GableStage ushers into the holidays with a World Premiere!

GableStage Announces World Premiere of Joe Papp at the Ballroom Featuring Tony-Nominated Director

Preview: Friday, Dec. 17
Opening Night: Saturday, Dec. 18

GableStage announces the second production of the season, Joe Papp at the Ballroom, in alliance with Yiddishkayt Initiative (YI Love Jewish) and sponsored by The Sue & Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami. A world premiere, Joe Papp at the Ballroom features renowned actor Avi Hoffman and Tony-nominated Director Eleanor Reissa in a limited-engagement production that honors New York theatre visionary Joseph Papp.

Joseph Papp, referred to as the “single most creative and controversial figure in American theatre” by Newsweek, would have been 100 years old this year. The production of Joe Papp at the Ballroom runs at GableStage from Dec. 17 through Dec. 31, 2021.

The new musical is inspired by the first and only autobiographical concert series that Joseph Papp, founder of Shakespeare in the Park and New York’s Public theatre, performed at the Ballroom in SOHO in 1978. Revisiting Papp’s Brooklyn Yiddish upbringing, audiences will get a glimpse into the political and personal struggles Papp faced and his approach to the creative process.

“Joe Papp’s belief that theatre should be accessible to all, that it should be like the public library (free and open to all) continues to resonate deeply – not only to those actively engaged in the art form, but for everyone questioning what ties a community together and what deepens our collective spirit,” says GableStage Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport. “Avi Hoffman as Joe Papp traces one man’s life from humble beginnings to extraordinary heights – all through dreaming, believing and executing. It’s an inspiring, everyman story – and I love that this production is based on an historic event: the only performance series Joseph Papp performed himself,” says Newport.

Actor Avi Hoffman is honored and excited about his role as Joseph Papp and the collaboration that went into the adaptation of Papp’s original work. “Since being introduced to this piece by Joe Papp’s widow Gail and his daughter Susan, I have had the great fortune to work on adapting and developing this original musical piece about the great ‘Yosl Papirofsky,’ aka Joseph Papp, whom I considered a mentor,” says Avi Hoffman. I am grateful to be able to work with newly named Producing Artistic Director Bari Newport at GableStage, my long-time friend, Director Eleanor Reissa and Joe Papp’s daughter, Susan on this exciting adaptation,” says Hoffman.

In order to offer more flexibility this season, GableStage will stream select performances , giving ticket holders the option to enjoy the show in person or via stream. Streaming options for Joe Papp at the Ballroom will be available starting Dec. 17.

by Joseph Papp (1921-1991)
adapted by Avi Hoffman,
Susan Papp-Lippman and Eleanor Reissa
music director Phil Hinton
original musical arrangements
by Stanley Silverman

(In order of appearance)

Avi Hoffman* (Joe Papp)
Phil Hinton (Pianist)

Directed by 
Eleanor Reissa#

Stage Manager Katie Ellison

Scenic Designer Lauren Helpern

Lighting Designer Tony Galaska

Sound Designer Sean McGinley

Costume Designer Emil White

Properties Designer Maura Gergerich

Wardrobe Supervisor Debbie Richardson

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States

#Member of Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers


Joe Papp at the Ballroom runs Dec. 17, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021, with performances from Wednesday to Sunday.
Preview performance: December 17.
Opening Performance: December 18 at 8 p.m. 


Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. 
Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday at 2 p.m. 

Special Performances
December 24 at 2:30pm & December 31 at 6:30pm


Ticket holders can enjoy the show in person or via stream from a location of their choosing. Streaming of Joe Papp at the Ballroom will be available from Dec. 22 to Dec 31.

All ticket holders for performances which include the streaming option will receive an email one hour before the show with a link to access the pre-recorded stream. There is no additional cost for the streaming.


Tickets to Joe Papp at the Ballroom start at $35 plus fees.
Discounts available for artists; students; groups; subscribers and military service active members, veterans and families,
as well as members of the Biltmore Hotel. 

Visit online at, by phone at (305) 445-1119 or email


1/2 hour before each performance, the creative team of the production will be available to answer questions outside the theatre.

Also, after the first Sunday matinee, GableStage will have a talkback with the cast, immediately following the performance.


Joseph Papp (1921-1991) was an American theatrical producer, director and theatre icon. Papp established The Public Theater in what had been the Astor Library Building in downtown New York. “The Public,” as it is known, has many small theatres within it. There, Papp created a year-round producing home to focus on new creations, both plays and musicals. Among numerous examples of these creations, he is perhaps best known for “Hair, The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”, his production of Michael Bennett’s Pulitzer-prize winning musical, “A Chorus Line“, Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf“, and Charles Gordone’s “No Place to Be Somebody” (the first off-Broadway play to win the Pulitzer Prize. He founded Shakespeare In The Park and helped develop other off-Broadway theaters. At Papp’s death, The Public Theatre was renamed The Joseph Papp Public Theatre.

Cast (in order of Appearance)

Avi Hoffman* (Joe Papp; Adaptor) dedicates this performance to the two most important ‘Joes’ in his life: Joe Papp and Joe Adler, may their memories be blessed. 

He is very grateful to Bari Newport for the opportunity to return to GableStage where he was seen in several of his favorite productions, including Indecent, My Name is Asher Lev and Address Unknown. He was recently awarded Congressional recognition, was invited to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis and was inducted into the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame for his lifetime work advancing Jewish culture, Yiddishkayt and Holocaust awareness through the Yiddishkayt Initiative, Inc. ( – the charity he founded in 2015. 

As an actor, he was nominated for a NY Drama Desk Award for his Yiddish language portrayal of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. He is best known for his Too Jewish Trilogy: Award winning one-man shows Too Jewish? (PBS, Performer of the Year ’95 – NY Press Magazine; L.A. OVATION award – Best Actor In a Musical 2001; NY Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award nominations), Too Jewish, Too! and his latest show Still Jewish After All These Years. On TV, he was featured as Sid Raskin in the Starz TV series Magic City, as well as on Netflix’s Bloodline, A&E’s The Glades and on the NBC series Law and Order. He starred in the international Award-winning short Yiddish Films: Boxed and Shehita (Best Thriller – HollyShorts Festival) and the motion picture – The Imported Bridegroom. He was seen in the PBS documentary They Came For Good: A History of the Jews in the US. Avi has performed all over the world, has numerous acting and directing credits and has received multiple awards and nominations.

Phil Hinton (Music Director, Pianist) 

Phil is a British born pianist, arranger, orchestrator and conductor. He has worked in those capacities for the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and many of the independent broadcasting production companies. He has also arranged and orchestrated the music, played piano and conducted on over 200 major hit albums for artists such as Shirley Bassey, Anthony Newley, Howard Keel, Vince Hill, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Paul McCartney, to name just a few. He was personal music director to British singing star, Vince Hill for more than ten years. Since emigrating to the United States in 1994 he has given many classical and jazz piano recitals around the country and on several cruise ships. 

Phil has directed the music for countless theatre shows all over the USA. He was conductor of the Florida Pops Concert orchestra for three years. He was musical director and pianist on Engelbert Humperdink’s 2013 tour of Australia and New Zealand. He was also the resident pianist for the Kravis Pops Orchestra in West Palm Beach under the baton of celebrated singer and entertainer, Michael Feinstein for three years and a regular guest pianist with The Florida Orchestra in Tampa. Phil is an adjunct professor of piano in the music faculty at Florida Atlantic University teaching commercial piano techniques. He is also heavily in demand all over the world as a commercial arranger and orchestrator.


Eleanor Reissa is born and bred Brooklyn. She is an acclaimed actress, singer, director, choreographer and writer. A Tony-nominated director (Those Were the Days), a Broadway and television actress (Indecent; The Plot Against America) and a prize-winning playwright (Wishful Thinking), she is also the former artistic director of the world’s oldest Yiddish theater (Folksbiene). Other directing credits include Cowgirls; Diana of Dobson’s; How to Succeed in Business…; Echoes of the War; Hershel Ostropolye. As a singer, Reissa has headlined in every major venue in New York City including Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Joe’s Pub, and Michael Feinstein’s 54 Below; and in festivals around the world. She is a storyteller in English and Yiddish, and the daughter of parents who lived through the Holocaust. Eleanor Reissa is the host of the Yale University/Fortunoff Archive podcast, Those Who Were There: Voices of the Holocaust. Her highly-anticipated memoir, The Letters Project: A Daughter’s Journey (Post Hill Press) will be published on January 18th, 2022.

Photo: Adrian Buckmaster


GableStage remains deeply committed to the health of our guests, artists and staff. Our staff and artists are being COVID-19 tested (Antigen & PRC) twice a week to make sure that everyone is negative.

Face masks will be required for all guests, regardless of vaccination status. 

Before entering the theatre, all guests will need to present either a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result or a full vaccination status card. 

“The Price” will be seated at full capacity. 

GableStage has taken additional precautions by partnering with the Biltmore Hotel to update the air filtration system and install ultraviolet lights to sanitize and extinguish airborne pathogens circulating within the theatre. GableStage is also performing heavy-duty cleaning on the stage and backstage, and will maintain stringent cleaning protocols throughout the season. Any policy changes will be sent directly to ticket holders and updated regularly at