Friday, October 31, 2014

Rand Paul Endorses Governor Tom Corbett

In Pennsylvania, he Corbett-Cawley campaign today announced that United States Senator Rand Paul has endorsed Governor Tom Corbett for re-election. Paul made his announcement today at a campaign stop in Chambersburg.
  Governor Tom Corbett, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R - KY), U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (PA - 9)
 “I am pleased to endorse Governor Tom Corbett for re-election as Pennsylvania Governor,” stated Paul. “Unlike Tom Wolf, Governor Corbett believes that it is the private sector that creates a prosperous economy, and not a bloated government like we are seeing in Washington under President Obama. Pennsylvanians be warned – if Tom Wolf is elected Governor, Barack Obama’s tax-and-spend policies are coming straight to Harrisburg and after your wallets.”

Paul is the latest nationally known Republican leader to endorse Corbett’s candidacy. Other names include, Texas Governor Rick Perry, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Indiana Governor Mike Pence and United States Senator Pat Toomey.

For more information on the Corbett-Cawley campaign for a stronger Pennsylvania,

Billy Hayes Live - Riding The Midnight Express

An epic journey of self-discovery. Written and performed by the man who lived it.
Now playing at the Barrow Street Theatre, NYC.

Devon Names New Chief Marketing Officer

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair has named Christopher P. Wightman to the position of Chief Marketing Officer. In this newly-created role, Wightman will oversee all corporate and private sponsorship functions and work across the organization to integrate the growing marketing initiatives of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.
"The addition of Chris, with his talents and experience, will help our organization in identifying and attracting new national and global sponsorship partners," said Sarah Coxe Lange, President and CEO of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.
"We believe our world class competition, with its rich history and highly engaged, affluent audience, presents an appealing market to our sponsors."
With 25 years of media and marketing expertise, Wightman brings the organization a diverse and sophisticated background in publishing, broadcast, digital media, sponsorship, marketing and communications. Among many accomplishments during his career, Wightman served as Publisher of Time Inc.'s GOLF Magazine/, one of the largest media companies serving the golf category. 

As Publisher of GOLF, Wightman provided business leadership, worked with Fortune 500 brands and directed a 40-person advertising sales and marketing staff that generated record results in annual revenue. Wightman also gained important experience while working for one of sports largest nonprofit organizations, the United States Golf Association, where he led the communications effort. Additionally, Wightman ran the sales effort for legendary media publisher, Golf Digest, where he served as Vice President, National Sales Director.
"My marketing and sales experience in supporting many premier brands, gives me an important level of confidence as I join one of the most prominent events in the equestrian world," said Wightman.
"To be part of the team that is driving the evolution of this historical organization and to build out dynamic new paths to its future growth provides an inspirational challenge."
Wightman's track record of success across several media platforms provides a set of invaluable experiences that will benefit the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. He learned the broadcast trade during his stint with top cable network MTV, and focused heavily on the business markets at Chief Executive Magazine and MONY Financial Services. He served as Associate Publisher for Smithsonian Media and began his career as a sports reporter, writing for newspapers in Pennsylvania.
Wightman graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism, receiving the Lawrence G. Foster Journalism Scholarship.

Hey, About That Name -- Redskins

Do YOU Remember These Vanished Philly Brands?

At one time or another all of these were famous Philadelphia names. Now, they are all gone.
How many do you remember?

John Wanamaker
Jacob Reed's Sons
J.E. Caldwell & Co.
William H. Wanamaker
B. Bagaslovsy
Hot Shoppes
Nan Duskin
Krass Brothers
Strawbridge & Clothier
Penn Fruit
Sun Ray
Tom Thumb
Horn & Hardart
Robert Hall
Oppenheim Collins
The Bulletin
Penn Jersey

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Two Years Later, NJ Is Stronger, More Resilient

Two Years After Superstorm Sandy, The Christie Administration Has Made Significant Progress Helping Residents, Businesses And Communities Build Back Stronger And More Prepared To Withstand Future Storms


Over $1 Billion In Housing Assistance Out The Door Or In The Pipeline:

As New Jersey nears the two-year mark of Superstorm Sandy, thousands of families across the state are making progress towards rebuilding and returning to their homes with the assistance of federal grants administered by the Christie Administration.

·         Today, more than $1 Billion in federal housing assistance is out the door or in the pipeline to Sandy-impacted families.

·         More than 8,800 homeowners have been approved for grants to repair their homes through the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program;

o    Of the 4,500 homeowners who already signed a grant award 3,700 are in the construction process from pulling permits and repairing damage to elevating structures and obtaining temporary and final certificates of occupancy.

·         With a third round of federal CDBG funds anticipated in the coming months, the State expects to award grants to all eligible homeowners currently enrolled in RREM – the state’s largest Sandy home rebuilding program.

·         All 18,561 eligible homeowners have received or will soon receive a $10,000 check from the $215 million Resettlement Program, an initiative aimed at helping homeowners to defray costs and remain in their home county while rebuilding their Sandy-damaged house.

Focusing Assistance On Families That Need It Most:

The Christie Administration is making housing assistance for low and moderate income families a top priority.

·         The Department of Community Affairs is preparing to launch a Low and Moderate Income (LMI) Homeowners Rebuilding Program. With a budget of $40 million, the program will focus specifically on assisting low and moderate income families hard hit by Sandy in repairing and reconstructing their homes.

·         $102 million has been allocated to help with living expenses for individuals and families still recovering financially from Sandy through the Working Families Living Expenses Voucher Program (also known as SHRAP).

o    To date, about 24,500 individuals have received assistance.

·         More than 460 units of affordable housing for low and moderate income households have been approved through the Landlord Incentive Program;

·         Nearly 250 low and moderate income first-time homebuyers have received interest-free, forgivable mortgages to help buy homes in Sandy-affected communities through the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program; More than $12 million has been spent or obligated so far.

·         More than $25 million in zero-interest loans have been approved to provide 170 affordable housing units in Sandy-impacted communities through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program; 13 Neighborhood Enhancement Program projects are under construction in the nine most impacted counties. Of these, five will complete construction by December 1 and begin leasing affordable housing units.

·         $7.3 million dollars of the $10 million total have been approved to non-profit affordable housing developers for the revitalization of Sandy-affected areas through the Predevelopment Loan Fund For Affordable Rental Housing;

·         More than $169 million has been committed to repair and construct affordable multi-family rental housing units through the Fund For Restoration Of Multifamily Housing (FRM). 22 FRM projects are currently under construction, providing more than 1,450 units of affordable housing units.

·         More than 450 Sandy-damaged housing units that will be rented to low-to-moderate income families are being repaired through funding from the Landlord Rental Repair Program.

Elevating Homes To Protect From Future Storms:

In order to protect New Jersey communities from future storms, the Christie Administration launched a $100 million grant program to assist homeowners elevate their homes. Targeted at homes in the nine counties hardest hit by Sandy, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Elevation Program provides up to $30,000 for eligible homeowners to elevate their primary single-family residences.

·         DEP has identified 2,700 residential properties for elevation grants under its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

·         So far, the DEP has awarded nearly 1,064 elevation grants in 38 towns across five counties. These grants total nearly $32 million.

·         The Christie Administration has submitted more than 1,400 elevation applications for NJ Homeowners to FEMA for approval.

Giving Homeowners The Option To Sell Sandy-Damaged Property

Through New Jersey’s existing Blue Acres Program, the Christie Administration is giving homeowners the option of selling their properties damaged by Superstorm Sandy in tidal areas of New Jersey. The program is designed to give homeowners the ability to choose the best option for their individual situation.

·         500 voluntary buyout offers have been made, and 322 willing sellers have accepted.

·         The State has been evaluating more than 1,300 homes in repetitive flooding communities and over719 applicants have already been approved.
o    So far, 200 homes have been purchased.
o    86 homes have been demolished.

·         The Christie Administration is working to aggressively identify and reach out to additional eligible residents to inform them of buyout opportunities and assist them with the application process.

Cutting Through Insurance Red Tape:

One of the biggest frustrations many New Jerseyans have faced throughout the recovery process is delays and hassles over their claims with private insurance companies. The Christie Administration has fought for residents to cut red tape and speed up the process to get residents the help they need.

·         Over 99 Percent of the 472,242 non-flood, state-regulated private insurance claims filed for homes, businesses and automobiles after Sandy have been closed with payments totaling more than $4.41 billion billion to New Jersey policy holders.

·         Almost $3.9 billion in flood insurance settlements have been paid to New Jersey residents and businesses, after the Christie Administration pressed federal leadership from the Flood Insurance and Mitigation Administration to pay out;

·         66.5 Percent – or 472 of the 709 – of mediation sessions have been settled as part of the Christie Administration’s mediation program to help residents cut through red tape.


The Christie Administration has remained committed to helping the nearly 190,000 businesses in New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy get back on their feet.

·         The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has awarded $160 million to support small businesses and communities through the Stronger NJ Business programs.

o    More than $95.5 million in recovery grants and loans has been approved for over 920 small businesses since the Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan programs launched in May and July of 2013 respectively.

o    Under the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization Program, which provides funding for long-term economic revitalization priorities in Sandy-impacted communities, $65 million has been approved to date. 

·         Although many of New Jersey’s iconic boardwalks were damaged or destroyed by Sandy, every single public boardwalk and beach along the Shore was open for this past beach season. This includes the 10 miles of beaches, boardwalks and bayside trails at Island Beach State Park that had been so severely damaged by the storm.

·         33 gas stations located on or near evacuation routes have been awarded $1.85 million in grants to install back-up generators or connector equipment to hook up to portable generators during major power failures.

The Associated Press: “Good weather and greater awareness that the Jersey shore has made huge strides in recovering from Superstorm Sandy helped make the second summer after the storm better than the first one, many shore merchants and elected officials say. Some business owners report profits up 20 to 30 percent this summer compared with last year's, when the shore was still in the early stages of recovering from the devastating Oct. 29, 2012, storm.” (“Good weather, Sandy recovery successes boost Jersey shore tourism in second summer after storm,”The Associated Press, 8/29/14)


As part of the long-term recovery strategy, the Christie Administration is committed to rebuilding stronger and smarter, and ensuring New Jersey’s communities and infrastructure are more prepared to withstand future storms.

Strengthening Communities Against Flooding:

Beach Restoration and Dunes: After Superstorm Sandy, the State worked closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a massive undertaking to repair and improve beaches, and to build a comprehensive coastal protection system: The USACE's New York District completed its $345 million post-Superstorm Sandy beach repair and restoration projects along the Monmouth County coastline. That work returned previously constructed beaches damaged by Sandy, from Sandy Hook to Manasquan, to their original protection design.

·         DEP is working with the USACE to build 11 new coastal and flood protection projects statewide. These projects, which will cost more than $1 billion, will help create an engineered, comprehensive shore protection system along the Atlantic coast, while also bolstering protections on the Delaware Bay coast, Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay and tidal portions of the South River and the Passaic River.

Easements To Ensure Shore Protection: The state intervened in the pivotal Harvey Cedars V. Karan case and prevailed, reducing a more than $375,000 to a $1.00 settlement and has now obtained more than 80 percent of the property easements needed to enable construction of shore protection and flood mitigation projects along the State’s 127 miles of shoreline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has signed off on all major Shore protection projects and construction will begin next month.

Sea Bright Sea Wall: In August 2014, the Christie Administration announced that Sea Bright will receive $8.5 million in state funding to repair and extend the borough’s sea wall, which is vital to the protection of this northern Monmouth County town from future storms.

Mantoloking and Brick Steel Sheet Piling: Construction is underway on a project by the Department of Environmental Services to install a steel sheet piling into the beaches of Mantoloking and Brick to protect a four-mile section of Route 35 and nearby homes and businesses from future severe storms. The $23.8 million project will be completed in November.

Coastal Resiliency Projects: In June, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it would award $25.3 million in competitive matching grants to New Jersey-based projects through the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Grant Program. These projects are designed to mitigate the threat of extreme weather events to coastal communities using science-based solutions. Approved projects for program funding include:

·         Reusing Dredged Material to Restore Salt Marshes and Protect Communities: Reuse dredge materials to restore 90 acres of salt marsh for Avalon, Stone Harbor and Fortescue. Enhanced salt marsh will provide wildlife habitat and reduce flooding and erosion impacts on nearby communities.

·         Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards: Develop, design and deliver green infrastructure techniques that add ecological value and enhance community resiliency for coastal communities.

·         Enhancing Liberty State Park’s Marshes and Upland Habitats: Create and improve Liberty State Park’s 40 acres of salt marsh and 100 acres of upland habitat in Jersey City. Project will improve ecosystem resiliency and create a new publicly accessible area within the park.

Comprehensive Flood Mitigation: This summer, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that New Jersey will receive $380 million to implement two flood mitigation projects designed and selected through a HUD-sponsored design competition, Rebuild by Design. The funds are included in the third round allocation of CDBG-DR funds, totaling more than $881 million, including significant assistance for New Jersey's recovery and rebuilding programs benefitting Sandy-affected homeowners and renters. The winning New Jersey projects will address flood risk in densely populated communities with repetitive flooding challenges:

·         “New Meadowlands”: This flood risk reduction project consists of a large natural reserve along the Hackensack River, designed to help reduce flooding in Little Ferry, Moonachie, Carlstadt, Teterboro and South Hackensack. The design envisions using an intricate system of green infrastructure, including berms and marshes, to protect against ocean surges and help reduce sewer overflows in adjacent towns.

·         “Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge”: This flood risk reduction project is a comprehensive urban water strategy that will use hard infrastructure and soft landscape for coastal defense, while also addressing systemic drainage issues.  It includes a variety of flood risk reduction infrastructure that will be built along the Hudson River, stopping flood waters from intruding into Hoboken and parts of Weehawken and Jersey City.  This new infrastructure will complement resilience measures undertaken in the area by New Jersey Transit, including proposals currently being reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration for competitive recovery funds.

Hardening The State’s Critical Infrastructure:

New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank As part of the Christie Administration’s continuing efforts to minimize the impact of future major power outages and increase energy resiliency, the State established New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank (ERB), the first public infrastructure bank in the nation to focus on energy resilience. Using $200 million of CDBG funds, the ERB will support the development of distributed energy resources at critical facilities throughout the State.

NJTransit This summer, NJTransit was awarded $1.276 billion in federal resources to fund five projects designed to strengthen the agency’s infrastructure. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded the grants as part of a highly competitive regional competition that included 13 states vying for $3 billion in total available funding.

·         NJ TRANSITGRID: Originally announced by Governor Christie and United States Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in August 2013, NJ TRANSITGRID will serve as a first-of-its-kind electrical microgrid capable of supplying highly-reliable power during storms or other times when the centralized power grid is compromised. NJ TRANSITGRID will incorporate renewable energy, distributed generation, and other technologies to provide resilient power to key NJ TRANSIT stations, maintenance facilities, bus garages, and other buildings.

·         Raritan River Drawbridge Replacement: The North Jersey Coast Line's Raritan River Drawbridge sustained structural damage during Superstorm Sandy and service was suspended for three weeks.  The grant will allow NJ TRANSIT to replace this one-hundred-year-old drawbridge with a far more resilient structure, thus enhancing the reliability of the North Jersey Coast Line.

·         Hoboken Long Slip Flood Projection: During Sandy, Long Slip — a 2,000- ft. east-west penetration of the Hudson River into Hoboken Rail Yard — acted as a conduit for surge waters and contributed to the inundation of both Hoboken Terminal and its adjacent rail yard.  This project will fill the Long Slip as well as construct six new tracks and three boarding platforms. The elevated position of these tracks and platforms will permit the rapid recovery of commuter rail services following a storm event.

·         Train Storage And Service Restoration Project: NJ TRANSIT will build a new Delco Lead and Service and Inspection Facility. This project is focused on protecting equipment against functional damage resulting from wind or flooding, and facilitating the rapid resumption of service after storms have passed. The new strategically located facility will provide resilient storage and will facilitate the rapid return to service following a storm event.

·         Train Control & Communication Resiliency ProjectFour of NJ TRANSIT's ten commuter rail lines and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line have been identified as having vulnerability to future storms and will be strengthened to protect critical signal, power and communications systems used to control train speed, switches and track choice, and following distances for safe operations.

Reconstruction of Route 35: Sandy carried away entire sections of Route 35 and completely destroyed the highway drainage system. In July 2013, the Christie Administration officially broke ground on the $265 million construction project to rebuild Route 35, the gateway to many of the barrier islands that make up the Jersey Shore.

·         The reconstruction of Route 35 is incorporating “best practices,” including flood vents, anti-scour measures, and pump stations. 

Wastewater Treatment: New Jersey also this summer received a $260 million Public Assistance grant to the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC), the largest mitigation grant FEMA has ever issued through the Public Assistance Program. Funding will be used to build a comprehensive flood protection system at the wastewater treatment facility in Newark and incorporate microgrid technology to allow the facility to continue to operate when the larger electric grid fails. Additional funding will also made available through the Environmental Infrastructure Trust for additional hardening and resilience measures.

Christie To Storm Survivors: 'I Love You!'

Governor Christie: Someone asked me this morning what my thoughts were today, and what I said was it seems like a lot longer than two years ago to me and I suspect you feel that way too. This has been a long, long two years and a long struggle, and I sat last night with Mary Pat. We watched some video from the days before, the couple of days before the storm and the day after and it’s almost like I don’t recognize that person who was standing up there talking and telling you to get the hell off the beach and all the rest of that stuff. It seems like so long ago, and that just talks about how difficult the struggle has been for all of us. Time doesn’t move as quickly as we might like it to, but we need to continue to hold hands together, to work hard together, and to show the strength and the resilience that we have in this state to make sure that everybody who needs help gets help. I’m going to keep doing that for as long as I’m lucky enough to have this job and I feel incredibly privileged to be the Governor of the state where I was born and raised and I thank all of you for giving me the chance to do that not once but twice. We love you. Thank you very much.

Sandy Recovery Reaches New Milestone!

New Jersey’s Blue Acres Program has purchased its 200th Superstorm Sandy-damaged home as part of a $300 million statewide initiative to move property owners out of areas impacted by Sandy and other severe storms, Governor Chris Christie announced today.

The program has also surpassed another milestone – the 500th buyout offer made by the state to property owners, with more than 300 offers accepted.

“Just weeks after Sandy devastated many parts of New Jersey, homeowners in some of our hardest hit communities told me they wanted a way out from the constant threat of flooding,” Governor Christie said today in South River, a town severely damaged by Sandy’s storm surge. “We listened, and the Sandy Blue Acres buyout program has been the answer, giving homeowners and their families a chance to move away from all of the uncertainty, fear and expense of living in flood-prone areas. The program is giving them a chance to start over again.”

“The Blue Acres Program has been a tremendous success and is an important part of the Administration’s efforts to make New Jersey more resilient in the face of future storms and flooding,” Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin said. “The decision to move from your home is one of the most difficult anyone could ever make. We fully understand this and will continue to work closely with future sellers to ensure this process is easy as possible for them too.”

Launched by the Christie Administration in May 2013, the $300 million buyout program will purchase some 1,300 damaged homes from willing sellers at pre-Sandy market values. The program is administered by the DEP and is funded primarily by federal funds.

It has been a key part of the Administration’s efforts to make New Jersey more resilient in the face of future storms and flooding. In addition to buyouts, the state’s comprehensive plan also includes working with the Army Corps of Engineers on a $1 billion comprehensive coastal protection system that includes enhanced beaches and dunes to better protect coastal communities, new elevation standards in flood zones, programs to assist homeowners with the cost of elevations, and $1.2 billion in potential financing for the hardening of water and wastewater infrastructure.

Under the Blue Acres Program, structures are demolished and the properties converted to open space that provides natural protections for communities against future severe weather events. To date, nearly 100 homes have been demolished.

The 200 homes purchased so far have been in Sayreville, South River, Woodbridge and East Brunswick. The 200th home was purchased on Friday in Sayreville for a price of $209,000.

Two years ago, the South River Rescue Squad rescued South River resident and Councilman Jim Hutchison and his wife, Teresa, from their Washington Street home as flood waters from the South River poured in during the height of Sandy. They sold the house and property to the Blue Acres Program, and relocated to another part of town.

“We are extremely pleased with the way everything worked out. Every step of the way was just a very, very smooth process,” Councilman Hutchison said at today’s press conference. “I just cannot say enough about everything Governor Christie has done for New Jersey and for everyone affected by Sandy.”

So far, the program has identified more than 900 properties for potential buyouts and has made 500 offers to residents in Sayreville, South River, Woodbridge, Newark, East Brunswick and Lawrence, which is located along the Delaware Bay in Cumberland County.

The Blue Acres Program also has approached homeowners about potential buyouts and held community kickoff meetings in Linden, Old Bridge, Manville and Pompton Lakes, and is engaged in dialogue with residents and officials in other communities.

So far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has approved more than $100 million in federal funds for the program, which have been processed through the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

Additional federal funding to acquire other properties impacted by Superstorm Sandy will be provided through the a second round of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds allocated to New Jersey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The DEP is using a special Blue Acres team to work closely with willing sellers and process their buyout applications as quickly as possible. Case managers are paired with individual homeowners to help guide them through the process.

The original Blue Acres Program, which began in 1995, targeted the purchases of land in floodways in the Delaware, Passaic and Raritan river basins, but it was later expanded to include all state waters. Eligible properties are those that have been storm damaged, that are prone to incurring storm damage, or that may buffer or protect other lands from such damage.

Homeowners interested in selling their homes through this process may contact the DEP’s Blue Acres Program at 609-984-0500.

For more information on the Blue Acres Program, visit:

For information on Sandy Recovery, visit:

Paper Mill Announces Cast For 'Elf' Holiday Musical

Paper Mill Playhouse announces casting for its holiday musical, Elf.  

Based on the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell, Elf has a book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin.  Elf will be directed by Eric Ankrim and choreographed by Josh Rhodes. Elf will run eight times a week at the Millburn, New Jersey, theater from November 26, 2014, through January 4, 2015. The official press opening night is Sunday, November 30, at 7:00pm. Paper Mill Playhouse's 2014-2015 Season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

Based on the holiday film starring Will Ferrell, Elf is the fantastical holiday musical for the entire family! This is the hilarious and joyous tale of Buddy, an orphan who is mistakenly transported to the North Pole and raised by Santa's elves. Now, as a grownup, he embarks on a journey to discover his true identity.  It's a holiday treat for the entire family.

Elf will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:00pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm, Friday at 7:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Check Paper Mill Playhouse’s website for special holiday week schedules. Tickets are on sale now and range from $28 to $99. 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 about everyone's favorite elf, Buddy,” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director for the Millburn theater. “Bring your entire family together to see the New Jersey premiere of this holiday treat.”

Elf features a cast of Broadway veterans and Paper Mill Playhouse favorites. James Moye (Buddy), a North Bergen resident, appeared in the Broadway companies of Bullets Over BroadwayMillion Dollar QuartetRagtimeA Tale of Two CitiesThe Full Monty and Urinetown. Moye’s television credits include The Onion News NetworkLaw and Order: Criminal IntentThe Today ShowJimmy Kimmel Live! and more. Kate Fahrner (Jovie), a resident of Maplewood, was seen in the Broadway and touring productions of Wicked. Fahrer was also seen in off-Broadway productions of Under My Skin and Sarah, Plain and Tall.   Paul C. Vogt (Santa) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he last appeared as Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Vogt is known for his roles on MADtv and NBC’s The Rerun Show. On Broadway, Vogt was seen in Chicago and Hairspray.

Heidi Blickenstaff (Emily Hobbs) was last seen on Broadway as Alice Beineke in The Addams Family. Blickenstaff’s other Broadway credits include [title of show]The Little Mermaid and The Full MontyRobert Cuccioli(Walter Hobbs) returns to Paper Mill for his thirteenth production. On Broadway, Cuccioli was seen in Spider-Man: Turn Off the DarkLes Misérables and Jekyll & HydeJake Faragalli (Michael), a south Jersey resident,appeared off-Broadway in Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was seen in regional productions of Oliver!, Mulan, Willy Wonka, To Kill a Mockingbird and Father of the Bride.

Cleve Asbury (Mr. Greenway), a Bloomfield resident, was featured as Mr. Ovington in the recent Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Asbury was also seen on Broadway in Chita Rivera: The Dancers LifeAnnie Get Your GunJerome Robbins' BroadwayMe and My Girl and others. Jessica Sheridan (Deb) returns to Paper Mill, where she appeared in Oliver! and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Sheridan’s Broadway credits include Sister ActFolliesMary Poppins and Les MisérablesDeMone (Macy’s Manager) performed in productions of RagtimeMiss SaigonRentJesus Christ SuperstarThe Great MacDaddyBlack Nativity Now andBalls: The Musical.

Rounding out the ensemble are: Sydney Brenton (Short Hills, NJ), Stephanie Cain, Alicia Charles, Brittany Conigatti, Michael Di Liberto, Madge Dietrich, Michael Fatica, Michael Coale Grey (Union, NJ), Anna McCarthy (Madison, NJ), Gillian Munsayac, Patrick O’Neill, Heather Parcells, Jody Reynard, Chris Richards, Justin Schuman, Sam Seferian and Laura Smith.

Eric Ankrim (Director) is a Seattle-based director and actor who previously directed Elf at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, WA. Ankrim also directed the Seattle premieres of In the HeightsSpring AwakeningAvenue Q andDr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which he adapted for the stage. As an actor, Ankrim understudied Zachary Levi in Broadway's First Date, in a role he originated in Seattle. 
Josh Rhodes (Choreographer) received a 2013 Drama Desk Award nomination for best choreography for Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella. Also on Broadway, Rhodes provided the musical staging for First Date and served as the Associate Choreographer on The Drowsy Chaperone, and he choreographed Company with the New York Philharmonic starring Neil Patrick Harris and Patti LuPone for PBS.

Dominick Amendum (Music Director) has, for the past eight years, served as Associate Music Supervisor for the international megahit Wicked, having also conducted Wicked’s Broadway, Los Angeles and first national touring companies. In New York City, Amendum also worked on First DateHeathers and The Blue Flower. Amendum worked on recordings with artists such as Dolly Parton, Marvin Hamlisch, and Stephen Schwartz.

Thomas Meehan (Book) received the Tony Award for writing the book of Annie, his first Broadway show, as well as for cowriting the books for The Producers and Hairspray. He also wrote the books for the musicals Rocky,ChaplinYoung FrankensteinI Remember MamaAnnie Warbucks and more. He is a longtime contributor of humor to The New Yorker, an Emmy Award–winning writer of television comedy, and a collaborator on screenplays including Spaceballs and To Be or Not to Be.

Bob Martin (Book) has worked as an actor and writer in Canadian theater, film and television for three decades. He co-created and starred in The Drowsy Chaperone, which won him the 2006 Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for best book, the Theatre World Award, and a Tony nomination for best actor. He is the co-creator of the TV show Slings & Arrows and also has written, produced, and appeared in Michael: Tuesdays & ThursdaysPuppets Who KillSensitive Skin and others.

Matthew Sklar (Music) wrote the music for The Wedding Singer, which garnered nominations for the Tony Award for best score and the Drama Desk Award for outstanding music. Sklar’s other original musicals include The Rhythm ClubJudas & Me and Wicked City. Sklar served as pianist, conductor and/or arranger for more than a dozen Broadway productions, including ShrekNine42nd StreetTitanicMiss SaigonLes Misérables and Caroline, or Change.

Chad Beguelin (Lyrics) most recently penned the book and additional lyrics for Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, earning Tony Award nominations for best book and best score. He was nominated in the same categories in 2006 for his work on The Wedding Singer. His play Harbor premiered Off Broadway last season at Primary Stages. He also wrote the book and lyrics for Judas & MeThe Rhythm Club and Wicked City.

Paper Mill Playhouse will once again, be a collection point for this year’s Jersey Cares Coat Drive.  Over the past 19 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 26 through the run of Elf. This year, Paper Mill Playhouse will also be a collection center for new, unwrapped toys to help underserved communities throughout the state.  Collection of coats and toys will take place in the lobby at Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ.

Paper Mill Playhouse, a leader in accessibility, will offer audio-described performances for Elf on Saturday, December 20, and Sunday, December 21, 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 and hands-on interaction with key sets, props, and costumes.  There will be a sign-interpreted and open-captioned performance on Sunday, December 21, at 7 pm. 

Paper Mill Playhouse will offer a special autism-friendly performance of Elf on Tuesday, December 23, at 1:30pm.  This performance is designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum or with other developmental disabilities, and is planned in cooperation with Paper Mill Playhouse’s Autism Advisory Team. This is the second time Paper Mill Playhouse has expanded its autism-friendly performances to a mainstage production after a successful performance of 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. 

Additionally, Paper Mill Playhouse will host a free open house titled Meet Your Seat on Monday, December 22, 2014, 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.  Major support for autism-friendly programs is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional generous support by C.R. Bard Foundation, The Karma Foundation, The Merck Company Foundation, and, MetLife Foundation.

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, 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/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for 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.   

WOW! Great Halloween Eat-In/Take-Out Deals!

Tkts. On Sale Tomorrow For Wolf Hall, I & II

Producers of the Broadway transfer of the critically acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatrical event Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 are happy to announce that tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10:00 a.m. on October 31, 2014.

Based on the best selling novels by Dame Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies), Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 will invite theatergoers to be part of a unique theatrical experience, similar to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s award winning production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Both parts of the production can either be seen in one day with a dinner break of approximately two-and-a-half hours, or can be seen on two different days.

For purchases through December 31, 2014, ticket packages for both plays will be available at an exclusive price and those who choose the Saturday or Sunday marathon performances will have the ability to keep their same seats for both plays.

In addition, a limited number of student tickets will be available from the box office for $27 (per part) on the day of the performance.

“Hilary Mantel’s best-selling novels
have been brought into the open daylight
and turned into edge of your seat theatre.”
- Ben Brantley, The New York Times

that will not disappoint fans of modern political
dramas such as ‘House of Cards’”
- The Guardian, London

The intrigue fizzes, and the dialogue continually surprises,
switching between delicious lyricism and a bracing simplicity.
- The Evening Standard, London

- The Daily Telegraph, London
- The Daily Mail, London
- The Independent, London

Tickets for Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 will be available for purchase online at or by calling (212) 239-6200.

Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 will begin previews on Friday, March 20, 2015, at the Winter Garden Theatre(1634 Broadway, between 50th and 51st Streets). Opening day is set for Thursday, April 9, 2015.

Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 are adapted by Mike Poulton from Hilary Mantel’s double Man Booker Prize winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (published Henry Holt in the U.S.). The plays are based on the deceit, betrayal, and intrigue of the court of Henry VIII. 

The production features a company of more than twenty actors, headed by Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell, Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn, and Nathaniel Parker as King Henry VIII, all under the direction of Olivier Award nominee Jeremy Herrin, who makes his New York City directing début. The Royal Shakespeare Company is appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association.

The production will also feature scenic and costume design by Christopher Oram, lighting design byPaule Constable (Part 1) and David Plater (Part 2), sound design by Nick Powell, and music byStephen Warbeck.

Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 will be produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis & Nick Salmon for Playful Productions UK, and The Shubert Organization.