It’s New Year’s Eve, Dear Friend!  Morning star Venus shines over black ice streets of frozen Downtown Aurora.  A salt truck makes its rounds, and we’ve got traction beneath our wheels as dawn breaks.  Only half way through our third season, Paramount Theatre has found the beginning of its footing in service to the community, our audience and the artists and designers of the Chicago Theatre scene!  Garnering starry reviews and making the the “Best of” lists of 2013, the most gratifying aspect of this love is how it brings all of us together in our passionate, dedicated support of live theatre.  If the enthusiasm I see every day is any indication of what’s ahead, we have much to celebrate tonight!

Early morning yesterday, I got a preview of the enormous sets for 42ND St. at The Paramount Scene Shop.  The Art Deco Era dominates the gorgeous design by Kevin Depinet.  How was such glamour realized during the economic hardship of The Great Depression?  Hard times bring out the best of artists and especially during this period.  Creative drive was unstoppable in the making of songs and dances and fine art, and the team of us at the shop marveled at how the sets capture the grand scale of the original 1933 Busby Berkeley film.  There is a lesson here, as there is in all enduring works of musical theatre.  When we rally together, we can do anything.  A unified front of determined individuals taking care of each other, and the challenge ahead is what defines the most celebrated periods of art and society in our culture.  The Great Depression is a sad chapter in our country’s history, but it also is one of the most inspiring and motivating teaching moments of how we prevail by sticking together, loving doing what it takes to get the job done for the benefit of everyone.  Great art, music and theatre arise from the worst of times.  It takes Spirit.  And I know we’ve got it.  And you will see it in 42ND ST.!

The casting for RENT continues to flux as we lost a strong member of the Ensemble yesterday to a job offering her a full year of work.  Well, that’s how good she is and why we cast her.  Best wishes and congratulations, and an opportunity is created for another actor!  The start of rehearsal is 7 weeks away.  An audition was cancelled yesterday due to schedule conflict, and I’ve got three more roles to fill.  (Yes, this is real suspense, and it is killing me).  The actors we have in place are stunning, and my faith is strong we will have the complete cast that is meant to be very soon.  (But if you think of it, do keep me in your prayers)!

Alright!  We are off on the adventure that is the New Year 2014!  May the achievements of seasons past give us all firm ground to stand on and fortify our efforts to continue beyond expectations!  Here’s to a Healthy & Happy New Year!