by 10% this year.

paper mill supporters

80th Anniversary Gala

Our 80th Anniversary Gala was a smashing success! Thanks to our generous supporters, we raised nearly $1 million after expenses. All proceeds support Paper Mill’s inspiring artistic and education programs that provide access for all, as well as the unparalleled theater on our mainstage.

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Save the Date

Save the date for our annual gala on May 15, 2020, at the Hilton Short Hills. You don’t want to miss this exciting event with fabulous entertainment in support of the theater you love!

Carolyn Ferolito and Pat McGowan
Gala Chair Carolyn Ferolito and Pat McGowan, who was honored with the Byrne/Kean Arts Advocate Award.
Howard and Pamela Hirsch
Howard and Pamela Hirsch were honored with the Antoinette Scudder Patron of the Arts Award.
Andy Blankenbuehler
Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Bandstand, Hamilton, In the Heights) was honored with the Frank Carrington Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Financial Success

Your dollars count!

Paper Mill Playhouse has had seven consecutive years of operating surplus allowing the theater to build its cash reserves.

change in net assets


19-20 season revenue


19-20 season expenses