Pre-Broadway Opening: THE WANDERER (Paper Mill Playhouse)

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by Gregory Bernard on December 24, 2021

in Theater-New York

Dion. One name set the standard of cool for a generation. He was one of the most popular American Rock n’ Roll performers of his time. The songwriting icon incorporated elements of Doo-Wop, Rock, and R&B throughout his career, both as lead singer of Dion and the Belmonts and then as a solo artist. He had 30 Top 40 hits in the late 50s and 60s including, “Runaround Sue,” “Teenager in Love,” “I Wonder Why,” “Ruby Baby,” “Abraham, Martin and John” and “The Wanderer,” among many more. Dion’s music helped define a generation of Rock n’ Rollers.

But how does a kid from The Bronx make it to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? In The Wanderer, the incredible musical journey of a troubled young man turned teenage heartthrob (and, ultimately, Rock n’ Roll icon), Dion DiMucci’s story is told in intimate and no-holds-barred detail in the new Broadway-bound musical starring Michael WartellaChristy Altomare and Joey McIntyre. The world premiere will begin performances at Paper Mill Playhouse on March 24, 2022 and play through April 24, 2022. Tickets can be purchased by calling 973-671-4355, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at

Dion’s lifelong battle with addiction shed a stark light on the darker side of fame and success. This musical takes both subjects head on, set to the iconic sound of an incomparable era in American music, and celebrates the triumph of the human spirit against all odds. Written by Charles Messina (A Room of My Own) and directed by Kenneth Ferrone (Cruel Intentions National Tour, “Rent on Fox”) and choreographed by Sarah O’Gleby, The Wanderer is the riveting true story of Dion, New York’s rebel king, the man Bruce Springsteen calls “the link between Frank Sinatra and Rock n’ Roll.” Tony Award-winner Beowulf Boritt is the scenic designer.


CHRISTY ALTOMARE (Susan) originated the role of Anya in the Broadway production of Anastasia for which she received the Theatre World Award and was nominated for an Outer Critics Award and a Drama Desk Award for lead actress in a musical. She made her Broadway debut playing the role of Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia!. Off- Broadway, Christy portrayed the role of Sue Snell in MCC’s revival of Carrie the Musical. Christy can be heard in the cast recordings of both Anastasia and Carrie. She toured the country in the first national tour of Spring Awakening, playing role of Wendla Bergman. Regional credits include Jerusha Abbott in John Caird and Paul Gordon’s production of Daddy Long Legs, Guinevere in Camelot at Drury Lane in Chicago, and most recently, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific at the Aspen Music festival. Christy is a graduate of the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Along with her passion for musical theater, she is a songwriter/ recording artist, who currently released her new album of original music called Wandering Bird. You can follow Christy’s day to day life @ChristyAltomare on Twitter and Instagram / @ChristyAltomare0 on TikTok.

JOEY McINTYRE (Johnny) grew up four blocks away from the oldest community theatre in America, The Footlight Club in Boston, MA, where at eight years old he made his debut as Winthrop in The Music Man. When he was 12, his community theatre career was held up by an audition for New Kids on the Block – the original Boy Band. A very long story short, the band went on to sell over 80 million records worldwide and continue to sell out arenas today. Joey has enjoyed success as a solo recording artist, including the Top Ten hit “Stay the Same” on Columbia Records. As an actor, Joey has been seen on TV and film including Matt in the film version of The Fantasticks, David E. Kelly’s “Boston Public”, “The McCarthys” on CBS, and Paul Fieg’s The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Through it all, his heart has always led him back to the theatre, where his credits include many regional productions as well as Wicked on Broadway alongside Idina Menzel as Fiyero, Off-Broadway in Tick, Tick, Boom and most recently on Broadway in Waitress the Musical.

MICHAEL WARTELLA (Dion). Broadway and National Tour credits include: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tuck Everlasting, Wicked, The Wanderer (Pre-Broadway workshop). Off-Broadway: RENT (New World Stages), The Kid (The New Group), Seussical (Theaterworks/USA), Oliver Twist (TFANA). Regional: Godspell (Berkshire Theatre Group) Chasing Rainbows (Paper Mill Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House), Midsummer, A Prayer for Owen Meany, (Denver Center Theatre Company).  Film/TV: “Mysteries of Laura,” “Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet”, “Loving Leah”.  He is also a singer-songwriter and his new album “Polarity” can be found on Spotify and iTunes. Twitter/Instagram @mikewartella

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