Well dear reader, it’s the end of a very long day of rehearsal, and I’m serving fried brain here, I’m afraid, while it’s well into Tuesday night as I write this (so please forgive my being a day late and a dollar short), but today’s big news, if you haven’t heard yet, is that Paramount’s Broadway Series officially announced today that Hairspray Director and Choreographer Amber Mak (pictured below) is now our very own New Works Development Director! Ms. Mak has her own full-time office dedicated to doing what she loves best!

Two years ago, Amber became the founding artistic director of the FWD Theatre Project, aka Festival of Works in Development to “discover, develop and deliver” new works for “the future of musical theatre and the City of Chicago.” This announcement brings with it an expansion that Paramount Theatre’s President and CEO Tim Rater and I had hoped for from the beginning of our partnership creating your Broadway Series. Amber’s passion for new work matches our own, and she brings with her discerning taste and resourcefulness we would never know without her. A dream come true for Amber, and for us, is to be collaborating with writers of new scores and scripts benefitting from the melding together of what we have learned and achieved here over these last five years. A risky and brave sort, this collaboration personally expands all of us as well, as we embark in a new direction and yet logical step for our company: cultivating and nourishing new work for the theatre, made in Aurora.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Hedy Weiss wrote all about it in a beautiful article, as did the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald. You can read the full scoop on the new works develop right here.

Closing night of Hairspray was a tough one for me personally. It has to do with realizing we have a show on our hands that brought together thousands and thousands of people, eight performances a week, cheering effusive what Hairspray is all about: black kids and white kids dancing together as a metaphor for all that is good and hopeful within all of us. The joy of it, the celebration of it, overcame me as the reality of this run having to end hit me as well. Everyone dancing in the aisles with recognition of how right it is for us to love each other and with such abandon and energy literally shaking the walls of the temple! And knowing that as the show ends, the new adventure begins with the Director of this dazzling, splendid work having an office down the hall from mine!

Life is good. Work is good. And that goes for rehearsals for West Side Story as well. More about that next week, ladies and gentlemen (have to shut down this ol’ brain)!

My love and thanks,