Saturday, December 5, 2015

Special 'Autism Friendly' Christmas Story Show!

New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director is proud to announce a special autism-friendly performance for its critically-acclaimed, holiday musical, A Christmas Story: The Musical. Paper Mill Playhouse will offer this special autism-friendly performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical on Tuesday, December 29th, at 1:30pm. 

This performance is designed specifically for people on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disabilities. This is the third time Paper Mill Playhouse has expanded its autism-friendly performances to a mainstage production after successful performances of Elf in 2014 and Disney’s The Little Mermaid in 2013. The theater environment will be altered for this performance, providing a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming to all families. 

The performance itself will be adjusted with special attention paid to lighting and sound. The autism-friendly performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical is planned in cooperation with the Paper Mill Playhouse Autism Advisory Team and is proudly sponsored by the Merck Foundation.

Paper Mill Playhouse will host a free open house titled Meet Your Seat on Monday, December 28, 2015, from 4:00 to 6:00pm.  This is an opportunity for children who are new to the theatrical experience to visit the theater space before the show. Often children with autism or other developmental disabilities become anxious in new surroundings, new experiences, and they need time to transition. The Meet Your Seat open house provides an opportunity for children to come to the theater in advance of the performance and take time to feel comfortable in this new space.

Based on the popular 1983 film, A Christmas Story: The Musical has a book by Joseph Robinette with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.  A Christmas Story: The Musical will be directed by Brandon Ivie and choreographed by Mara Newbery Greer. A Christmas Story: The Musical will run eight times a week at the Millburn, New Jersey, theater through January 3, 2016.  Paper Mill Playhouse's 2015-2016 Season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

Ralphie wants only one thing for Christmas: an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. A Christmas Story: The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas. Straight from Broadway‚ this musical captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike. Bring the whole family‚ again and again. The holiday movie that the whole world loves comes to musical life.

Tickets are on sale now starting at $32. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680.  College students can order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

“There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than a trip to Paper Mill Playhouse to experience this heartwarming and hilarious musical based on the film that you know and love,” commented Paper Mill Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee. “Bring the entire family and share an experience they will never forget.”

A Christmas Story: The Musical features a cast of Broadway veterans and amazing young talent. Judah Immanuel and Colton Maurer will share the role of Ralphie, a role they have each performed in previous productions. Judah Immanuel was featured in productions of The Secret Garden and Into the Woods. Colton Maurer (Mahwah, New Jersey), returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he appeared as a workhouse boy in Oliver! and performed in the Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory for two years. Hudson Loverro (Randy) has performed in productions of Oliver! and Fiddler on the Roof.

Paper Mill Playhouse, a leader in accessibility, will offer audio-described performances for A Christmas Story: The Musical on Saturday, December 19, and Sunday, December 20, at 1:30 pm. Prior to these performances at noon, the theater will offer free sensory seminars. Sensory seminars offer an opportunity for patrons with vision loss to hear a live, in-depth description of the production elements of the show along with hands-on interaction with key sets, props, and costumes.  There will be a sign-interpreted and open-captioned performance on Sunday, December 20, at 7 pm. 

Paper Mill Playhouse embraces a long history of providing access services to patrons of the theater.  In addition to autism-friendly performances, Paper Mill Playhouse offers a wide variety of access programs and services including: sign-interpreted performances, open-captioned performances, audio-described performances, pre-show sensory seminars and barrier-free access theater-wide.  Paper Mill Playhouse’s accessibility programs have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, VSA arts/MetLife, and the New Jersey Department of Recreation as a role model for other performing arts organizations throughout the country.

Paper Mill Playhouse will once again, be a collection point for this year’s Jersey Cares Coat Drive.  Over the years, Jersey Cares has collected, sorted and distributed more than 500,000 winter coats to New Jersey residents. The donated winter coats benefit at-risk men, women, children, and infants in our area. Each year, Paper Mill Playhouse gladly participates in this worthy cause and will be collecting gently used winter coats from November 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016. Collection of coats will take place in the lobby at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ.

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization, is one of the country's leading regional theaters.  Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.   

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