Tuesdays with Corti: Growth & Development

Before the heavy gray clouds sunk down dark on the horizon this morning, there was one blinding, golden, gorgeous sunrise! And while there are those who might dampen the ever gaining optimism in Downtown Aurora, dear reader, it seems to me nothing and no one can cloud the success giving hope to the growth and development of our community surrounding our Paramount Theatre on The Fox! Last week CBS local news in Chicago used the glittering glow of the theatre’s marquee, proudly standing tall with the North Island Center Holiday Tree across the street, as a festive and buzzing backdrop location for its evening report on the deep freeze in the western suburbs. Teaming with traffic, bright lights and scurrying pedestrians, we were on the news! Downtown Aurora’s Galena Boulevard, looking every bit The City of Lights, a spectacular showplace, full of energy and excitement! Look how things are changing!

Right next to the theatre, the abandoned Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building, a three story terra cotta beauty built in 1928, became a Waubonsee Community College campus in 1986 which in the summer of 2011 moved just a couple blocks over to River Street, a brand spanking new campus! (Coincidentally, that fall, Paramount’s Broadway Series opened with its inaugural production of My Fair Lady!)

Now, this former Waubonsee building, right smack adjacent to Paramount Theatre, is to be converted into the site of what is being called The Aurora Arts Centre, a 35 million dollar project! This development includes 38 apartments for local artist housing, a 5,000 square foot restaurant, a performing arts school with practice rooms and our very own rehearsal space and actor housing for Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series. The search for the Director of Education has been ongoing, and according to Tim Rater, Paramount’s President & CEO, someone will hopefully be in place in two or three months. 

Working with Aurora’s City Council, the center is roughly modeled on the school Tim helped develop in Arlington Heights at The Metropolis School of Performing Arts, just before his tenure here at Paramount. There was something like 54,000 patrons a year to Paramount before the Broadway Series began. Now with over 32,000 subscribers, some 300,000 people have entered the lobby doors just last year. We’re almost 6 years old. The years are moving so fast. We are learning as we grow to do better, to be here for you, to be a part of your self-discovery appreciating the stories and the music and right before your eyes live theatre. And all the while, we are together, influencing the growth of business and the economy of our downtown community. It’s just the beginning!

Folks are taking home for the holidays the sensation that is The Little Mermaid which closes January 15, the show everyone is talking about everywhere I go! With full houses of cheering crowds, a lift, an escape, once in a while, is not a bad thing! Pricing is purposely affordable to you, ladies and gentlemen. I live for first timers coming to the theatre! And, including The Little Mermaid, there still is time to subscribe to the rest of the remaining season with Sweeney Todd and Jesus Christ Superstar!

Love & thanks,

Jim

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