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Tuesdays with Corti: Developmental Reading

Just got back Sunday from my trip out east, and it’s so good to be home in Aurora! I’m running late into the Paramount conference room yesterday, where Million Dollar Quartet Costume Designer Sally Dolembo blasted off the day to a great start with selections of fabric swatches accompanying her fresh take on the iconic quartet’s wardrobe. Comprehensively researched, Sally’s clothing designs become the young cast’s musical, artistic energy and their original rock ‘n roll style with the surprising class these country boys brought to the way they dressed back then. After this, I wish high-waisted pleated pants could make a comeback! 

Immediately following Sally’s meeting, I head across the atrium of The North Island Center to a room especially set up for a very auspicious occasion: the first day of Paramount Theatre’s developmental reading of a new musical based on Universal Pictures 1987 movie which starred Michael J. Fox, The Secret of My Success. ​​A bit breathless arriving just in the nick of time and anticipating who I am about to meet, I’m trying to compose myself as I’m also about to jump out of my skin. My first glimpse of the cast of familiar and a few yet to meet new faces hits me with what a group of dynamite talent they are! Looking eager to get this going is Music Director Matt Deitchman already seated behind the keyboard as the musical’s book writers Steve Rosen and Gordon Greenberg approach, and I’m immediately taken with what great guys they both are. Gordon is directing as well, and if first impressions mean anything, I get the feeling that with him and Steve, there is going to be a great week of work ahead on this show. To see the young composers/lyricists Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler here strikes a sentimental chord, as I’ve known them for quite a few years now and have seen other new works of theirs independent of each other at other theaters. I really think a lot of them and their collaboration on this one and am so proud to have them here. Alan and Michael are solid practitioners of creating new works; it seems they have at least two or three projects going at once recently, and for these fine composers to be crafting a new show here together is everything I could hope Paramount’s beginnings at this could be about.

As everyone gathered gets seated, there is standing before them two remarkable young women who put quite a few hours of planning and “heavy lifting” into collaborating on making this day happen; VP of Productions Rose Quealy and New Works Development Director Amber Mak. They stood there, warmly greeting and welcoming everyone, and I realized a radiance about them taking in everyone and every part of this exciting occasion that they have fostered and accomplished together as it was only just about to begin! As I attend them, taking pride in them, grateful for them, I’m thinking, “I’m so glad I get to work here.” 

More about this next week! By the way; have you subscribed for next season yet? Subscriptions go on sale July 18!

Love & thanks,

Jim