Good morning and yikes!  I’ve overslept!  As you may already know, Dear Friend, there has been much excitement here at Paramount Theatre.  The critics reviews of MISS SAIGON are coming in and they are giving high praise to the achievement we have, all of us, worked so hard and devotedly toward.  The columns of our two major Chicago critics, The Sun-Times’ Ms. Hedy Weiss and The Tribune’s Mr. Chris Jones, championed every aspect of production with a renewed energy and enthusiasm that establishes a new landmark for this theatre and the Broadway Series.   These are the busiest weeks of the year in theatre with hundreds of shows to review and deadlines to meet and their attendance and that of all the theatre reviewers who make their way to Aurora are ever appreciated for their presence.  Our patrons, time after time, whether they are having their first experience or have attended all our productions from the beginning two seasons ago have exploded the pages of Facebook with support for our continued success.  Reaching and connecting with our audience is the purpose of this theatre and to receive the praise of those individuals sitting in the dark together within the palatial walls of Paramount to witness the drama and music of this story means more to me than I can say.  It brings to mind the sentiment of a Kander and Ebb lyric: “When it all comes true, just the way you’ve planned, funny but the bells don’t ring.  It’s a quiet thing.”  Now I’m sure I gave out a good yelp when I saw “four stars”, but by the end of the day I was alone in the office.  With a glow deep within I said good night to the young kid emptying the trash and came home.  Just can’t seem to take it all in.  I think of Rose Packer, our Productions Stage Manager, and Conductor Shawn Stengel and Sound Operator Tom Scanlon and the phenomenal company of actors, a true ensemble, and how all this work is now in their hands and in the hands of the “high priestess in the temple” Lou Ann Cates and our dedicated, most excellent crew.   I let go.  This living art, a work of live theatre is in their brilliant, capable hands now.   We’ve done well taking responsibility for the setting of this story in The Vietnam War.  MISS SAIGON is no romance novel.  It is a reminder of the pain and suffering and loss that is war.  And the hope and redemptive power of love in our lives.

Today is a big day!  Receiving all the good words of encouragement, thanking everyone!  I have a staff meeting this morning and then off to a production meeting with Set Designer Kevin Depinet and Lighting Designer Jesse Klug for their designs for RENT.  Company Manager Jennette Nohl will be a little mift I don’t have the RENT audition call ready.  Yes, more RENT auditions are coming!  Then this evening, I will see the opening night of a production directed by my directing teacher, Dennis Zacek, at The Richard Christiansen Theatre which he built at the famous Biograph Theater, and where he created the new home for his Victory Gardens Theatre as a Tony Award winning Regional Theatre.  It’s his birthday and he doesn’t know it yet that I’ll be there for him.  Tomorrow, off to Roosevelt University to do a theatre class at the Chicago College of Performing Arts and then tomorrow night I will sit in the dark and witness with the crowd the beauty and the tragedy of MISS SAIGON proud and humbled.

My love & thanks