Greetings on this summer solstice, the longest days of the year, the first days of summer! All the more sunshine to brighten our long-as-ever work days at Paramount! Down time? No way around here! Ron Kellum, our Director/Choreographer for Jesus Christ Superstar, is in the house! Yesterday, he conducted his first day of Call Backs singing and dancing scores of actors with Music Director Tom Vendafreddo and Associate MD Kory Danielson. The Copley Theatre at the North Island Center was packed with talent literally and figuratively as it became evident right from the start; Mr. Kellum’s African American voicing of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s timeless rock opera is taking on a resonance startling, stunning and revelatory. Expertly assembled by Casting Director Trent Stork, one after another, the artists walked down the aisle onto the stage and time-after-time elevated Sir Andrew’s score with an honesty, fresh and new, as gently yet emphatically coached by Mr. Kellum. Enthusiastically, he commented repeatedly on the high caliber and quality of talent in Chicago.
I had memorized the entire familiar brown “Superstar” album long ago as a college kid but here experienced the lyrics taking on a depth of meaning and level of purpose like never before, without changing a word or a note of music. The ensemble call of over 40 men raising their voices together harmonizing “Hosanna” was more than powerful enough to shake the ceiling’s steel truss work, an unforgettable moment! And then their dancing Kellum’s choreography to “What’s the Buzz” just about knocked me out of my seat!
There is this very shared spirited feeling of being on the brink of something like nothing else we’ve ever witnessed. A once in a lifetime opportunity bringing us all together very proud, joyful and full of promise. We continue today with the women’s call! Be still my heart!
Speaking of heart, thank you to all who contributed to our “6.16.16 Fundraiser” and to the Dunham Fund for matching every donation dollar for dollar! We surpassed last season’s return with over $80,000 to support the Broadway Series and the Dreams Do Come True program!
Love and thanks,