Tuesdays with Corti: Fireworks

It’s the morning after the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and all the folks here at Paramount hope you enjoyed a happy Independence Day celebration! Fireworks in Aurora burst throughout the night into the wee hours this morning as if the festivities just didn’t want to end! It was a perfect day here starting with the annual parade downtown, which I attended with friends who run the award-winning interior design services studio at VARA on Downer Place. Owner & entrepreneur Megan Paul opened her doors to the neighborhood treating us to a cozy brunch of mimosas and trays of fruits and sweets inside, as we moved back and forth from the sidewalk out front watching the colorful patriotic displays of marching brass bands thrilling the crowds. As I walked across River Street from my place to Downer, a civic pride swelled in my chest as families of folks of all colors and ages lined the parade route in anticipation while the diverse groups of high school drummers practiced thrilling, thundering rhythms. Awed, I wanted to film it, document it, save the moment forever; the laughter and smiles and faces of the many different groups in uniforms and costumes shining so brightly in the morning sun lighting up everyone from within as well. One couldn’t help but talk about the optimism, the hopes, the promise of the future for this truly great community of wonderful Aurorans.

There were fireworks of a musical comedy sort blazing as well at last week’s reading for The Secret of My Success​; a brand spanking new musical adaptation of the 1987 Universal film and the first outing of development for Paramount Theatre’s new works program! Was this “beginner’s luck” or what, I don’t know! I don’t think the creators of the show could be more encouraged about the work’s potential. It couldn’t have gone better! After an intensive week of writing and rewriting (it’s only been about six months in process before this), Chicago composers/lyricists Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler have got to have felt their collaboration with New Yorkers, director/co-book writer Gordon Greenberg and co-book writer Steve Rosen, made a giant, dynamic leap in its refinement. Paramount’s New Works Development Director Amber Mak, with our top notch staff, put together a rock star cast and knock-out presentation. To make for an intimate reading and with no other space available but the Paramount stage, the grand drape was flown in to have the gathering seated onstage behind the curtain. It turned out to be a darn classy event with tables of beverages, meats, cheeses and desserts! With music director Matt Deitchman at the keyboard, this flair was matched, well, surpassed even, by the dynamic performance itself, astounding in how much was achieved in such a short time. The stunning, moving and formidable talents of this company of actors was led by Liam Quealy, Samantha Pauly, Megan Murphy, Jeff Parker, Gabe Ruiz, Adrian Aguilar and Cory Goodrich with Iris Lieberman, Isabel Quintero, Charlie Babbo, Matt Mueller, James Earl Jones II, Dara Cameron, Kiersten Hodgens, Haley Jane Schafer and Michael Gillis. At once, fun and sophisticated, this contemporary rock musical score and story took off like a rocket! I haven’t been able to get the music out of my head since and will never forget how choked up I got by the poignant sucker punch it packs!

Ahead this week are various production points to be addressed for Million Dollar Quartet, Elf, Cabaret ​and Once​. There is no “down time” for the Broadway Series! (My gosh, rehearsals begin next month!)

Love & thanks,

Jim