Mickey McNany, Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School Founding Director, Has Died

McNany founded the Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School in 1989.

Beloved Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School Director and Founder Mickey McNany has died.
Beloved Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School director and founder Mickey McNany has died.
(© Jerry Dalia)

Mickey McNany, founding director of Paper Mill Playhouse's Theatre School, died Wednesday, December 30 following a battle with cancer.

McNany, a resident of Springfield, New Jersey, was a certified instructor with a BA in Fine Arts Education and a PBM degree in Music Performance from Kean University. She founded the Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School in 1989 and continued to manage the arts education initiative until recently. Under her care, the school grew from a single class to a year-round program offering classes to over 500 students each year. The students McNany trained throughout her tenure went on to become Broadway performers, Tony Award winners, and movie stars including Academy Award-winning actress Anne Hathaway.

In addition, McNany oversaw the Junior Division of Paper Mill's esteemed Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory and worked as a director and set designer for Paper Mill’s three student touring companies.

Inspired by her granddaughter Mary, McNany was also focused on ensuring that children with disabilities could experience the theater arts. She started Paper Mill's Creative Drama class for children with disabilities and collaborated with the Horizon School on the "Lend Your Voice" project, a partnership in which Paper Mill students record voiceovers that enable nonverbal children to realize the characters in their school play. This program was recognized with the Cultural Access Network’s 2013 Innovator Award.

Mickey’s other awards include the New Jersey Theatre Alliance 2009 Applause Award for Excellence in Theatre Education, the 2013 New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts Education, the 2013 VSA New Jersey Education in the Arts Distinguished Service Award, Kean University’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Byrne-Kean Arts Advocate Award from Paper Mill Playhouse.

Information regarding services and arrangements will be posted on Paper Mill's website when it is available. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to "Paper Mill Playhouse Education Fund" or "Peggy's House at Hope Village" in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

Paper Mill Playhouse released a tribute video today in Mickey's honor:

In Loving Memory, Mickey McNany, Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School Director and Founder from Shayne Miller on Vimeo.