It’s Tuesday morning already! Really short and sweet: Paramount Theatre, our palace on the Fox River, will soon be home to the tribe of CATS in a newly imagined physical environment by set designer, Kevin Depinet, on the banks of the River Thames of London no less! It’s like opening a present every time I click an email with the gorgeous full color renderings inside. Huge wood pilings bound together with thick, coarse ropes shore up the river bank outside the city and create playful levels and places to hide. The terrain and architecture create an abandoned, remote, pier-like clearing known only to this brood of felines full of magic, mischief and enchantment, all made to order to director Shawn Stengel’s specifications. I have to stop myself from giving away the visual treats and surprises in store for you!

A restless night last night, over caffeinated from my late evening meeting (over China Hut garlic chicken and vegetables) with TOMMY choreographer Katie Spelman. A very busy talent, Ms. Spelman is currently featured dancing in Rachel Rockwell’s BRIGADOON at The Goodman, and to talk with her in person about our collaboration on The Who’s rock opera was a golden opportunity. Katie choreographed Paramount’s IN THE HEIGHTS and RENT and has a very full “dance card” for this upcoming Chicago Theatre season. We discussed the plans begun on the set to be designed by Linda Buchanan (Paramount’s ANNIE and MISS SAIGON) focusing the “why” of the dances and their content serving composer Pete Townshend. By 10 o’clock, we had only gotten through Act 1!

Plans for Paramount’s MARY POPPINS’ sets are being finalized this week (crunch time!), and the demands of this baby are off the charts! Again, Kevin & Rachel, a fantastic team, will deliver this beloved family favorite with incomparable flair, fun, intelligence and charm! And what a cast! More about them next week!

As you are getting familiar with me running late here pretty consistently now, I’ve got to move it! This afternoon: music director/conductor, Tom Vendafreddo will be here to join me at our appointment to audition a “Jean Valjean” for our Season 4 Finale: LES MISERABLES! We are seeing an actor who has never done the role and has been preparing for us for the last few weeks. A Chicago actor now living in New York, just completing a film shoot, and someone completely new to us. Keep a good thought!

Love & thanks,