Wow, whoa, wow! Where do I start?! What you may not be aware of, dear reader, is that during the run of Sweeney Todd, casting for Million Dollar Quartet had begun and is almost complete! Last week, with Director/Choreographer Katie Spelman, the open calls for Cabaret will be swinging right into Call Backs next week, and auditions for Elf began yesterday with Director/Choreographer Amber Mak – all of that happening at the AEA office in Chicago.

Yesterday found yours truly in the conference room here at our office in Downtown Aurora, meeting with the production and design teams for MDQ, and I had a hard time concealing my excitement for the work in progress. I’m well-nigh jumping out of my skin as Kevin Depinet was there with his model of his set design, Jesse Klug being present for his lighting design, and Adam Rosenthal on board for his sound design! All of our excellent in-house staff contributed significantly, superbly, and all aspects of production are progressing in good shape!

However, it does disappoint when meetings and appointments keep me from the initial open auditions. Getting all of our talented, busy artists in one room is a supreme scheduling challenge. I live for seeing friends and familiar faces coming in to audition, and of course, the new faces are always eye opening. This season, so many artists, when asked if they are new to Chicago, answered how they had just moved here months or even just weeks ago! Chicago Theatre is drawing newcomers of vast abilities. Our city’s reputation for productions raising the bar with a distinguished caliber of work from theatre to theatre is attracting a highly competitive new breed of fresh faces.

Before I sign off, I’d like to report on the cancelled performance Saturday night due to the heavy rainstorms causing leaks from the roof of the theater onto the stage floor. At fifteen minutes to curtain, some 1,300 patrons packed the lobby, the theatre doors still closed while the situation was assessed on deck. As much as we tried to estimate how to go on with the show, the concern for the actors’ safety in a potentially hazardous condition caused the call to cancel the performance. A little jittery and stressed, I announced to the crowd they could acquire ticket refunds or exchanges. As bad as this could have played out, our audience was patient, gracious and understanding, as our house and box office staff championed the crowd with quick and courteous service. Funny how the misfortune actually had an upside. I got to speak with several subscribers who were seemingly nonplussed, like it was nothing, and took it as an opportunity to commend the Broadway Series, boasting of how long they’ve been subscribers and loving the productions. They went on to compliment our staff as always “bending over backwards” to give them an optimal experience. Engaging with the audience like this would never have happened without the rain! Jokes about “building an ark” were plentiful, and everyone left hearing “get home safe!” as our valiant valet service had their cars waiting curbside. What a night!

Jesus Christ Superstar continues to draw stunning accolades and big crowds! Check out the many video features of the spectacular performances from this stellar cast on Facebook or YouTube! Ladies and gentlemen, shows like this are all a result of your support and enthusiasm, and I hope you will consider subscribing to next season’s presentations of Paramount’s Million Dollar Quartet, Elf, Cabaret, and Once, all new productions in the works! You have until this Sunday 6 p.m. … join us!

Love & thanks,