More than 120 of the region's most talented young performers, including three local artists, will get the spotlight in Paper Mill Playhouse's "New Voices of 2013: Swing Awakening."
The teens come from the Millburn theater's five-week Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory.
To earn a coveted spot in "New Voices," conservatory students in its Senior, Junior Plus, and Junior companies, which cover ages 10-18, had to compete.
Representing Cranford in the company are Garrett Forrestal, Jake Forrestal and Michael Nigro.
As part of the theater education effort, the young people get to work with the playhouse’s professional artistic staff to mount the production.
This year’s New Voices theme is a celebration of the rich history of standards and jazz hits that are the soul and heart of musical theater.
“New Voices is an amazing opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow,” said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill’s producing artistic director. “This fully produced, original concert features more than 120 incredible performers. It is amazing to see these young performers grow into professional artists and grace our stage with an inspiring, heartfelt performance.”
The goal of the conservatory and the "New Voices" concert is to create and showcase young artists who can grow to become world-class performers, according to Paper Mill's Director of Education Lisa Cooney.
“From the first day of class all the way through opening night of New Voices, we require our students to rise to the demands of this rigorous program,” she said. “We ask them to work harder than they ever have before as young performers, and we strive to build an incredible ensemble company, while each student hones their own individual performance skills. Our faculty pushes the students to believe in themselves as professional artists and treats them as such.
"We find summer after summer that our students meet our expectations and more," Cooney continued. "When they move on to college or the professional world, they are ready for the challenges they’ll face, and time and again they thrive and ultimately live their dream of being a professional performer. It’s gratifying when they make a name or themselves on Broadway or in Hollywood, but even if they do not, the skills they learn and the work ethic they develop will serve them in any field.”
Many conservatory students do go on to appear in numerous Broadway productions, film, television, and regional theater. Some, including Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and Tony winners Laura Benanti and Nikki M. James, have enjoyed award-winning recognition on stage and screen.
Performances of New Voices of 2013: Swing Awakening will be held Friday, Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 3 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Single tickets range in price from $25 to $45. Tickets may be purchased by calling (973) 376-4343, online at www.papermill.org, or visit the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn.