Tuesdays with Corti: How Do We Do It?

Yesterday, the Paramount office was buzzing with excitement upon the phenomenally successful Sunday night opening of The Little Mermaid! I’ve been writing here the last few weeks of the astounding merits of this production directed and choreographed by Amber Mak, but no way can it be put into words how sensational an event it turned out to be! I watch little ones, filled with the purest joy, dancing and singing from their seats into the aisles! All this while adults attend totally enthralled, beaming and cheering with them! Ms. Mak’s firm commitment to the story, this cast, designers, and production staff and crew, has created a landmark production for Paramount. This Dream Team, make it all look effortlessly magical and spontaneous, and all of it due to the countless hours, days and months of preparation Amber has put into problem-solving and making impossible ideas actually work. Quick to deflect any praise herself, it is Amber who has done the conceptual grunt work devising the ground plans on which everyone has worked upon so successfully. All this adds up to a production full of beauty and enchantment and all the family fun and warmth you could possibly want for this holiday season!

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon in the conference room, Production Director Rose Quealy gathered together the production team for Paramount’s Jesus Christ Superstar to meet with our distinguished Director/Choreographer Ron Kellum. This is another formidable collaboration of our top notch designers with Mr. Kellum making his Paramount Theatre directorial debut. With our all African-American casting almost complete, Ron is guiding this team on a compelling, thrillingly-fresh take mounting Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved pop rock opera. Fans of this show will be dazzled with the epic scale historically and visually conceived for this production designed by Kevin Depinet (scenic), Theresa Ham (costumes), Greg Hofmann (lights) and Mike Tutaj (projections) to name a few. Co-Musical Directors Tom Vendafreddo and Kory Danielson and Associate Director/Casting Director Trent Stork have their hands full working on this and Sweeney Todd, as does Rose and a small army of others here at Paramount!

Our monumentally ambitious “Sweeney” production meeting is tomorrow, and I think about “how do we do it?” Not only is this company delivering on our most dynamic season yet, but next season is being planned now as well. Tim Rater is an absolute Superman tending to all of this in addition to the new performing arts center next door to the theater. How DO we do it? As I observe it, it seems to be happening by not forgetting about what it takes to bring out the best in everyone to do even better. Tim leads by example. With all that’s going on, he will think of the cast and present them with a gift card or flowers just to have them know they are thought of and cared about. Tim has established the tradition here of thanking the entire company every opening night with gifts of champagne, photos and a bouquet of flowers. I think this is how we are doing it. Having sincere appreciation for everyone, including our audience, keeps everyone engaged and accepting of the challenge to continually keep raising the bar. Expect the unexpected. 

Love and thanks!

Jim

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