Good day, Folks!
Been swamped here with auditions and production/design team plans for our upcoming Season #3 this fall!
A few weeks ago, I found myself writing an email response to a patron who loved Season #2 but decided not to renew her subscription. I’m thinking how often this discussion comes up and that it might be informative, interesting, and entertaining to share this with you, of course not mentioning any names. The exchange went like this:
I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed the shows this year. We had six season tickets and took my daughter and her grandchildren to every performance We wanted to expose them to live theatre and they loved it. However, in looking at the shows this coming year I feel none of them are appropriate. Three of them are very similar in story line. Hopefully maybe the next year will be better. Thank you for the entertainment you do provide and we love the venue.
Then I replied:
I want to personally thank you for your email which was forwarded to me and let you know how much it means to all of us at Paramount that you and your family had such a great experience attending Season 2!
As for Season 3, I am sorry you are disappointed. All our show selections are based on surveys that serve the top picks of our audience. Our only reason for choosing the titles is that these shows are what our patrons want to see. In our first season: MY FAIR LADY, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, A CHORUS LINE, and HAIR, we demonstrated the beginning of what has proven to be musical theatre programming for a diverse, inclusive audience with many different tastes for productions of the highest caliber. But objections arise of one kind or another.
There were those who did not subscribe to this season of GREASE, ANNIE, THE MUSIC MAN, and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF because they were disappointed we were playing it safe as opposed to last year. But categorizing the selections for the year is the farthest thing from our intention. The safe season. The edgy season. Our purpose is to bring you the greatest season of productions we can. All these shows are chosen as their license becomes available to Paramount and are distinguished with Best Musical Tony Awards, and/or Pulitzer Prizes, and appeal to audiences for their literary and ennobling human stories and soaring, passionate, celebratory musical scores. This is true as well for next season: IN THE HEIGHTS, MISS SAIGON, 42ND STREET, and RENT. I’m at a loss here to understand how you feel three are very similar in story line.
IN THE HEIGHTS is about a young man raised by his Grandmother in the Dominican American neighborhood of Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan, New York. He struggles with whether to leave his community or to stay and help to make it a place he can be more proud of. It also is the story of a young girl in the neighborhood who returns home after losing her scholarship to Stanford University. Her family sacrifices everything for her to return. MISS SAIGON is the updated version of the Puccini Opera, MADAME BBUTTERFLY, set during The Fall of Saigon during the Viet Nam War. It’s the tale of how this young orphaned Vietnamese bar girl falls in love with an American GI and is forced to make the ultimate human sacrifice for the good of their young son. And RENT, an updated version of Puccini’s LA BOHEME, is set in the late 80’s on the Lower East Side of New York City among the young artists living with the threat of AIDS and being homeless . What these three shows do have in common is how the human spirit overcomes hardship in stories told to the award winning music audiences thrill to nationally and internationally. But you probably know this and just don’t see how they are different. And of course I understand you. These stories deal with the harsh reality in life. But they also speak to courage and enduring love.
There are family friendly shows, children’s theatre, and sophisticated more adult fare and all of it internationally acclaimed musical theatre. Everyone should be exposed to all of these. These stories are great teachers. And exciting theatrical experiences. Paramount is about presenting the full spectrum of greatness in the Broadway Musical Theatre Canon. If you feel you cannot attend a show your children are too young for, that of course is your choice and a choice I respect with all my heart. But adult audiences deserve a sophisticated evening of music and stories that enrich their lives and from which they learn about compassion for those less fortunate in love and life. And in turn, in their own way, pass on what they experience to their families and children.
I do hope you will bring the family to 42ND STREET! The tap dancing is going to be terrific and it’s a fun story of how during The Great Depression, the show must go on when a young talent saves the show, going on to replace the injured star of a new Broadway show and everyone can keep their jobs! Some great tunes from the 30’s like The Lullaby of Broadway, We’re In The Money, and Shuffle Off To Buffalo! As always at Paramount, the entire season will have stunning design, original full pit orchestrations and top notch performances.
And let me say I secretly hope you find your way to see the other shows, just for yourself!
All my thanks and best,
So, Dear Reader, this is just a sample of how we make every effort at Paramount to give ownership of what we are doing to our audience. There may be shows you’ve never heard of. Shows you know might be inappropriate for you in some way. One might be put off by something about a show. Realize we are here for you. We are here because you are here. Keeping an open mind and heart experiencing something different for you can have many advantages. All these stories have universal appeal. There is a good chance you may see in them something of your own struggles. Something you can take from it. Some courage or inspiration or just seeing some part of yourself you can see in the story. Some light, new thought, point of view that moves you forward.
See ya next time!