I work for the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA), and I am the Artistic Director of Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series which has had its best year yet. Granted, it’s only had four of them. My pride in this stands on the work diligent, tireless and passionate being done by a surprisingly modest number of individuals. The offices in The North Island Center and in the theater’s Box Office have created a surge of business productivity in tandem with the highest standards possible sustained by artistic teams which are unusually consistent for a not-for-profit arts organization, The Paramount Arts Center (PAC).
Broadway Series Subscriptions are about to tip the 27,000 mark indicating strong support for prize winning contemporary and traditional titles from the Broadway musical theatre canon. All of this due to the enthusiasm of the Chicago Theatre community and you, our audience, dear reader. There is an optimistic impact being perceived for the economic development of Downtown Aurora as well, so much more than a by-product but a hoped for, intentional purpose from the beginning of the series in 2011.
With this growth comes challenging responsibilities, criticisms and accountability. The 2015/2016 Season presents issues in its second half addressing racial tensions in 1960’s Baltimore in Hairspray with a joyous, celebratory outcome of unity and 1950’s New York City in West Side Story that ends in tragedy. Current events are not lost on the relevancy of this subject matter for Paramount’s production teams. I am learning I will make mistakes in the eyes of some. My belief is the rising of this challenge is the raising of awareness and opportunity. An opportunity to make a difference, voice the importance of this conflict, make aware the significance it has on the well being of all of us living together and focus on the authors’ rendering of what matters most to our human being, our existence as one species on this earth. Homo-sapiens.
Will we ever find peace? Can a thing like a regional theater production of a Broadway show make a difference? We are committed to it. Everyone you see on that stage is invested in it. As the curtain falls on Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s “You Can’t Stop the Beat” in Hairspray, and later, as we close the season to the chillingly poignant, symphonic strains of Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere”, oh, dear ladies and gentlemen, it’s my hope you engage your mind and open your heart.
Love & thanks,