Dear reader, I wrote a letter this morning to the Paramount Staff and Cast and Crew of MARY POPPINS to express my regrets on not being there on Sunday night for the phenomenon that was their Press Opening. I missed the entire weekend of shows due to illness, an upper respiratory infection, that took me down, knocked me out, and as I write here, still takes a stubborn hold on me. But I am much better! Yesterday morning after I managed to get myself to Dreyer Medical’s Walk-In Clinic, God bless them, I got myself to the office as the stupendous reviews started to roll in with raves from WGN’s Dean Richards, The Sun-Times’ Hedy Weiss and The Trib’s Chris Jones! Meanwhile, the Jeff Committee saw something they liked and recommended us for their awards for excellence in Chicago Theatre! This could be a heady time for us, but I think we find it a more sobering moment than you might expect. Above all, we are grateful. It is a colossal achievement for our three and a half year old Broadway Series, and it has taken a very special company of actors and crew, production and stage managers, to make it happen. And it has come at a cost. Delays, safety issues, a cancelled performance. I wanted so much to be there to cheer this dazzling production, these spectacular performances on opening night that will eventfully play eight times a week for these next five weeks. It is what I live for. I am very sorry I couldn’t be there. But let there be no doubt how appreciated every single individual’s commitment is to its success. How grateful I am to everyone who sees this work and understands the hard work behind the magic. Yes, it’s just a show. But I keep coming back to the word “alchemy.” Here’s why; looking it up, it’s defined as “any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.” This is what “Mary Poppins” is all about, in more ways than one. You can say this about the entire company – “Alchemists, all of them!”

I leave you with an announcement about “A-MEN: SUPER HEROES OF THE ARTS IN A-TOWN.” Melissa Mercado is the curator of The Paramount Art Gallery located on the 2nd Floor of Paramount’s Grand Gallery as you enter the theatre. This is a First Friday Reception on December 5th from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Now I’m not feeling like much of a super-hero lately, but I am honored to contribute to the event and bring recognition to the achievements of some pretty great guys bringing great promise to the renaissance of Downtown Aurora, including Mayor Weisner! Check it out HERE and be there.

My love and thanks,