Paper Mill Playhouse has been named the winner of the 2016 Regional Theater Tony Award, the annual trophy handed out to companies beyond the Broadway world on which the Tony Awards focus.
Located just across the river from New York City in Millburn, N.J., Paper Mill has, in recent years, grown increasingly prominent as a pre-Broadway tryout for musical titles. “Newsies,” the current revival of “Les Miserables” and “Honeymoon in Vegas” all played at Paper Mill prior to landing on Broadway. “The Bandstand,” the new musical that ran at Paper Mill last fall, has targeted a Broadway transfer for the 2016-17 season.
Last year the Tonys’ regional honor went to Cleveland Playhouse. Since 2010, the award has also encompassed Off Broadway theaters in additional to companies outside of the city, with New York’s Signature Theater taking the prize in 2014.
News of the 2016 regional Tony winner comes just prior to the nominations for the Tonys’ competitive awards, with nominees set to be announced May 3 by hosts Nikki M. James and Andrew Rannells, who co-starred in the original cast of “The Book of Mormon.” (Both were nominated for Tonys in 2011, and James won.)
Leadership of the Paper Mill, headed by artistic director Mark S. Hoebee, will receive the regional trophy during the 2016 Tony ceremony, due to be telecast live from Manhattan’s Beacon Theater June 12.