Good day, Dear Reader!
An amazingly smooth and successful Tech Week completes tonight with the Final Dress Rehearsal of In The Heights! Rachel Rockwell’s deeply felt, beautifully detailed staging and direction are complimented to perfection by the stunning designs of Jesse Klug’s lights and Jeff Dublinske’s sound on the replica of the original Broadway set by designer Anna Louizos. Elizabeth Flauto’s costumes enhance with brilliance, every bit of color and spice this exceptionally gifted cast brings to the characters telling this story of a steamy Latin summer in Upper Manhattan. I’m back at my desk, it’s Monday afternoon, having just heard a bit of The Paramount Orchestra having their first go at this thrilling score beyond expectation. And by that I mean, my friends, there is no way to prepare you! You are in no way going to believe this event’s sights and sounds! Blazing trumpets, keyboards and percussion under the baton of Tom Vendafreddo, this show will deliver on its legacy of beginning a fresh new era of Broadway Musical Theatre! A huge debut on this scale and size for this young Conductor/Musical Director, Tommy trumps it big time! Another most auspicious debut in this production is the sizzling work of Choreographer Katie Spelman. Katie ignites an all-night dance riot scorching the stage, a fire that never goes out! It is unbelievable how this young actress, singer, dancer has been on the Chicago musical theatre scene, all the while, simmering beneath the surface, a dazzling choreographer. It’s a break out piece of major dance work you will not forget!
With your indulgence, I’d like to include in today’s blog, a letter my producing partner, Tim Rater, President & CEO of Paramount Theatre, wrote last week to our subscribers:
I had the most moving and inspirational experience I’ve had in my entire theater career this week. I attended a run-thru of In The Heights on Tuesday. It was in our rehearsal space. There were no costumes, no props, no orchestra – just a piano and the actors. It was remarkable.
The characters are richly developed and beautifully acted by the entire cast. They were likeable, deeply interesting and vested in their own journeys. I struggle for the words to do them justice, so the best way I can describe them was that as actors, their hearts are in the right spot and I found myself wanting to be a part of their lives. I wanted to jump up and join their world, to dance when they danced, and to cry when they cried. I wanted desperately to be their friend and participate. I wanted to join them. And when it comes to the music and songs, they are so powerful and like nothing I’ve ever heard in a Broadway musical before.
But the thing that really got me was the story. It’s about community, about sacrifice and most importantly, it’s about love – parents’ love for their child; couples’ love for each other; neighbors’ love for one another. It’s a place I would like to live and people I would love to call my family.
I walked out of the rehearsal pumped up and motivated. I thought to myself that I knew I was in the right business, and boy, am I lucky to be a part of the Paramount. I also walked out of there knowing that one of these days the Paramount is going to develop a new work – like In the Heights – that impacts lives, that tells an amazing love story and that one day will play on Broadway. A production that every staff member who works here, every subscriber and patron who has attended one of our Broadway shows, and every resident of Aurora will be proud of. That’s the impact In The Heights had on me.
This is an amazing production. This will be the best show we have produced thus far in the Broadway Series. I know that’s an enormous statement to make, but I’m that confident in this production and that confident in the impact it will have. Everyone should see this show.
I hope you’ll join us. I promise you, you will not regret it. And chances are you’ll see me there because I plan on seeing this production as much as possible.
Thank you for your time and support.”
Well, folks, tomorrow’s matinee at 1:30 marks the first public performance of Paramount’s production of In The Heights with the official opening on Saturday night, the press apparently attending throughout the weekend! Be here, join us! (The show runs until Oct. 6th, the Box Office: 630-896-6666). Come to Paramount and cheer the excellence of this exhilarating music, story and dance!
My love, my thanks & my best,