Untitled Document


April 9, 2014


The Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn was honored for its 75th Anniversary Season during the Freeholder Board’s April 9th meeting at the Hall of Records.  Todd Schmidt (front, center), Managing Director is pictured above with: Front Row (left to right), Freeholder President Blonnie Watson, Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold, Freeholder Leonard Luciano and Freeholder Rolando Bobadilla. Back Row (left to right), Shayne Miller, Director of Press and Public Relations and Freeholder Carol Clark.   PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

(Newark, NJ) – During its Wednesday, April 9th, meeting held at the Hall of Records, The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored the Paper Mill Playhouse for its 75th Anniversary Season.  The Paper Mill Playhouse is one of the country’s premier not-for-profit theaters modestly located in Essex County in the Township of Millburn. The 75th season extends from November 14, 2013, through June 29, 2014 and will be acknowledged with a Gala at the Hilton Short Hills.

Todd Schmidt, Managing Director and Shayne Miller, Director of Press and Public Relations were on hand to accept the Board’s commendation that was sponsored by acclamation and presented by Freeholders Leonard Luciano, from West Caldwell; Blonnie Watson, President of the Board from Newark; Patricia Sebold, Vice President of the Board from Livingston; Carol Clark from East Orange and Rolando Bobadilla from Newark.

“Personally, I am a huge fan of music, dance and theater, and have enjoyed many a production at the Paper Mill over the years.  As an educator, I appreciate their approach to nurture and cultivate the life of the arts in a season where many fine arts programs are being reduced”, said Freeholder Luciano who led the accolades during the presentation. Freeholder President Watson who comes from a long-line of singers, musicians and actors speaking of her personal appreciation of the theater stated, “Theater is in our blood”; while Freeholder Vice President Sebold agreed the Paper Mill Playhouse is “Broadway in our Backyard”.

The Paper Mill Playhouse opened its doors in 1938 with “The Kingdom of God”, a play by Martinez Sierra.  However, just a few short years prior, in 1934, Antoinette Scudder had purchased the then derelict Thistle Paper Mill with the vision of creating a repertory theater. Soon operettas, musicals and more plays were incorporated into the theater’s repertoire.  In 1986, the National Endowment for the Arts ranked the Paper Mill Playhouse second in the nation for artistic excellence, surpassed only by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. And in keeping with its credo, “Theater for Everyone” it became the first theater in the country to present “Sensory-Friendly Performances” for children with autism and developmental disabilities.
The state-of-the-art facility rivals any theater on Broadway. With 1,200 seats and an enormous stage, offering dazzling, larger-than-life productions that attract “A-list” stars, directors, composers, choreographers, and technicians that work together to make an experience audiences keep in their hearts forever. Additionally, many Institutional Awards have been bestowed upon the Paper Mill Playhouse.

In acceptance of the commendation, Todd Schmidt, Managing Director, thanked the Board of Chosen Freeholders for the honor and conveyed his pride in representing the Paper Mill Playhouse during its 75th Season.  He stated the Paper Mill Playhouse is a unique organization having been founded in the midst of the great depression and has now evolved to a world class theatre known throughout this region, state and nation.  Introducing productions like Newsies that began at the Paper Mill Playhouse and ultimately made it to Broadway.  He further shared, highlights for the next season which will feature three brand-new works including, a collaborative partnership with Disney Theatrical Group for the Hunchback of Notre Dame another Broadway hopeful production as well as closing with a new musical entitled Ever After based on the film starring Drew Barrymore. Shayne Miller, Director of Press and Public Relations added his sentiments and stated that he is most proud of the economic impact the Paper Mill Playhouse has had on the community.  He called it “the economic engine of Millburn” and he noted the Paper Mill Playhouse adds to the tax base of Essex County, as well.  Every year 50,000 young people participate in programs joined by more than 250,000 artists, patrons, educators and children who come to the Paper Mill Playhouse.


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For Additional Information:
Kathy R. Brown, Research Analyst
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders



Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695