NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. (Actually, mostly just Playbill.)
The Outsider comes East
The announcement of Paper Mill Playhouse's 2017-18 season - which includes the East Coast premiere of Paul's new play, The Outsider - received lots of enthusiastic coverage. New Jersey's Star-Ledger called it "the most ambitious line-up in the theatre's history". A theatre blog declared it Paper Mill's "most daring and boldest season to date", and predicted "this may be the season that designates Paper Mill as Broadway's official pre-tryout house". The news was also covered by Playbill and Broadway.com.
The Chocolate Factory is open for business
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is open on Broadway! Paul plays Charlie's grumpy Grandpa George - and has the thrill and privilege of understudying both Christian Borle as Willy Wonka and John Rubenstein as Grandpa Joe. It's a layer of thrilling topped with a layer of unbelievable, wrapped in a bar of salted dark chocolate.
Captain Hook in Neverland
On June 7th of last year, Paul assumed the roles of Charles Frohman and Captain Hook in Finding Neverland on Broadway, and continued in the roles through the end of the Broadway run. Paul was with the production since its April, 2015 opening, originating the role of Mr. Henshaw. The casting news was announced by both Broadway.com and Playbill.
Peter Pan and Ragtime
Paul's exciting adventures in August of 2016 included Transport Group's "Peter Pan in Concert" at Signature Theatre, and the incredible Ragtime on Ellis Island. The two concerts got plenty of press coverage, including these pieces on Peter Pan in Broadway World and Ragtime in Playbill.
Paul at Birdland
On January 4, 2016, Paul had the privilege of performing the music and lyrics of Neil Bartram at the legandary club, Birdland, in a program called "New Songs for a New Year". A very New York way to start his first full year in New York!
Finding Neverland original cast album!
It's in stores! It's online! On July 17, 2015, Republic Records released the original Broadway cast recording of Finding Neverland. Paul and the rest of the original company of Finding Neverland spent a day at Avatar Studios in New York City, recording the album. Finding Neverland is Paul's first job in New York, first Broadway show, and now first Broadway cast album.
"A great American play." The Outsider's first reviews
Paul's latest play, The Outsider, had its world premiere in June, 2015 at Peninsula Players Theatre in Wisconsin (with its original title, A Real Lulu). The reviews could not have been more rapturous:
“A highly developed production of a great American play. Witty and clever and smart. The play is about politics and government; that sounds like yawn material, but Smith nimbly maneuvers the topics toward a blend of comedy, farce and satire about what America is seeing today. The beauty is, after Smith lets blood in the pointed satire, he delivers care – rays of brightness about democracy. Mr. Smith deserves to go to Washington - and all around our nation - with this inspirational satire.” - Green Bay Press Gazette
"An exceptional world premiere. A timely production overflowing with clever plot twists reflecting the contemporary political climate. An intelligent, well-written play with enough quirks and surprises to keep the politics fresh. An intellectual and stimulating comedy that will send the audience home laughing and sighing simultaneously about their own government."- Broadway World
"The production's success is ... its ability to strike responsive chords in the audience as [we] recognize political foibles that are all too familiar -- the weaknesses that are inherent in a democracy demanding an informed and committed electorate. But at the same time, we know in our hearts, as [one character] says, “that government, when it works right, can do something good”. A Real Lulu is anything but didactic. It is a fun-house mirror held up to reflect our system of government, including our role in it. Some of us tend to rant as we express our frustrations with our political structure. Maybe laughter is the best medicine. And the opening night audience enjoyed rounds of healthy laughs from the opening lines to the final speeches, then collectively rose to their feet as they applauded the curtain call." - Peninsula Pulse
Finding Neverland on the Tony Awards
June, 2015 was an exciting month for the Broadway musical Finding Neverland, which opened April 15, 2015 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. On June 7, the show was represented on the Tony Awards by a performance featuring Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer and the pirates aboard Captain Hook's ship, including Paul - making his first-ever Tony's appearance.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
2014 was officially the year of the new-musical-adaptation workshop. In May, Chicago Shakespeare Theater produced a reading of a new stage adaptation of Disney's 1971 movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks, with Paul in the role of Mr. Jelk. The piece featured a new book by Brian Hill and new songs by Neil Bartram, in addition to the original songs by the Sherman brothers. The reading was directed by Jack Cummings III. It was an incredibly fun week, and especially rewarding to meet and work with Jack and Brian and Neil.