Cannot help but notice this morning one of my favorite things, just outside my windows on the third floor over River Street, the tree tops full of branches blossoming new, green buds.  New life!  New energy!  Friday at Columbia College, I shared a very high energy panel with Artistic Directors, Philip Smith of Lookingglass Theatre and Eddie Torres of Teatro Vista.  Talk about energy, these guys were on fire!  They could barely contain themselves for all the enthusiasm they brought to this graduating senior Theatre Master Class.  Torres spoke of the importance of living your life, students!  Live it, bring it to your work!  Only do it if you are passionate about it!  Smith addressed the class on how his theatre started out so humbly from literally nothing.  How essential it is to surround yourself with smart people!  Beginning without a space, money or audience, both their companies kept their wits and mission and have become a mainstay of the Chicago Arts Scene now for over twenty years!  And there I sat with them representing Paramount’s two Broadway Series seasons!  But what the students got were three very different stories and it was my pleasure to discuss our community, our past eight shows and the upcoming Broadway Season #3.  Lookingglass and Teatro Vista are about stories that need to be told and voices that need to be heard.  Paramount is serving the City of Aurora and it’s surrounds and the Chicago theatre community itself creating the beginning of a new cultural hub. Our audiences are hungry for productions that speak to them, make a difference and honor the tradition of our historic, gorgeous Paramount Theatre.   All three companies are about commitment.  To the writers and artists and their audience.  One could easily see how despite their years of service, Philip and Eddie were (and are) tireless, inexhaustible, in their enthusiasm to speak to the class on their experience, sharing their anecdotes, imparting bits of wisdom and good advice.  I know how inspired and renewed I felt sitting there listening to them!  These guys just don’t stop, won’t stop reaching, season after season…like those leafy green buds reaching for the sun this morning!

‘Til next time!

-Jim Corti