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Jersey Stage Milestone
Paper Mill Anniversary

Suburban Essex County Real Estate Ads – great schools, wonderful atmosphere and only 37 minutes by train to NYC!

By Alan Branigan
Originally appeared in the Newark Sunday News on May 10, 1964

Stage shot from the 1939 production of Pearl Buck's "Flight Into China" shows the caliber of early Paper Mill offerings. Starred, left to right, were June Walker, Tome Seiwart. and (believe it or not) Jose Ferrer.

AMONG the chief benefactors, naturally, were the composers. Men like Sigmund Romberg and Rudolf Friml, pleased that their works were once again in the spotlight, often came to the Paper Mill to revel in their greatest tune successes. Several of the song-smiths confided to Mr. Carrington that they felt their music had taken a new lease on life.

It may be merely coincidence that one nowadays can turn on the radio and hear innumerable songs from "Student Prince," "Naughty Marietta," "Desert Song," "The Red Mill," "Babes in Toyland," and "New Moon," to choose a handful of the Shubert-type operettas that enjoyed a re-birth at Paper Mill. Sitting in his office, with its bookshelves lined with books on theater ("Delsarte," "Early Tudor Drama," "Let's Do a Play," "The Light Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan," "The World of Musical Comedy), Mr. Carrington mused about the varying styles of Paper Mill offerings.

"Some people today think the plays we have been offering, the pre-Broadway productions and the like, are new here," he said. "This is not exactly the case. Right at the opening in 1938, we produced only plays. It was nothing unusual to have visits from Lee Shtibert, Mary Pickford, Gabriel Pascal, who later made all those Shaw movies; Ethel Barrymore, Grace George, William A. Brady, Doris Keane, John van Druten and Stark Young. These were the theatrical leaders of the 1930s and we stood high in their regard.

"Plays were the thing at Paper Mill. Some were unusually exciting, like Eva Le Gallienne and Rex O'Mal ley in "Private Lives." We went in for Shaw, Galsworthy, Barrie, Coward, Sidney Kingsley, and many of the other great playwrights of the day, presented with Broadway stars. We previewed several new plays, among them "Papa Is All."


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