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Meet The Cast of Paper Mill Playhouse Chasing Rainbows Part 1

Meet The Cast of Paper Mill Playhouse Chasing Rainbows Part 1

Karen Mason, Ruby Rakos, Max von Essen and Mark S. Hoebee photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz begins performances Thursday, September 26th at Paper Mill Playhouse. 

Meet Judy Garland, aka Frances Gumm played by Ruby Rakos (Billy Elliot).

We meet Judy when she is just called Baby Gumm (Molly Lyons) sing with her sisters. Playing the younger characters are Sophie Knapp as Virginia Gumm and Violet Tinnirello as Shirley Temple. These three adorable young actresses won my heart.

Tony Award nominee Max von Essen (An American in Paris, Paper Mill’s The Baker’s Wife) is Frank Gumm the man who had Judy’s heart.

Olivier Award-winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda, Dames at Sea) is Ethel Gumm, Judy Garlands stage mother.

Karen Mason (Mamma Mia!, And the World Goes ‘Round) plays the duel roles of Ma Lawlor and Kay Koverman assistant to Louis B. Mayer.

Molly Lyons, Max von Essen photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

Tomorrow meet Stephen DeRosa (Into the Woods, HBO’sBoardwalk Empire) as Louis B. Mayer. Michael Wartella (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tuck Everlasting) as Mickey Rooney and Colin Hanlon (ABC’s Modern Family, Paper Mill’s Benny & Joon) as Roger Edens.

Molly Lyons, Max von Essen photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

As well as the creatives; Tony award nominee Denis Jones director and choreographer, Marc Acito the book writer and Tina Marie Casamento who conceived and wrote additional lyrics.

Ruby Rakos photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

Musical adaptation & additional music by David Libby and orchestrations by Larry Blank and David Libby with music direction by Lawrence Yurman.

Violet Tinnirello photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

Rounding out the cast are Tia Altinay, Mackenzie Bell, Kristen Grace Brown, Lamont Brown, Joe Cassidy, Clara Cox, Tessa Grady,  Kimberly Immanuel, Christina Maxwell, Kevin B. McGlynn, Allsun O’Malley, Samantha Joy Pearlman, Drew Redington, Joshua J. Schwartz, Parker Slaybaugh, Sean Thompson and Kathy Voytko.

Michael Wartella, Violet Tinnirello, Ruby Rakos photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

Before she burst onto the big screen as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garlandwas a young vaudeville trouper named Frances Gumm. In this highly anticipated new musical chronicling Garland’s early career from vaudeville baby to MGM teen star in the making, the road to Oz is paved with adversity. At its heart a story of love between a father and daughter, featuring such legendary songs as “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made Me Love You,” and “Everybody Sing,”

Jim Byk, Philip Caruba

Chasing Rainbows is a poignant coming-of-age tale about “the little girl with the big voice,” who went on to become one of the world’s most beloved entertainment icons. The show has already earned praise from Liza Minnelli, who said, “My mother said that her biography is in her music, and now a talented creative team is using that music to tell the story of her early years and her extraordinary rise to fame.”

Karen Mason photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz: Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ beginning September 26th and running through October 27th.

Ruby Rakos, Karen Mason, Michael Wartella photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy.

Out of Town

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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