Michael T. Mooney has devoted his life to the performing arts, having been involved as performer, writer, director, and administrator. Coming to Paper Mill Playhouse in 1994 from The Growing Stage Theatre in Netcong, New Jersey, he served in the fundraising department under Development Director John McEwen. He became involved in the theatre's accessibility programming, eventually assuming full responsibility for the theatre's nationally recognized Access programs and services. In 2001, he was appointed Manager of Outreach and Access Programs, a position he designed himself. Mr. Mooney has led community drives for the Victims of 9-11, Jersey Cares, New Eyes for the Needy, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lainie's Angels, First Book NJ, Tsunami Relief, The American Red Cross, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. In addition to his Access responsibilities, he also directed Paper Mill's Senior Players Workshop, managed the award-winning Adopt-a-School Project and has been both instructor and adjudicator for their STAR program. He is a founding member of LEAD and served on the board of directors for The Fund for the New Jersey Blind, The Audio-Description Coalition of America (ADC), The New Jersey Cultural Access Network, and The New Jersey Theatre Alliance. For five years, he studied directing and writing for theatre-in-the-round with England's Sir Alan Ayckbourn and has staged more than 60 productions of plays and musicals in Northern New Jersey, including the American premieres of four of Sir Alan's plays. Michael is the proud recipient of the 2008 New Jersey Governor's Award for Arts Education and the 2003 Ann Klein Advocate Award for his work with senior citizens and people with disabilities. Easter Seals New Jersey named him one of their "Miracle Workers" of 2008. He is a native of Asbury Park, New Jersey, having also lived in Central Florida and London, England.
BWW Reviews: STAGED by Ruby Preston
March 12, 2013
I'm sure author Ruby Preston is tired of her books being compared to NBC's "Smash". But with two and a half million viewers, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Both the hit TV series and Preston's novels have a bright and breezy tone matched with biting wit, all set inside the enigmatic world of the Broadway musical. Preston's novels are primarily dialogue driven, so it is not difficult to imagine them on the small screen. She even replaces 'chapters' with 'scenes'. With her newest show biz tome "Staged", Preston extends the shelf life of her heroine, producer Scarlett Savoy, the focus of her first novel, "Show Biz". In "Staged" persistent producer Scarlett is trying by hook or crook to get her first big musical to the Great White Way. In the process she is offered a somewhat indecent proposal by a smarmy theater owner that compromises her integrity but just might help get her show the prime real estate she feels it deserves. Along the way we are introduced to Scarlett's colorful array of theatrical friends who, thanks to Preston's vivid and affectionate portrayals, often threaten to upstage our intrepid producer herself. There's even a delicious eleven o'clock twist worthy of any Broadway farce. If it weren't set so squarely in the present, we might even be reading a juicy pulp novel of Broadway in the 1940's. Ruby Preston is the nom de plume of a real-life Broadway producer, so her insider's eye is spot on, while her affection for this business we call show is always apparent. Of course, all ends well for Miss Scarlett, as Preston has plans for yet a third installment in her "Broadway" trilogy. Until then, "Staged" makes perfect bed or beach reading for actors and audiences alike!
BWW Reviews: WITHOUT YOU by Anthony Rapp
February 4, 2013
It's been said that an artist's primary goal is to create something unique and specific that is at the same time universally identifiable. As a performer, Anthony Rapp has been doing just that since the age of 9, most notably as Mark Cohen in the hit musical "Rent". Now, Rapp has added author to his list of artistic credits and the results are simultaneously unique and universal.
BWW Book Reviews: SMUT
December 28, 2012
Fans of playwright Alan Bennett were no doubt excited to hear his new play PEOPLE a late entry to this year's National Theatre's schedule and due to be broadcast worldwide on NT Live. But in the meantime, whet your appetite for Bennett's insightful eye for character by reading SMUT. As the title suggests the two characters that Bennett examines in his twin stories are drawn to the subversive side of sex. Secrets are also of primary concern here. In fact, if it weren't so much fun to tell friends you are reading SMUT, I'd suggest Bennett re-title the volume SECRETS. Rest assured, however, this is no FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY sort of smut but the English sort that lies quietly beneath the surface causing more concern than pleasure.
BWW Book Reviews: THE CRAFTY ART OF PLAYMAKING
November 30, 2012
BWW Books review of THE CRAFTY ART OF PLAYMAKING by Alan Ayckbourn
BWW Book Reviews: I HAD A BALL: MY FRIENDSHIP WITH LUCILLE BALL
November 28, 2012
When I was a couch potato kid in the 70's I couldn't imagine anything more fun than being part of Lucy Ricardo's crazy schemes. During 'I Love Lucy's twice a day airings, I dreamed of stomping grapes in Italy, stuffing chocolates down my shirt, selling Vitameatavegamin, or disguising myself in crazy costumes to break into show business. I wanted to be friends with Lucy. Little did I know that on the other side of the country, Michael Stern was doing just that.