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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Papermill Playhouse - Closing?

This is a pretty big deal to me, so if anyone has any pull, they should take heed. The Papermill Playhouse is a lovely regional that, while never perfect, provided for me a wonderful place as a kid to get exposure to theatre.

They're located in a rather affluent community in New Jersey, which should set off some alarm bells. If this theater, in its location, isn't able to support itself, we're all in big trouble.

Rally, troops.


Scott Walters said...

But Matt -- couldn't it be that the Papermill Playhouse isn't offering anything that people value anymore? I mean, just what does "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" really have that people need and can't get cheaper through Netflix? I think the real thing we ought to be noting is that the apathy toward theatre has now reached beyond the serious theatre to the seemingly inviolate popular form of the musical. Rather than calling for help for Papermill, perhaps we should be calling for everybody to think a bit more about what might make theatre valuable in the 21st century! (Hint: it ain't "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.")

Freeman said...

It could be, but I'd rather they learn from it AND produce than just stop producing.

Sure they need to wake up.

But they were and are important in the area. Let's not let theater's die just because they aren't producing Mac Wellman in Millburn, NJ.

Scott Walters said...

Mac Wellman is as irrelevant as "Seven brides for Seven Brothers." My comment isn't about musicals versus more "edgy" theatre. It is about the distant and disconnected relationship to the audience that turns productions from a gift to a commodity.

Freeman said...

Sigh. Scott, I'll take your word for it. There are better targets for your dismissal than the Papermill, trust me.

Either way, it looks like they were saved, at least for now.

People obviously value the Papermill. I value the Papermill. The Papermill offers a very traditional and very safe Season and has for a while. Midsummer Night's Dream, Diary of Anne Frank, maybe a Tennesse Williams here and a new musical there. That could change someday, or it won't. Still, if they don't put those shows on, who is doing it in the area? Drew University? Broadway? Rutgers?

I'll call for help for the Papermill, and any theater that's in danger of closing its doors. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. If we want the Papermill to change, great. But maybe they should change after they pay the light bill.

Freeman said...

And Mac Wellman isn't "irrelevant" and neither is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Man! Gimme a break!

Anonymous said...

I've just seen the Papermill Playhouse's production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", and it was absolutely lovely, with some of the best dancing I've ever seen on a musical theater stage. I write books, musical theater, and screenplays for a living, teach screenwriting, and know the movie version of "Seven Brides" inside and out. But I had never been to a show at the Papermill before and don't know anyone involved with the production. Grab your children and grandchilden, and head over to the Papermill Playhouse for this production of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". I was stunned that theater of this high quality is going on in a small town so far from Broadway. Not "relevant"? When is wonderful music and spectacular dancing not relevant? I only wish I had children of my own to take to see this utterly delightful show. When it comes to musical theater, "trendy" isn't the be-all and end-all. I'd rather go see and hear a show with music and lyrics by DePaul and Mercer, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, or Rodgers and Hammerstein, anyday. It's quality that counts, and quality never goes out of style.

Anonymous said...

Have to disagree with Scott's comment "make theatre valuable in the 21st century - hint - it ain't Seven Brides..."

That's the problem - there are people that WANT "Seven Brides", and "Sound of Music", and "Oklahoma".... I think the Papermill forgot that a bit in the past few years and got a little TOO edgy.. Believe me - I have enjoyed nontraditional shows, too (we are season subscribers), but I watched too many "blue haired ladies" and their gents walk out in the middle of a few of those.. and like it or not - THAT is your main theatre-goer at the Papermill. Traditional, feel good shows are what fills the seats at this location. (and just got home from seeing "Seven Brides".. the cast was awesome!)